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October 17, 2012 - Education/Human Resources Committee Minutes
Education/Human Resources Committee
October 17, 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, October 17, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.                      
Present Trustees:
H. Brown, Chair
G. Beavis
A. Goodfellow
D. Jackson
P. Murray
S. Ruttan
Present Staff:
P. Andrews, Manager of Parenting & Family Literacy Centres
B. Fraser-Stiff, Superintendent of Education
A. Labrie, Superintendent of Human Resources
N. Marsh, Superintendent of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary     
                Chair Brown called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.  She reported that regrets were received from Trustee Chadwick.

Approval of Agenda                                                                              

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

Aboriginal Education Update (Strategic Plan Reference: Item 4.1)

        Superintendent Marsh provided the following Aboriginal Education update, noting that November is Aboriginal Education Month:

The 3 Rs of Aboriginal Education

  •         Respect
  •                 Learn more and teach more
  •         Relationships
  •                 Be inclusive, welcoming and proactive
  •         Reconciliation
  •                 Justice and recognition
What is happening this month?

  •         Distribution of posters for Aboriginal Education Month
  •         Distribution of new posters for Aboriginal Self Identification
  •         Distribution of Self Identification brochures to all students
        Superintendent Marsh indicated that the Self Identification brochure how has a tear away section that students who are self-identifying can use, rather than filling out the previous form.

        Superintendent Marsh reported that currently, the Board has 329 elementary students whose parents have self-identified, and in the secondary panel, there are 178 students who have self-identified.  She stated that there are far more students who are eligible, but their parents have not self-identified.

What else is happening this month?
  •         5th Annual Four Winds Conference, October 24th
  •         Professional Learning for Primary, Junior and Intermediate teachers
  •         Visiting group: White Pine Dancers to do five performances
  •         Release of support documents for Grade 9 Geography and Grade 9/10 English.  Last year we released Grade 10 History
  •         Powerpoint presentations are available for all schools
  •         Presentations to NTIP teachers (elementary and secondary)
  •         Ministry of Education visit to Katarokwi Alternative Aboriginal School
  •         Aboriginal Advisory Committee Meeting
What else has been happening?

  •         Elementary Program Team has distributed books to schools
  •                 14 have had Aboriginal characters or had Aboriginal authors
  •         Distributed CD-ROM versions of The Teacher’s Toolkit
  •         Native Studies courses received copies of new authorized Native Studies texts and continue to receive funds to support class activities and the purchase of resources
  •         Issued support document for Grade 10 History
        Chair Brown thanked Superintendent Marsh for providing the above-noted information.

Parenting and Family Literacy Centres (Strategic Plan Reference: Item 1.1.1)

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff introduced Paula Andrews, Manager of Parenting & Family Literacy Centres.  She said that about one year ago, she provided information, when we were in the initial stages of implementing Parenting and Family Literacy Centres (PFLCs) in Limestone District School Board.  She said that she and Ms. Andrews are pleased to come back to the Education/Human Resources Committee to update Trustees on the success of the implementation of the centres in Limestone District School Board.  Superintendent Fraser-Stiff said that we have had a successful start to this school year, and that is due to the incredible work of Ms. Andrews and the parent facilitators in the PFLCs.

        Ms. Andrews provided an overview of the initiative, as follows:

  •         In the spring of 2011, the Ministry of Education approved funding to open four Parenting and Family Literacy Centres in Kingston (Polson Park, Rideau Heights and Frontenac Public Schools, and Holy Family Catholic School);
  •         The Parenting and Family Literacy Centre Manager was hired August 15, 2011.  Three LDSB Parent Facilitators were subsequently hired September 6, 2011;
  •         Parenting and Family Literacy Centres (PFLCs) opened their doors on September 26, 2011;
  •         By December 2011, LDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres had welcomed more than 100 children with their parents or caregivers; and
  •         More than 340 children attending LDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres with their parents or caregivers by June 2012, with over 4,500 accumulated visits.
        Ms. Andrews provided information about the program fundamentals and on-going learning, as follows:

  •         Parent Engagement is at the root of Parenting and Family Literacy Centre program planning.  Through active, positive modeling and support, Parent Facilitators meet parents where they are in their parenting journey and provide opportunities for continued learning and sharing of knowledge.  Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher.  Rooted in this philosophy, the PFLC program encourages parent/caregiver participation during all play-based activities and provides home learning extensions.
  •         To further support on-going learning for families, a Book Lending Library at each PFLC offers a variety of Parent Resources and Children’s Literature in several languages which are easily accessed and borrowed.
        Ms. Andrews provided information about outreach, community partnerships and internal Limestone District School Board teams, as follows:

  •         Active outreach is an on-going priority for the Parenting and Family Literacy Centres.  In August 2012, we contacted more than 250 participants via telephone to invite them back to the PFLCs.  Door-to-door flyer distribution, participation in community events (e.g. Birthfest) and attendance at school functions (e.g. Welcome to Kindergarten events, etc.) provide additional opportunities for the PFLC team to connect with families and invite them to the centres.  As a result, in September 2012, the PFLCs welcomed 188 children who have already returned on more than 730 occasions.

  •         Monthly newsletters and calendars are sent to more than 20 community agencies and are posted on the LDSB website.  The Parenting and Family Literacy Centres are represented on several community agency committees and work groups that share similar mandates.  This helps to ensure we collectively share resources, avoid duplication of services, identify gaps and needs and provide support for children and families in a relevant and responsive manner.  PFLCs also receive regular visits from Early Expressions, Kingston Literacy and Skills and a Family Support Worker from Better Beginning to help provide more accessible support for families.
  •         Supporting a smooth transition into Full Day Kindergarten for young children and their families is strengthened by the integration of the PFLC manager onto the LDSB Full Day Kindergarten Early Learning Planning Team and the Elementary Programs Team.  Participation at these tables helps to ensure alignment with PFLC planning and Full Day Kindergarten expectations.
        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that we were pleased to have a tremendous and positive start to this school year.  She said that although the centres are housed in schools, families and children that attend are not required to be part of that school area.  She said that when we received Ministry funding to implement these programs, the Ministry specified the criteria for the location of the centres – low socio-economic areas, ensure that the school is accessible, ensure that there is available room in the school, and to ensure that there is space for stroller parking.  

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that we have had ongoing conversation with the Ministry asking them to consider the possibility of moving into some rural sites, which would allow us the ability to open PFLCs in the north and west areas of the Board.  She said that we realize that there needs to be some walkability; however, we could solve potential transportation issues and make them work in rural areas.  She advised that Director Hunter sent a letter to the Ministry thanking them for providing funding for the centres, and expressing our success, and should the Ministry be looking at the expansion of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, we would be pleased to make a rural centre successful.

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

Overview of Secondary Staffing Process

        Superintendent Labrie provided a brief overview of the secondary staffing process, noting that there are all kinds of complexities that come with the it.  He commented that staffing and programming come “hand in hand”.  He said that the process begins in January, with regard to what programs schools will offer, with the whole focus on programming, which determines which programs will be offered.

        Superintendent Labrie provided an outline of the secondary staffing process and its timelines, as follows:

Approximate Date
Schools send out student course selection to current students and new grade 9 students

Board and Schools confirm Focus Programs for the following year and carousel takes place
PAR (Positions of Added Responsibility) information sent out to schools allocating the number of PAR in the system and at each school
Beginning of February
Teachers Preferred Assignment information sent to each teacher at each school to find out what their preference would be for the following school year
Enrolment information produced by the Board and distributed to schools
Schools are informed of their Staffing Allocations based on enrolment information for the upcoming school year
Schools begin preparing their department totals and begin to build a timetable, based on the number of sections they have received
Leave information is received from teachers who are requesting a leave for the first semester of the following school year and also received information from teachers who are currently on leave as to whether they are planning on returning to their full-time job or requesting to continue on either a part-time leave or a full-time leave
April 1
Retirement/Resignations – teachers notify the Board of their intent to retire or resign and these vacancies are used to reduce the number of surplus teachers at a school
Seniority Lists produced by the Board
Preliminary School Plans Produced – schools determine how many sections they have within each department based on enrolment, staffing allocations and student option sheets.  Once they determine how many sections they have in each subject department, they begin to staff teachers into sections based on seniority and qualifications
Determination of Surplus/Redundant Teachers – following the completion of the preliminary school plans teachers left without a placement will be declared surplus by the school.  The Board will use this data, along with other pertinent information, to determine who and where to declare redundant to the system
Final School Plans – once the Board has determined who is redundant to the system schools then declare vacancies for any redundant teachers – teachers they had placed into sections that are now redundant.  These vacated sections will be used to place teachers off the transfer or surplus list.

