Your browser does not support JavaScript!
February 15, 2012 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
February 15, 2012

        A meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee was held in Committee Room A at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.             
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
D. Jackson
P. Murray
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
K. Burra, Assistant to the Director, Safe Schools
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
W. Toms, Manager of ITS/Planning Officer
        Chair Brown called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustees Beavis, Chadwick and Goodfellow.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

        MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

ITS Pilot Program

        Superintendent Labrie advised that Manager Toms would provide a summary of what the ITS pilot programs are and what our initial learnings have been.  He said that we have learned a considerable amount related to IT issues, and the impact on student achievement will continue to be monitored over a longer period.

        Manager Toms provided the following information:


  •         ITS staff, along with Senior Staff, determined a pilot of technology in classrooms would help to support long-term decisions.
  •         Two schools (Napanee District Secondary School and Westdale Park Elementary School) were selected in year one (2009-2010) to present proposals from Administration/Staff on technology to support student learning.
  •         In year two (2010-2011), the pilot was extended to Perth Road Public School.
  •         In addition, Secondary School Math programs were provided technology to support their program.
Westdale Park Public School

Project Synopsis
What We’ve Learned
ITS provided 24 Dell netbooks on a Dell cart and 10 Acer netbooks on a JKL-provided cart.

Other components include:
3 Smart Boards
3 Elmo Projectors
2 Mobi

This project is cross curricular and is supporting many of the junior/intermediate classrooms, along with the overall school improvement plan.
Project growth is dependent on teacher involvement.

Key staff must be identified to grow projects.

Seeing continuous improvement in teacher technology use as more staff become comfortable.

Will support technology implementation in new school.

Napanee District Secondary School

Project Synopsis
What We’ve Learned
Various implementations of Smartboards, Mobile Netbook Carts – regular program and Alternative Supports.

Also some implementation of clickers.
Mobility has proven challenging when pervasive wireless coverage is not available.

Mobility is important in leveraging technology as appropriate for curriculum delivery.

Perth Road Public School

Project Synopsis
What We’ve Learned
Dismantle Lab and put more computers in classroom.

Provide teachers with laptops.

Pervasive Wireless Mobile Cart/Netbook for Technology

Teachers were provided with additional training on use of laptops and Smartboards.
Slowly improving use of technology by staff as comfort level is improved.

Teacher laptops not sustainable under current funding.

Other Projects

Project Synopsis
What We’ve Learned
Secondary Applied Math programs in each secondary school were provided with a Smartboard, netbooks (24) and cart and Smart Math Tools software.
Increased level of engagement for students – continue to monitor effectiveness beyond engagement level.

ITS Learning

ITS Learning
Some extra support during setup – minimal impact for ongoing support.
Netbooks/Mobile Carts
Anecdotal concerns prior to use related to support.  Has not been proven – staff have seen no impact to date.  ITS staff were impacted during implementation, but ongoing support has been minimal.
Document Cameras
No impact to ITS support.
Clickers/Response Systems
Again, minimal impact to ITS.

        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Labrie and Manager Toms for providing the above-noted information.

Wireless Safety

        Superintendent Labrie advised that a question arose about wireless safety at a previous meeting, and therefore, this item was placed on the agenda.  He reported that Kawartha-Pine Ridge District School Board has done an extensive amount of work related to this matter.

        Superintendent Labrie stated that there is no local organization suggesting any concerns as it relates to general Wi-Fi safety.

        Superintendent Labrie referred to a statement from Dr. Arlene King, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Health Canada, dated September 16, 2010, wherein she reassures Ontarians that the use of wireless communication systems does not pose a public health risk.  The standards set out by Health Canada for the use of these systems adequately safeguard the public, including school children.  Health Canada has indicated that as long as exposure to radiofrequency energy emitted from Wi-Fi equipment in schools is below the established safety limits, there is no convincing scientific evidence that this equipment is dangerous to school children.

        Superintendent Labrie advised that with regard to a statement from the World Health Organization, the Wi-Fi safety issue was associated with cell phones on a person.  They have suggested a potential safety issue, noting that they have been classed as a 2B carcinogen.  

        Superintendent Labrie reported that Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB purchased equipment and have measured EMF levels in all pervasive wireless schools.  He said that the amounts were all well within the safe limit.

        Trustee Jackson suggested that it would be helpful to have something in writing as to what the Board has in place, what the safety standards are and where the transmitters are located.

        Superintendent Labrie stated that he will give this matter some thought.

