Highlights from March 27 Board of Trustees Meeting

Above, 2018-2019 UCDSB Board of Trustees. Courtesy photo

BROCKVILLE —  Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, March 27, to discuss several agenda items.

Budget Improvement Measures: Trustees approved more than $774,000 in spending reductions after staff responded to a Board motion to reduce the initial $1.8 million deficit approved when the current budget passed in May 2018. Following the February 27 direction to staff, the senior management conducted a full review of all planned expenditures, with the goal of avoiding any serious impact on student learning and maintaining a safe and welcoming environment in schools. Measures accepted by the Board of Trustees included a deferment of some IT projects, reductions to non-essential maintenance work, deferrals for filling some vacant staff positions within different departments, and reductions to the district’s International Education Program.

Board Approves 2019-20 Proposed School Year Calendar: Trustees approved the 2019-20 draft school year calendar. Under the draft, classes run from Wednesday September 4, 2019, to June 25, 2020. Christmas holidays have been slated for December 23, 2019 to January 3, 2020. March Break is from March 16, 2020 to March 20, 2020. The calendar includes seven professional activity days that are provided under provincial regulation. The calendar will now be sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval.

Other items discussed during the meeting were:

Director’s Work Plan Status Report: Director of Education Stephen Sliwa reported on progress staff has made under the 2018-19 Work Plan. The plan sets out 13 projects in the areas of Collaboration, Resources, Educational Programing, and Wellness. Eighty- five percent of the 13 projects in the plan are well underway at this point in the operational year. Wednesday’s report focused on two key goals – what the district is doing to meet the goal of increasing the graduation rate by 2 per cent this year as part of an ongoing effort to reach a 90 percent rate by 2020, and how the district is helping students better cope with stress while at school.

Director’s Award of Merit – Winter 2019: Director of Education Stephen Sliwa announced the latest winners of the Director’s Award of Merit during the regular board meeting. The award was established to recognize employees who bring the best of themselves to the workplace, and contribute to a positive, productive and caring

atmosphere in which employees work together to achieve important goals for supporting and serving our students and schools. This season’s recipients are:

Marsha McNair, Principal, Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI): Marsha is being recognized as a true leader who inspires the best in others and supports innovative teaching practices among her staff with initiatives such as the RedHawk Café and the birch bark canoe build. Her leadership plays a significant role in SFDCI’s efforts to reach the district’s goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.

The late Carole McKewen, former UCDSB Comptroller of Finance: Carole is being recognized posthumously for supporting others in the board’s finance department with genuine care and concern. She fostered a true team-oriented environment based on collegial respect, while remaining fair, authentic and open-minded. That environment inspired a strong work ethic in her department. Because of her influence, Finance Department employees continue her legacy of service, care, and commitment.

Beth Loynachan, Elementary Learning Resource Teacher, Viscount Alexander Public School: Beth earned the award for continually helping colleagues, whether it be in team teaching, mentoring new teachers, answering questions about individual education plans or finding resources to support students with special needs. She creates and works weekly with reading and math groups to help close the gap, covers recess and lunch duties for others, and organizes the school’s Scholastic Book sales.

Emily Reavie, French Teacher, Front of Yonge Public School: Emily is being honoured for her deep sense of caring to ensure students are engaged. When teaching students about the French names for food, she brought in ingredients for students to make mini pizzas so they could make a real-life connection to their learning. She also uses technology in creative ways and has incorporated items such as B Bots in her classes. She also makes the school better by coaching cross country, basketball and volleyball; volunteering with the school’s winter carnival and Christmas store; and organizing the weekly Learning Commons schedules.

Heather Grant, English/Student Success Teacher, Char-Lan District High School: Heather has been honoured for striving to ensure all students are successful in their courses. She develops strong communication with parents and shows a high level of commitment and care to the students she supports. She can often be found working with students on her lunch hour, after school, or on PA days.

Megan Chouinard, Grades 1-4 Core Class, Nationview Public School: Megan was nominated for her skillful, compassionate approach to the high-needs students in her classroom. She is regarded by her peers as an exemplary teacher, and programs individually for the needs of her students. Her students have become motivated, competent and confident learners. She has arranged her room to accommodate her students’ needs, paying close attention to lighting, seating, technology and the sensory needs of her children.

Stefanie Garlough, Custodian, Russell Public School: Serving as the custodian of the school, Stefanie is being honoured for her high-quality work and kind, caring attitude toward staff and students. She has learned many of the students’ names, participated in the school’s Spirit Days, and assisted a Kindergarten student with special needs. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to staff and students who need it.

Recipients will receive their award at the annual Celebration Night in June.

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