Meeting Notes - February 2, 2016

Tonight was the first meeting of 2016 for our Education Committee and Ops and Finance Committee.

I am thrilled to once again serve as Vice Chair of the Education Committee and delighted to be working with Chair Alan Halberstadt. The agenda for the Education Committee included Kindergarten Registration and a new Learning Management System. Kindergarten Registration for September 2016 runs February 16-26. Each school will be hosting an open house on Wednesday, February 17 beginning at 5pm. This is an opportunity to tour the schools and meet the teachers, principals, and other staff which keep our schools running smoothly every day, as well as other parents and students. Our board tries to do a lot of outreach around Kindergarten Registration and this year we are running some new campaigns. The “Talk2Ten” campaign encourages everyone connected to our board or an individual school to talk to ten people and share positive stories about what you like about GECDSB. We will also be launching commercials in our local movie theatres and on CTV! Here is a link to our promo video on YouTube. Finally, don’t miss our JK-12 Education Expo running February 5 through February 7 at Devonshire Mall in front of the Bay. This is an opportunity to meet staff, ask questions, and collect information to bring home. I am very proud of the work our board does to engage parents in registering their children with our board.

Trustees also learned more about Edsby tonight. This is a new online Learning Management System that allows for greater communication with staff, parents, and students in our board. Features include organizing student assignments, providing grades and feedback, student questions for teachers, student peer-to-peer discussion, access to IEPs, calendars for tests and events, reporting attendance, school or Board-wide news, and committees and teams. There is also the ability to forward messages to email accounts. About 46% of parents have an email account registered with our board. We are looking to increase this. I am very excited that we will be able to leverage this tool to increase communication in a variety of areas. Find out more here

The main agenda item for the Ops and Finance Committee was a budget update. Although the 2016-2017 budget planning is in early stages, we learned that as things stand currently, we are looking at a projected $1.4million deficit. There are a number of pressure points including aging infrastructure, excess capacity, and declining enrolment. Much of the funding we receive from the Ministry is based on the number of students enrolled in our board. We are always open to feedback and you can provide pre-budget input using this email address: [email protected]. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a consultation at two Board/Committee meetings in April and May. Our final budget will be submitted to the Ministry of Education in June.

The Board’s next meeting is on February 16 at 7pm. All are welcome!


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Jessica Sartori