Kemptville – CDSBEO Board Meeting Highlights from the meeting held on November 21st, 2017.
Proposed Changes to the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline and the Community Planning and Partnership Guideline
In June 2017, the Ministry of Education launched its Plan to Strengthen Rural and Northern Education as a result of the municipal and public feedback received through the recent ARC processes, which resulted in the closure of many rural and northern schools. Part of the new plan includes a commitment to revise the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (PARG) to promote inclusion of community impact alongside the focus on student achievement and well-being. In addition, the Ministry has committed to revise the Community Planning and Partnership Guideline (CPPG) to encourage joint responsibility for integrated community planning, with a focus on communication between school boards, municipal governments and community partners about boards’ capital plans.
Superintendent of Business, Bonnie Norton, presented information to the Board on the proposed revisions to the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline. The Ministry of Education is seeking input from Ontario school boards on the proposed revisions, which aim to create a process that: is more collaborative, that better promotes student achievement and well-being, and that better recognizes the impact of school closure on rural communities.
“The proposed revisions include changes in the accommodation review timelines, as well as changes which affect the minimum requirements for the initial staff report” noted Mrs. Norton. “At least three options for the initial staff report must be presented – a recommended option, an alternative option, and a status quo option. In addition, information must be included regarding how the accommodation options will impact school board budget, student programming and achievement, student well-being, and community or economic impact.”
The proposal also includes a process for boards to promote community input in the PAR process by inviting elected municipal representatives and municipal staff to a meeting to discuss the initial staff report, and to disclose municipal participation and non-participation in PAR and Community Planning and Partnership (CPP) processes.
“A broader role for trustees throughout the PAR process has also been identified as a proposed requirement, along with the involvement of secondary student representatives in PARs which involve secondary schools,” noted Mrs. Norton.
Other proposed revisions include extended timelines for the administrative review process, and the development of Ministry support resources and report templates.
The Ministry of Education is also looking to revise the Community Planning and Partnership Guidelines to improve alignment with integrated local planning processes and encourage joint responsibility for integrated community planning, with a focus on communication between school boards, municipal governments and community partners about boards’ capital plans. The revisions will also help to highlight the potential for community use of open and underutilized schools. Boards will also be required to disclose municipal participation and non-participation in Community Planning and Partnership meetings.
The CDSBEO supports the proposed changes and feels that they will help to improve the accommodation review process and the community planning and partnership processes.
“Phase one will collect feedback until December 6, 2017, and phase two will allow for the review and collection of further public feedback of the revised PARG and CPPG in January 2018.”
Early Development Instrument (EDI) Update
The Early Development Instrument is a survey tool that was developed at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in 1998. The tool was designed to measure the ability of groups of children to meet developmental expectations that are considered age appropriate as they enter grade one. The purpose of the instrument is to report on populations of children in different communities. It is intended to help communities assess how well they are doing in supporting young children and their families.
Superintendent of School Effectiveness, Tom Jordan, presented an overview of EDI implementation across the province and the facets of information that is collected. “The Early Development Instrument assessment has been completed on over 1,000,000 children worldwide,” explained Mr. Jordan. “This February will mark the fifth round of data collection in Ontario.”
The research has shown that all children are born ready to learn, and that the impact of positive, nurturing experiences in the early years can last a lifetime. The EDI assesses children’s readiness to learn when they enter school by looking at five key areas of child development including: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills. The study is a way to understand trends in the development of kindergarten children, but is not an individual child or diagnostic measure.
Ontario schools boards are responsible for the administration and collection of the EDI data. “This province-wide data collection is a change from the past region by region approach, and will include all senior kindergarten students in all 72 of Ontario’s publicly funded school boards,” noted Mr. Jordan.
The EDI is now mandated by the Ministry of Education. Some preliminary Board training has been provided, and all senior kindergarten teachers will receive additional training in February 2018. The data will be used by various community service providers to support healthy child development, by school boards to set improvement goals and to plan programming, and by provincial, national and international governments to monitor the developmental well-being of their youngest citizens.
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