Brockville – Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 to discuss several agenda items:
Caldwell Street Public School Presentation:
Principal Paul LeRoy and Vice Principal Claire Snider updated trustees on how their school is doing in the key areas of wellness, literacy and mathematics. Reporting on Caldwell’s School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement, LeRoy said teachers are increasing student comprehension and critical thinking skills in literacy and are working to improve math skills using several strategies.
An important approach is the use of “number strings” or sequences of equations that lend themselves to similar processes for finding a solution. A student determines the process for breaking down one of the questions, determines how to solve it, and then can use the same process to solve each succeeding equation – using transferable skills to build mathematical understanding. Teachers also use “number talks” to help students learn the proper method to solve a problem. A teacher will display an equation on a blackboard and then talk aloud about the thought process used to solve it.
The school has several programs and resources in place to enhance student wellness such as the Big Brothers/Big Sisters After School Program, the Build Our Kids Success (BOKS) Fitness Program, character assemblies, a sensory room to support students with special education needs, community music instruction and the Positive Behavioural Interventions and Support Program.
Nationview Public School Presentation:
Principal Karen Bryan told Trustees how her school is boosting student learning in the key areas of math and literacy and enhancing wellness for all children at the school. In a presentation on Nationview’s School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement, she noted how teachers are using “high yield” or high impact teaching strategies to enhance writing skills for our students. This involves using Success Criteria, Learning Goals, descriptive feedback, and scaffolding tasks.
The school is also moderating student samples to determine the next instructional moves necessary to improve the children’s writing. Learning Resource Teachers also have special groupings of students in Grades 1, 2, and 3 to focus writing skills for children who require extra attention or support at school. With the current focus on narratives, teachers are modelling approaches to constructing a story using a “Beginning, Middle and End” format.
The school is enhancing wellness by offering students opportunities to try new activities during recess such as cross-country skiing. In conjunction with Character Education monthly recognition, students have had the opportunity to participate in the Roots of Empathy Program and the Zones of Regulation Program. Students can also learn relaxation techniques, benefit from a breakfast program and participate in a wide variety of school and intramural sports.
2018-19 Budget Information Report:
Superintendent of Business Robert Backstrom presented the first Budget Information Report for the 2018-19 year. This provided the Board of Trustees with a timeline for the upcoming budget deliberation process for 2018-19. The timeline laid out a plan for submission of various financial reports to the Board, with a target for approval of the 2018-19 budget on June 6, 2018.
In addition, the report included preliminary revenue projections along with an understanding of the financial context, opportunities and challenges for the upcoming budget year. The revenue projections within the report indicate a decline in overall operating revenue from $332 million in the 2017-18 Revised Budget to $330.8 million in 2018-19, or a decrease of $1.2 million.
Backstrom said the decrease reflects the expiry of $1.3 million in professional development funding. The loss of this funding would be offset by the reduction of related expenditures resulting in minimal change to the Board budget surplus between the years. As the 2018-19 budget process progresses, the Business Department will bring forward further updates to the Board in subsequent Budget Information Reports. These changes will include updates made to the Grants for Student Needs, which is the primary funding source for school boards, and are anticipated to be released by the end of March.