Meeting Notes - November 17, 2015

Tonight was the final meeting of the current configuration of the Board of Trustees. Thank you to Gale Simko-Hatfield, Chair and Alan Halberstadt, Vice Chair for their year of service in these roles. 

The meeting started with a Remembrance Day tribute. Director Kelly arranged for trustees to view a video of Bellewood students singing an original song, “I am Canadian,” written by our very own Bellewood teacher, Mr. Scott Bastien. I attended a very moving assembly at Southwood Public School on Remembrance Day with beautiful artwork, music, singing, and short skits. It is important that schools help students recognize the reasons we remember and why we have the freedoms we do today.

We also celebrated our November Student of the Month, Jingting Liu. Jingting is a senior at Massey. She arrived last year from China and quickly became a leader in the school and local community. She raised more money for Massey Cares for Kidneys individually by canvassing door-to-door than her whole homeroom class! She is also co-chair of the Multicultural Dinner and at the top of her class in Massey’s Enriched Program even while she was learning English. Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and leadership, Jingting!

The two big agenda items were our Draft Audited Financial Statement which received great feedback from our auditors and Trustee Taves’ motion “that the GECDSB create a student recruitment and retention committee. Committee membership shall include but not be limited to a minimum of two trustees, senior administration, and school staff.” The motion was supported by all trustees and the project will likely involve surveys to students and parents, an assessment of program needs, community outreach, and possibly connecting with other Boards. This is an important project because we know enrollment has been declining for some time and it includes students leaving our board to attend other boards. We need to understand what we can do to improve enrollment numbers because programming depends on it. The project will evolve and grow as we go forward and determine what we need to do and I will keep you posted. 

Finally, Director Kelly provided a report which discussed, in part, the Random Acts of Kindness Day activities that happened around the board on November 6. For example, Kingsville Public School students raked leaves for their neighbours and West Gate students left uplifting notes on every student’s locker. Random Act of Kindness Day is a great reminder to show anyone – even people we don’t know – how kind we can be and how much they are appreciated.

The next meeting is on December 1 at which time trustees will elect the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Board as well as committees. am hoping to be re-elected as Vice Chair of Education. I have already started asking questions of Administration what we are doing to prepare to welcome and help refugee children and families settle into school and the community. Work is underway and I will let you know as events unfold.

Jessica

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Jessica Sartori