Primary Core French Pilot Program

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reported that the Primary Core French pilot program was implemented in the 2010-2011 school year in the KCVI family of schools area, which includes:  Winston Churchill Public School, Sydenham Public School, Central Public School and Rideau Public School.  She said that the first year of implementation provided us with a small sample of participating schools.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that we worked on what would be taught at grades 1, 2 and 3 so that it would flow nicely into grade 4 curriculum.  She said that at the end of the first year, we wanted information to determine if the pilot program was successful and worthy to expand into further elementary schools.  She advised that feedback was gathered from teachers, administrators and parents around the pilot program.  She reported that we also looked at student achievement results at the end of the first year.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff commented that we were pleased with the student achievement results, noting that our schools did well in achievement.  She said that the primary students were engaged and enthusiastic in learning French.  She remarked that feedback was positive, noting that parents commented that they found the program valuable and that they were committed to make sure it continued.  She reported that some parents made comments that they would prefer a school that offered primary core French, and that their children came home practicing new words, and new songs.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff reported that there have been some difficulties, such as, on occasion, a turnover in teachers.  She said that the preference is that there would be a consistent teacher, but sometimes, through collective bargaining, teachers increase their teaching entitlements, and are placed at other schools.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that staff believed there was good success in the implementation year.
        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that the Board has expanded primary core French programs into the Sydenham High School, Sharbot Lake High School, and North Addington Education Centre families of schools, and therefore, it is now in 10 additional elementary schools – Elginburg PS, Perth Road PS, Loughborough PS, Harrowsmith PS, Prince Charles PS, Sharbot Lake PS, Hinchinbrooke PS, Land O’Lakes PS, Clarendon Central PS and North Addington Education Centre.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff commented that prior to September of this school year, we brought in teachers from the new schools to meet with the teachers from the pilot schools of the first year to talk about implementation, programs, successes and strategies used with students.  This meeting was supported by our French consultant, as well.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that we would collect achievement data at the end of this year to see if the program continues to be successful.  She indicated that we are undergoing consultations for further expansion for the 2012-2013 school year.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that in the 2013-2014 school year, students who were in grade one during the implementation year will be in grade 4 in the 2013-2014 school year.  She said that we will be interested to look at that data to compare it with the cohort of students who did not have that experience, and track that over time.  She commented that we will also be interested to see student interest, engagement and enthusiasm and track that into secondary school to see if the program has made an impact on students who continue their education in French.

        In response to a question from Trustee Ruttan, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that there are many boards in Ontario that do offer core French starting in primary grades, but the Ministry requires boards to start a core French program no later than grade 4.

        In response to a question from Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that she has not prepared a written report on year one implementation at this point given it was a very small sample size.  She said, however, that she did have achievement data and she could prepare a brief summary if needed.  She said that we will continue to collect that data as we move forward.

        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Fraser-Stiff for providing the above-noted information.

2012-2013 School Year Calendar Update

        Mr. Burra provided an update regarding the 2012-2013 School Year Calendar process.

        Mr. Burra reported that Provincial Regulation 304 School Year Calendar, Professional Activity Days requires that the school year shall start on or after September 1 and end on or before June 30.  Every school shall include a minimum of 194 school days.

        Mr. Burra stated that in the Limestone DSB, the 194 school days are made up of six Professional Activity Day, and 188 instructional days.  He advised that examination days for secondary schools fall under instructional days.

        Mr. Burra said that Regulation 304 requires the following school holidays:

  •         Every Saturday and Sunday
  •         Labour Day
  •         Thanksgiving Day
  •         14 consecutive days for Christmas vacation
  •         Family Day on the third Monday of February
  •         5 consecutive days for March Break
  •         Good Friday
  •         Easter Monday
  •         Victoria Day
        Mr. Burra advised that the Board shall submit an approved school year calendar to the Ministry of Education for approval by May 1, unless the Board is submitting a calendar outside of the parameters established above or deviates from the Ministry template for the winter or March Breaks, in which case the Board will submit a calendar for approval to the Ministry by March 1.

        Mr. Burra indicated that usually school starts in Ontario the day after Labour Day.  For 2012-2013, Labour Day falls on September 3, providing 194 school days from September 4 to June 28 inclusive.  If days are scheduled before September 1 or after June 30, or the December and/or March Breaks deviate from the Ministry template, approval from the Board for a modified calendar must be submitted to the Ministry of Education prior to March 1.

        Mr. Burra advised that the three largest boards in the Consortium (Limestone DSB, Hastings-Prince Edward DSB , and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB) have traditionally agreed upon a common calendar in order to share transportation costs.  He said that the Consortium agreement and practice is that should a Board decide not to conform to the common calendar that board must continue to pay for the transportation as arranged in the common calendar, and is also required to assume 100% of the transportation costs for any additional days of transport.  He reported that in the Limestone District School Board, each day of independent transportation costs $100,000.

        Mr. Burra indicated that the two small, geographically dispersed French boards traditionally start school near the end of August, and pay independently for those days.

        Mr. Burra stated that for the 2012-2013 school year calendar, the same process was used as in the previous two years.  He said that this included consultation with internal stakeholders, community partners, and a parent survey.  He reported that the parent survey was conducted using an electronic medium with the opportunity for people to request a paper version of the survey as an alternative.

