Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, November 25, for a regularly scheduled board meeting.
UCDSB Presents 2020-2023 Mental Health Strategic Plan:
Staff presented the 2020-2023 UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan to trustees and highlighted the progress achieved from the 2017-2020 strategic plan.
The UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan (2020-2023) will continue to focus on four priority areas, which will be embedded in the UCDSB Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Wellness (BIPSAW). These four areas include educating students and staff on mental health resources; enhancing access to supports for stress and coping using evidence-based programming in all of our schools; articulating pathways to care ensuring appropriate levels of support for our vulnerable student; and, enhancing staff, student and family access to reliable, evidence-based and evidence-informed information and resources.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the UCDSB Student Mental Health Strategic Plan will focus on continuing to emphasize classroom programs delivered by classroom staff and encouraging help-seeking by clarifying pathways to care.
Remote Learning Sees Increased Enrollment for In-class Learning Model:
Staff presented its monthly remote learning report to the board, and outlined that as of Nov. 16, 80 per cent of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students were enrolled in the in-class learning model while 20 per cent of students participate in the remote learning model. These numbers show a one per cent increase for the in-class learning model. The school board also witnessed an increased shift to “non-digital asynchronous” learning for remote learners where workbooks based on the curriculum has been developed and distributed to students.
To support this shift to non-digital learning, the remote teachers’ team create bi-weekly elementary curriculum-based resources that include workbooks featuring daily lesson plans across all grades and all subjects for a 10-day period. These resources are posted centrally for all elementary teachers to use as part of daily classroom instruction, in addition to their own materials.
Monthly Financial Update on Potential Funding Sources:
During this month’s financial reporting to trustees, administrative staff outlined sources of revenue for 2020-2021 that were not incorporated into the revenue estimates for the approved budget for 2020-2021. In advance of the beginning of each fiscal year, the UCDSB board of trustees approves a budget representing an estimate of the coming year’s revenues and expenditures, based upon the best available information at the time.
Since that initial budget approval in July, 2020, more than $6 million has been allocated to the UCDSB from Aug. 4 to Oct. 28. Most of the increased revenues comes from provincial and federal funding to cover COVID-19-related expenses. Listed as Priorities and Partnerships Funds, this $6 million will be dispersed to previously committed budget line items as well as to COVID-19 response expenses.
Grade K-6 Virtual School Feasibility Study Presentation:
To support students and their families for learning opportunities and in response to Ministry requirements, the UCDSB created a unique remote learning model during this time of the pandemic., On Sept. 2, 2020, trustees arrived at a motion requesting further study and a follow-up report on the feasibility, cost and implementation schedule related to the set-up of a stand-alone concept for a virtual school for all students K-6 model.
At the November 25 meeting, UCDSB staff presented a 24-page report created by an education consultant, who worked with senior-level staff for input and consultation. The report’s findings rejected the idea of creating a Virtual K – 6 Elementary School at this time. Specifically, changing from the current remote learning model to a separately staffed virtual school for the remainder of the pandemic would not be in the school board’s best interests. The absence of adequate provincial funding for synchronous remote learning as a stand-alone school was identified as a significant restriction for this type of approach.