October Board Meeting Highlights

French as a Second Language to Begin in Grade 4 in Elementary Schools
Beginning in September 2020, French as a Second Language instruction in the LDCSB will begin in Grade 4, aligning us with Ministry of Education requirements.
The LDCSB presently offers French as a Second Language (FSL) instruction for 20 minutes daily in Grades 1 and 2, and for 40 minutes daily in Grades 3 to 8.
Over the past three years, we have experienced a scarcity of teacher applicants with French qualifications. A provincial committee reviewed the French teacher shortage in the province of Ontario and identified best practices that boards are using to address the shortage. The practices identified were already in place within the Board along with others.
The challenges in finding and keeping certified French teachers continues and is becoming increasingly problematic. The result is that FSL instruction in our elementary schools is being negatively impacted. Some of the impacts include:
  • It has taken weeks in some cases for a French teacher to be found for a particular assignment. During that time students are not receiving French instruction.
  • Teachers with French qualifications have been pulled from current assignments to fill FSL or French Immersion vacancies at their schools until we can find/hire a qualified teacher. The result is a disruption in several classrooms within the school.
  • In 2018-19, the first time in 15 years, we hired three uncertified French teachers to cover French assignments. For the 2019-20 school year we have already hired two uncertified French teachers.
The full report is located within the October 28, 2019 Board Meeting attachments.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategic Plan Update
Highlights of the past year include:
  • Professional Development for administrators focusing on leading mentally healthy schools through staff and student well-being
  • Response to student suicide concerns: ASIST training and SafeTALK
  • Crisis and Traumatic Events Response Protocol update is in process
  • SEL (Social Emotional Learning) for elementary students
  • Youth engagement included ongoing collaboration with TVDSB, Public Health, Children’s Mental Health and the Standing Tall Self Care Book
  • Parent engagement included collaboration with TVDSB and Child Development Clinic; six events were held across the region for more than 250 parents
  • Educator Capacity Building: trauma, stress and self-regulation were a continuing PD focus
  • Wellness Wednesdays launched this Fall
2019-20 is a year of opportunities and challenges:
  • Development of the 2020-23 Strategic Plan
  • Significant increased investment in School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) from the province
  • Currently maintaining investment in secondary mental health workers in schools
  • SMHO developing a robust suite of resources for educator, student and parent mental health literacy and engagement
  • Safe Accepting Schools and Mental Health Grants cut by more than half, impacting implementation at the Board level
Communications Update
Communications is constantly changing, with new technologies accelerating the pace. Ten years ago, smartphones were a new platform; Netflix wasn’t available in Canada; and many of today’s most popular social media platforms hadn’t been invented yet.
The LDCSB has more options than ever before to reach specific audiences:
  • Current families: SchoolMessenger, social media, public websites, traditional media
  • Prospective families: public websites, social media, parish bulletins, traditional media
  • Current staff: internal website, bulk emails, social media
  • Prospective staff: public websites, social media
  • General public: social/traditional media, public websites
SchoolMessenger has enabled immediate, direct communication with families for urgent system messages. The LDCSB social media presence has increased greatly over the past four years:
  • Twitter followers: 2,000 to 6,300
  • Facebook followers: 200 to 3,500
  • Instagram followers: 1,500 (account recently created)
  • LinkedIn members: 700 to 1,500
  • TikTok: account recently created
Student Achievement and Well-Being
A presentation was made on the 2018-2019 EQAO assessment results, along with the board and school response in addressing the student learning and well-being needs of our students from elementary to secondary. The full report, including charts and graphs, is located within the October 28, 2019 Board Meeting attachments.
Jean Vanier Catholic Elementary School and L’Arche Art Collaboration
Jean Vanier Catholic Elementary School has been working for a number of years on increasing their connection to the L'Arche community. An art piece, completed with Jean Vanier students and members of the L’Arche community, was shared with the Board of Trustees as well as other exciting partnerships Jean Vanier is working on with L'Arche, and King's Jean Vanier Centre for Disability Studies.