Meeting Notes - April 19, 2016

Tonight we recognized staff members receiving Outstanding Service Awards. These awards are presented annually to staff who go above and beyond their regular duties to provide a superior learning experience for students including caring for their well-being and making learning enjoyable, as well as reaching out to parents and the community. Congratulations to all award recipients!

We also recognized our April Student of the Month, Jarrod Manners, from General Amherst High School. Jarrod is a go-getter who excels at school in every way. Not only does he obtain very high grades, he is also captain of the football team, and a leader on spirit days. He also works part-time at the family business as well as keeping another part-time job. He is very kind-hearted and goes out of his way to support students with special needs at GAHS as well as celebrating World Autism Day. Congratulations Jarrod!

Superintendent Cathy Lynd provided a presentation about the budget. She advised that the board is currently projecting a deficit of $1.5m. Part of the problem is that student enrolment is declining and the province is phasing out funding for to cover empty student spaces. It will be eliminated entirely after the next school year. The board will be receiving input and ideas from delegations at Board meetings in May. Budget deliberations are an important time for the community to be able to express their ideas about programming and partnerships. Unfortunately, not many people attend. Please consider attending or you can contact me directly.

We also heard some more details about the Ministry of Education Math funding. The board will be receiving $600,000 under this new grant which is meant to cover release time for professional development. I asked whether this money could be used toward math coaches which was something we found to be important during the Math Task Force. It cannot be used for this purpose. Administration is currently developing different models for math coaches to be incorporated to a larger extent throughout our board and particularly at the elementary level.

Our Public Relations Officer also presented a renewed Communications Strategy document. This document speaks to the board’s values about communication as well as communication chains and channels. It is a very comprehensive document outlining who has what roles, the primary communication modes, as well as the primary purpose of communications. I requested that “transparency” be added to our communication values which was supported by trustees through consensus.

Finally, I was very pleased to support Trustee Julia Burgess’ motion:

To align with Pride month in North America, and to support our diverse community partners, it is recommended that the GECDSB fly a Pride flag at the Park Street main GECDSB office and at GECDSB secondary schools during June.

In fact, the motion was supported unanimously by all trustees. Thank you to David Lenz and Walter Cassidy for speaking to the motion as delegates and for helping trustees to understand how important this move is in communicating to students and the community that we are a diverse and welcoming board.

The next Board meeting is on May 3. I am looking forward to this meeting as I requested that we invite United Way to give a presentation on their On Track to Success program! Before then I will be attending the Business Excellence Awards and Gourmet Gardens with my workplace, Windsor Essex Children's Aid Society. 


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Jessica Sartori