Highlights from the March 24 Board of Trustees’ Meeting

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Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met virtually on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 for a regularly scheduled board meeting.

Staff outline 2021-2022 School Year Program Plan
Staff provided further clarity on the proposed Kindergarten to Grade 12 program plan for the 2021-2022 school year. The proposed plans will see cohorting at all levels and a quadmester model at the secondary school level for the first half of the school year. Provided public health conditions will permit, students will transition to a regular school routine, including a five-period day and semesters at the secondary level, and expanded cohorts at the elementary level, in February 2022.

In the 2021-22 school year, the remote learning options for students will include synchronous digital and asynchronous digital. There will be limited availability of emergency non-digital remote learning for elementary and secondary students.
Both synchronous and asynchronous digital remote learning options will be connected to the classroom teacher in both the elementary and secondary programs. This will allow more flexibility for students to move between in-person, synchronous digital and asynchronous digital models should they need to.

Senior staff will continue to plan for 2021-22 academic year, including: confirming student need for asynchronous remote learning; meet specified timelines for the annual staffing process; and communicate with all stakeholders regarding the program model.

Financial forecast improves for projected year-end

Staff presented an updated financial forecast for the 2020-2021 school year. The original budget anticipated a $0.2 million surplus, yet staff noted a financial shift occurred that is primarily due to increased expenses related to the Board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, in January the school board forecasted a $2.9 million deficit. Now that staff have more clarity on enrolment numbers and more defined budget estimates across the district, the school board now projects a $1.1 million deficit. Should that be the case, the UCDSB will access its accumulated surplus to balance the budget and remain compliant with the Ministry’s compliance threshold.

Staff will continue to monitor the financial forecast and provide Trustees with a final financial forecast presentation in June.

Board set to increase accessibility to menstrual hygiene products in schools Trustees discussed a motion brought forward by Student Trustees Tain Hughes and Jordan Evans relating to the accessibility of menstrual hygiene products in UCDSB schools. The student trustees highlighted that equitable access of these products within UCDSB schools is an issue and proposed that a policy be developed. Trustees passed the motion that the accessibility of menstrual hygiene products would be reviewed by the policy committee. In addition, a second motion was passed to have dispensing machines for menstrual hygiene products installed in all female and gender-neutral washrooms in UCDSB schools.

School Board prepares for Equity & Inclusion Plan external review

Staff provided an update on the progress of the school board’s Equity and Inclusion Plan, including informing trustees of existing policies and procedures connected to equity and inclusion including professional development training, religious accommodation and building a data reporting cycle that includes data from vulnerable populations.

To continue to implement the Equity and Inclusion Plan, the UCDSB plans to complete an external review of the school board’s policies, procedures and practices through an equity and inclusion lens. By hiring a professional with equity and inclusion experience, this review would then provide insight for the UCDSB’s next Equity Action Plan for 2021-2023.

Full details on presentations, reports and discussions can be found in the agenda or reviewed in the recorded broadcast.

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