Meeting Notes - November 2019

This month trustees received an update on our Indigenous Education strategy and the trustee expenses report. 

The GECDSB has been working to support Indigenous students and staff as well as to educate everyone throughout the board. I am thrilled that we now start every board meeting with a land acknowledgement, which was several years in development with a diverse Indigenous Education Committee, including FNMI community partners.

A presentation from administration this month highlighted the work being done to improve the engagement, learning, and well-being of FNMI students in and out of the classroom. The Open Minds Program supports positive learning environments for FNMI students through initiatives that engage and support them culturally, emotionally, academically, and socially. Intended outcomes include improving the FNMI student experience, their academic achievement, and their graduation rates. Strategies include tutoring programs and support in planning for transitions such as success after high school in any path they choose. FNMI Student Support Workers work directly to support FNMI students and educational staff in the learning environment to ensure cultural inclusiveness and positive relationships. While we offer support to all of our students in achieving positive outcomes, it is important that we try to help students in whatever way will lead to success in their chosen path, and that means tailoring support to what students want and need. We continue to monitor outcomes and will be receiving another update in the future.

We also received the trustee expense report for 2018-2019. This is an important piece of information which supports transparency, so I am attaching it here. It is within the Operations and Finance agenda on page 4. The document shows trustee honoraria, which differs depending on position and committee work, as well as expenses over the year which may include professional development, travel and accommodations, and office expenses such as internet. Expenses must fall within the guidelines. The process includes submitting requests to the Chairperson and finance department, each of whom review submissions for appropriateness based on the trustee expense regulation which can be found here. It is important that there are multiple review levels and that sign-off does not lie with one person, especially because these are public monies.

November was my last month as Chairperson of the Board. Our terms are one year and I have decided not run again because of the attention I would like to devote to my new job. It has been an honour and pleasure to work alongside Trustee Julia Burgess, Vice Chair, and to support the board and community in this way. Thank you for the opportunity. It was a peak experience for me that I will never forget. I took this role very seriously, as I believe it is a great responsibility, and I hope I served everyone well. I have to say that I enjoyed learning more about parliamentary procedure, getting into the weeds and minutiae, and also having a new understanding that as in most things, there is interpretation required. It was really interesting to me!

The next meeting is the annual Organizational Meeting which is on December 3. At that meeting we will elect the new Board Chairperson, Vice Chair, and the chairs and vice chairs of the Standing Committees of Education and Operations & Finance. All are welcome to attend or you can watch the meeting here.



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Jessica Sartori