Kemptville – Highlights from the CDSBEO Board Meeting held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Eastern Ontario Skilled Trades Competition
The goal of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) has been to promote skilled trades as a viable and attractive alternative to traditional post-secondary programs. Numbers of students participating in the OYAP program have risen consistently, and more students are choosing this pathway to receive the benefits associated with early registration as apprentices. One of the highlights of the OYAP program has been the skills competitions which allow skilled trades students the opportunity to participate in a varsity style competition. This year, St. Lawrence College welcomed over 250 students from 30 secondary schools to compete in a wide range of events showcasing skills learned in classrooms or on cooperative education placements.
CDSBEO OYAP Coordinator Dan Lortie, presented to the Board of Trustees, details on this year’s Eastern Ontario Skills Competition, which was hosted in partnership with the Upper Canada District School Board on February 21, 2018.
This year’s event featured 15 competitions at four locations in Cornwall. The hub of activity took place at St. Lawrence College, and included categories such as auto service technician, team carpentry, house building, cabinet making, welding, TV video production, small engines, photography, and drama. Other events included hairstyling and esthetics, which took place at Elegance College, with culinary events at St. Matthew Catholic Secondary School and the environment competition at the St. Lawrence River Institute.
“CDSBEO students did very well in many areas, winning medals in 7 divisions of the competition,” noted Mr. Lortie. “Two teams from Holy Trinity CSS won gold and bronze in the Environment competition at the St. Lawrence River Institute, and students from St. Michael CHS won silver in Team Carpentry, with Corrik Donnelly from St. John CHS taking sliver in Cabinet Making.”
“The teams in the Master Chef competition at St. Matthew Secondary from St. Matthew, St. John and St. Francis Xavier also took gold, silver and bronze, respectively.”
Mr. Lortie added that the CDSBEO did not win as many medals this year as was anticipated, but explained, “That’s okay because my goal is always to champion participation; to make sure that students come and try, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they got gold, silver or bronze, as long as they were there, and had a good day, and were able to participate.”
“We’ve seen some amazing successes for our students over the years. We have many graduates that have gone on to become extremely successful in their chosen fields,” noted Mr. Lortie. “These are students that have gone from school to work, or school to apprenticeship, and it’s nice to look back and see so many success stories within our Board.”
Mr. Lortie highlighted several successful graduate profiles, including several students who now teach skilled trades in secondary schools in the area.
Vice-Chair Ron Eamer commended Mr. Lortie for his dedication to the OYAP program, and his passion for student success, “The programs you oversee are always successful because of your enthusiasm, and the encouragement that you provide. I think these students have truly taken their lead from you, and put their full effort into what they set out to accomplish.”
Well-Being and Resiliency Survey Results
Resiliency is an ability to spring back and adapt to life’s challenges with an attitude of hope and optimism. Throughout the CDSBEO, schools are working to develop a strengths-based culture of practice, where students are nurtured to develop their strengths in a positive way. In order to empower individuals and school teams to help students engage in, and better understand their strengths, and skills essential for navigating life’s challenges, the Board has collected information (beginning in September 2013) via a resiliency survey for students. Students from grades 3 through 12 completed surveys and the results are utilized by individual schools to celebrate successes and address challenges.
Michelle Neville, Mental Health Lead, and Rick Soudant, Educational Data Analysis Consultant, shared highlights of the reports the Board provides to the schools with the survey data, including information on some of the new reports that have been developed.
School indicators assessed in four key areas are used to group various strengths and measure student resiliency. These include: caring relationships, meaningful engagement, establishing expectations and healthy responses.
“These four key components help contribute to a sense of belonging, hopefulness, optimism and empowerment,” explained Mrs. Neville. “Our framework now includes not only resiliency factors, but it also incorporates mental health indicators as well as indicators congruent with the Ministry’s Well-Being Strategy. When we were developing our framework, we divided our framework into those four key areas, and took those key indicators as the basis for the surveys. These indicators incorporate not only resiliency, but also mental health factors.”
Schools receive various reports annually to help them to understand the survey results, and address areas of strength and need. Support is also provided to schools at the annual Board Resiliency Day, where school mental health teams have an opportunity to review, analyze and discuss the survey results.
“This year, the Board has introduced new reports to further understand the children and youth that we serve,” noted Mrs. Neville. “The new reports go deeper into the data, helping to identify thriving indicators, student well-being indicators.”
“Part of the school resiliency days is also to share information on what has worked, and pollinate ideas amongst the schools to share ideas that have been successful,” explained Mrs. Neville. “Our hope is to help spread positivity and build a culture of positive mental health in our schools and classrooms.”
Rick Soudant discussed the connections of mental health and resiliency to learning and student success, and how the reports help to identify strengths, and thriving indicators.
“All of our reports lead back to our positive mental health flip-book – a resource which is used in all CDSBEO schools, and which is posted in all classrooms,” noted Mr. Soudant.
“The reports breakdown specific data and provide visualizations of the data that can be easily reviewed for trends. They allow teachers to quickly identify areas of concern,” noted Mr. Soudant. “They can see the connections, see the relationships, between the information in the reports so they can develop their school improvement plans, try to support their students, and ultimately create a clearer picture.”
Chair Lalonde noted, “We are certainly overwhelmed and excited by the possibilities this data can provide for our schools, for our teachers, and most importantly for the success of our students. It is indeed a testament to the Board’s mission to educate the heart, mind, body and soul of our students.”