        Mr. Burra advised that in January 2012, Limestone DSB School Councils and parents, as well as community partners (day cares, municipalities, Public Health, Business Associations, etc.) were invited to provide survey input to the Assistant to the Director.  He commented that this year, we received almost 600 survey responses, noting that 10 of the responses came from community partners.  He further commented that the vast majority of survey respondents liked the calendar for 2011-2012 and did not have concerns.  He said that 89% reported that they agreed with the Ministry template dates for the December/January and March Breaks for the 2012-2013 School Year Calendar.

        Mr. Burra advised that he facilitated a meeting with Limestone stakeholders on January~10, 2012, to provide input.  He further advised that a follow-up meeting to receive feedback on the draft calendar is scheduled in the next couple of weeks.  Stakeholders represent Trustees (Trustee Ruttan), parents (School Council Liaison Committee Co-Chairs, Unions, Federations, Human Resources, and Administrators).

        Mr. Burra remarked that the Limestone DSB stakeholder input from the January 10th meeting was shared with the other four boards (Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB, Hastings-Prince Edward DSB, the French Public Board, the French Catholic Board) and Tri-Board Student Transportation Services on January 18, 2012, for their input and to start further consultation.

        Mr. Burra reported that the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB, the French Public Board, the French Catholic Board, Limestone DSB and Mr. Wowk from Tri-Board Student Transportation Services met to come to consensus, as has occurred annually using the same process.  He advised that the consensus was achieved for a common draft calendar to be taken by each Board’s representatives back to internal stakeholders and each of the respective boards for approval, according to the process required by each of the Boards.  Mr. Burra reviewed the draft calendar from the January 18th meeting and follow-up correspondence with the other Boards during the week of January 30 to February 3.  He reported that further consultation with Tri-Board partners may be required, if changes occur with the current draft.

        Mr. Burra advised that the proposed December/January and March Breaks coincide with the proposed draft calendar for the Upper Canada DSB, alleviating the issue of different holidays for staff, students, and community partners impacted by both boards.  Professional Activity Days continue to be different between the Tri-Board Student Transportation Services group and the Upper Canada DSB.

        Mr. Burra reviewed the following details of the proposed 2012-2013 School Year Calendar:

  •         The school year starts on September 4th for students and staff;
  •         There are six Professional Activity Days in total – September 28, October 29, November~23, February 1, May 24 and June 28;
  •         Semester 1 runs from September 4 to January 31 inclusive;
  •         Semester 2 runs from February 1 to June 28 inclusive;
  •         Each semester consists of 97 school days – 3 Professional Activity Days and 94 instructional days;
  •         Secondary school examinations for the first semester are on the following dates – January~24, 25, 28, 29, 30; and
  •         Secondary school examinations for the second semester are scheduled on the following dates – June 20, 21, 24, 25 and 26.
        Mr. Burra advised that the primary contentious issue has been the placement of the February 1st Professional Activity Day.  He stated that ETFO has expressed the concern that their teacher members need this day to be a week or two earlier (in January) for the completion of report cards.  He further stated that the proposed date does comply with the ETFO collective agreement.  He commented that, in addition, an earlier date in January does not fit well for secondary schools given it would take away one day from the EQAO Grade 9 Math testing “window”, the proximity between the proposed winter break and exams, and the need for a “turnaround” day between the first and second semesters for staff changing schools.

        Mr. Burra commented that one workable solution would be to split the PA day for elementary and secondary which would create the issue of additional transportation costs and childcare issues for parents with children in both panels.  He said that the PA day in May (May 24) is well placed for ETFO in terms of reporting and not taking away one day from the Grade 3 and 6 EQAO testing “window” that begins the following week.  He commented, however, that it does create a potential concern at secondary given the timing of track competitions in Eastern Ontario, which will require attendance from some staff (coaches) and student athletes.  In addition, at secondary this PA day could be better placed in the calendar for their needs.  Mr. Burra said that at this point, it appears the calendar decision will go the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB and the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB Trustees in March.

        Committee members received the draft 2012-2013 School Year Calendar.  They understood that with ongoing consultation, a revised version may replace the current proposed calendar prior to the March Board meeting, and it was anticipated that a final report and proposed calendar will be brought to Trustees at the March Board meeting.

        Chair Brown thanked Mr. Burra for providing the above-noted information.

Future Agenda Items

        Chair Brown reviewed the agenda items for the future meetings of this school year, noting that the list can be added to if Trustees have other items they would like to bring forward.

        The future agenda items are as follows:

March 21, 2012  Leadership Development Strategy
                        Mental Health Initiatives

April 18, 2012  Professional Learning Update
                       New Teacher Induction Program Update

May 23, 2012    Outdoor Education
                        Healthy Schools Update

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at 4:30 p.m
MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, that the meeting adjourn at 5:35~p.m.–Carried