Meeting Notes - June 5, 2018

Tonight we had the final Education and Operations & Finance meetings of the 2017/18 school year. At the top of the Education Committee agenda we presented the Scholarship and Bursary Awards to students entering post-secondary education in the fall. 

Many scholarships and bursaries are available to assist students with the expense of post-secondary education. Most have an academic component and many are intended for students who may not be able to afford it. Other criteria may include community involvement and volunteering as well as leadership. They may also be specific to certain types of post-secondary programming such as skilled trades or helping professions. I am grateful to the individuals and organizations in the Windsor-Essex community and beyond who provide them. A list with deadlines can be found here

We also received a presentation on our Arts programming. GECDSB values art and learning through the arts. We provide extensive arts programming and partner with many community organizations to deliver our curriculum including the Art Gallery of Windsor and Windsor Symphony Orchestra. I know that Walkerville Collegiate also partners with some of the art galleries in the Walkerville district throughout each school year to display student art for the wider public. Programs include music, dance, band, visual art, creative writing, poetry, photography, and drama at different schools at the elementary and secondary levels.

During Question Period, I enquired about the Pride flags that we currently fly at all secondary schools in the first week of June. I have attended the flag raising at Walkerville every year since we implemented this policy and have seen first-hand what it means to all students whether they are LGBTQ or allies. I asked whether any elementary schools fly them and was informed that they do not at this time but that we do plan to in the future. 

At Operations & Finance, we approved a Borrowing by-law and a Copyright Compliance policy. As well, it was confirmed that we have a balanced budget this school year. During Question Period, I asked a question about the $856,000 in retrofitting funding that the board was eligible for which I had brought a motion to plan to use back in 2017. Although it failed trustee support, I had argued that we needed to be proactive in finding partners to use space in our schools that would reduce the number of empty student spaces which can sometimes lead to closing schools. Boards had to have an acceptable plan by the end of the 2017/18 school year in order to receive the funding. Although the motion failed, it did bring attention to the issue and eventually community partners started to reach out to me, telling me they would not have known about it if I had not raised attention in the media. Tonight, we learned that most of the funding will be used for partnerships in Belle River District High School and John Campbell Public School. I can't wait to hear more about them!

Our next board meeting is on June 19. I will be asking some questions about the heat in schools. My daughter attends Walkerville Collegiate and the third floor has already become very uncomfortable on some days. Before then, I will be attending the Pluralist Awards at the board offices which is a celebration and publication of outstanding student writing. 




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Jessica Sartori