Click Here to View June 21st Board Meeting Agenda
Brockville – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 to discuss a number of topics including:
Board Supports for Student Wellness, Living Skills and Self-Care: Superintendent Susan Edwards and UCDSB Chief Psychologists David Armstrong and Alison Inglis presented a report on how the Board is using the curriculum and the school setting to better support students as they address new learning and student-life experiences. The report outlined how the Board has dovetailed its Mental Health Plan with the major goals of the provincial Health and Physical Education (HPE) Curriculum to enhance student wellness, living skills and self-care. The focus for both staff and students under this approach has been on building mental health literacy; understanding how to foster and maintain good mental health; recognizing signs of mental health problems and when/how to intervene and how to reduce stigma. These supports include: increased staff training in HPE curriculum goals and training to enhance student wellness, the use of the Tell Them From Me student survey tool, physical literacy programming, programming and activities/opportunities that promote social-emotional development and healthy experiences, substance abuse prevention programs, programs to build coping strategies such as Mindmasters and Roots of Empathy, and staff training in suicide prevention and intervention techniques.
Tell Them From Me Pilot: Superintendent Susan Edwards and Carleton Place High School Principal Eric Hardie informed Trustees how the Board is using the Tell Them From Me Student Survey data to create concrete plans in our schools to enhance student wellness. Edwards and Hardie discussed a student consultation process the Board hosted to develop student-driven plans that turn data from the survey into concrete actions that benefit students. The three-step process allowed Board staff and student teams to develop individual school plans to address student stress and anxiety by offering greater opportunities for physical activities and wellness activities at school. Activities outlined in the school plans include nutritional cooking classes, breathing exercises and meditation, time management courses, quiet rooms, therapy dogs, and centralized calendars to be used by staff to ensure assignments are more spread out.
Recognition for Valued Employees and Trustees: On behalf of the Board, Chair Jeff McMillan and Director Stephen Sliwa officially recognized some of its retiring staff and trustees, as well as the heroic efforts of two staff members in saving the life of a student. Those recognized were:
- Trustee Peter Garrow: The longtime Indigenous representative on the Board, who attended his final meeting last night, was honoured for more than 10 years of service representing Indigenous students and the Akwesasne Territory. Garrow was recognized for establishing an outstanding partnership between the Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education (AMBE) and the UCDSB that is reflected in an Education Services Agreement for secondary school services. The results are that Akwesasne’s core high school graduation rate has increased each year to approximately 78% with more than 75% going on to post-secondary institutions. Garrow’s other important role was in representing the Board at the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association as a director and chair of the Indigenous Trustee Council that has impacted all students on the importance of First Nation history, knowledge and contributions to Canadian society. Garrow teaches Native Studies at the Iohahi:io Adult Education campus of St. Lawrence College in Cornwall and chairs the Akwesasne/Canada self-government negotiations for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. He also serves as the manager of the Entewatatha:wi/Nation Building Project in order to establish a new government-to-government relationship with Canada that goes beyond the federal Indian Act.
- 2016-2017 Student Trustee Grace Maher: Maher was honoured for her work over the last year as Student Trustee and leader of the UCDSB Student Senate. Through her leadership in the Student Senate, she helped coordinate a successful C4K Day program. The Board-wide initiative was a major fundraising effort that generated both funds and awareness for the Champions for Kids (C4K) Foundation, the charitable foundation of the Board. Money was raised through successful school-based events coordinated by Student Senators. Maher was also honoured for leading Student Senate efforts to raise awareness of issues surrounding student mental health and well-being. As a result of discussions at Student Senate, each senator made up a plan to take back to their school to possibly implement that will help their school become a happier, and healthier environment that supports students in their mental well-being.
- Superintendent Susan Edwards: Our superintendent was recognized for a 30-year career with the Board, beginning as a teacher at Drummond Central School in September 1987. She subsequently taught at Beckwith Public School and Arklan Community Public School before becoming a vice-principal and principal at Chimo Elementary School. She then took a position as Special Education Coordinator, helping to launch the Student Senate Leadership initiative. She later served as a principal at Maple Grove Public School, before assuming the role of System Principal of Labour Relations and then finally rising to the position of Superintendent in 2005. Edwards was honoured for helping to enhance and manage our special education programs, equity initiatives, Indigenous education, and mental health and wellness programs.
- Russell Public School Principal Mhairi Rowland and Communications Officer Derrick Casselman: These two employees were cited for their heroic actions in March 2017, intervening when a child at Russell Public School was in medical distress. The two immediately responded to the child’s situation and CPR was commenced. As a result of their quick action, the child’s condition quickly improved.
Financial Forecast Presentation: Superintendent of Business Nancy Barkley presented the third and final financial forecast to the Board for the current fiscal year. It reflects an anticipated in-year surplus of $742,796, an improvement since the superintendent’s second forecast in March. Barkley said the 2016-2017 financial forecast remains Ministry of Education compliant and allows the Board to concentrate on its key goals of student achievement and student well-being in a fiscally responsible manner.
Superintendents of Schools: A retirement and an internal restructuring of staff assignments resulted in the appointed of two new school superintendents in the school district. Ronald Ferguson, currently a principal with the Upper Canada District School Board, and Jodie Barrett, an assistant Superintendent with the Renfrew County District School Board were appointed by the Board of Trustees, subject to confirmation of eligibility from the Ministry of Education.