Ongoing staffing process – this process is ongoing throughout the entire school year.  As vacancies arise they will be staffed in the order of Voluntary transfer first, until the start of the semester, followed by pull back to schools and finally placements from the surplus list.  The staffing committee will always deal with the most senior qualified teacher first, so depending on which category they fall into, that is the order of how staffing takes place.  This process is repeated at every staffing meeting, until semester II is finalized and complete.

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

Combined Classes Followup

        Trustee Brown indicated that at the September Education/Human Resources Committee meeting, Trustees were to review the pamphlet handed out at the meeting.  She indicated that this item was placed on the agenda for today’s meeting.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff stated that in the spring of each year, based on projected enrolment, schools determine the organization for their school for the following year.  She said that based on the number of students per grade, these numbers determine the organization of each class.  She said that often there is a need to combine two grades together.  She commented that Principals in schools publish through newsletters home to parents what the expected organization is for the following year, but not necessarily the placement of students in classes.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff advised that come September, because at times there are transitions over the summer where a school might register more students than expected or some students do not return to a particular school, reorganization has to occur.  She stated that the anticipated school organization has to undergo a reorganization based on the number of children who are enrolled at the school.  She indicated that happens the third week of September.  She remarked that sometimes combined classes are dissolved or sometimes they are created because of the shift in enrolment.  She remarked that if a school needs to reorganize, Principals communicate with parents.  She said that is why combined classes may occur in elementary schools.

        Superintendent Fraser-Stiff indicated that teachers in combined classes deliver grade-appropriate instruction to all students in the class.  She said that the reality is that every teacher, regardless of the class organization, provide instruction at multiple-grade levels, based on the needs of the children in the classroom.

        Trustee Ruttan suggested that a pamphlet be developed that outlines the reasons why there may be combined classes, that parents can have as a resource.  She said that parents need to understand the reasons why there may be combined classes.  She said that parents need to understand that combined classes are healthy for children and that they can provide enhanced learning opportunities.  She also suggested that information about combined classes be posted on the Board’s website.

        Trustee Murray stated that we need to communicate to children that being in a combined class does not mean they have failed, because sometimes children in the lower grade in a combined class may feel that they have failed.  She indicated that they need to know the positives of being in a combined class.

Future Agenda Items
        Superintendent Labrie reviewed the future agenda items for the 2012/2013 Education and Human Resources Committee meetings, as follows:

November 21, 2012:      OSSTF/Board PA Day – Update

January 16, 2013:       Safe Schools Update
                                Expanded Opportunities
                                School Year Calendar

February 20, 2013:      Program Pilots Update (ITS)
                                School Year Calendar
                                Wireless Safety
                                Health and Safety in Our Schools

March 20, 2013: Leadership Development Strategy
                                Mental Health Initiatives

April 17, 2013:         Alternative and Continuing Education

May 22, 2013:           Healthy Schools Update
                                Climate Surveys 2011-2012

        Superintendent Labrie indicated that the following unscheduled topics, that were raised at the Trustee Retreat, have been suggested as possible agenda items:

  • Safe Schools: Bully, cyber bullying
  •         Parent Engagement – QECVI Family of Schools Pilot Project
        Trustee Ruttan asked that information about Focus programs, AP programs, etc. with regard to what they are, where they are located, etc. be a future agenda item.  Superintendent Marsh stated that information could be part of the Expanded Opportunities agenda item in January.

        Chair Brown stated that if any Trustee has further agenda items, he/she should let herself or Superintendent Labrie know, so that they can be added to a future Education/Human Resources Committee agenda.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Education/Human Resources Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 21, 2012, at 4:30 p.m
MOVED BY Trustee Jackson, that the meeting adjourn at 6:05 p.m.–Carried