The House reconvened this week and begins a three-week legislative run. MPPs will have another constituency week break the week before Remembrance Day, then will sit for five consecutive weeks before adjourning for the winter holidays. Please see below for an update on recent items...
LAST CALL - Governance-related issues - Sector Engagement Discussion Guide
On September 19, 2017, a Discussion Guide was shared with all trustees. OPSBA will be connecting with both CODE, OSTA-AECO, as well as other school board/trustee associations to seek their key feedback points under relevant sections. OPSBA's Policy Development Work Team is taking the lead on the OPSBA submission and will receive all comments anonymously. Please send your comments directly to OPSBA's Director of Policy, Jennifer McIntyre, (email@example.com) by October 24, 2017.
The areas of discussion include:
OPSBA will be sharing an overview of our submission at upcoming regional meetings and send a final document to meet the ministry deadline of November 13, 2017.
Revisions to the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (PARG) / Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline (CPPG)
The Ministry of Education committed to revising the PARG and CPPG with the stated goal of creating a stronger, more collaborative process that better promotes student achievement and well-being and better recognizes the impact of school closures on rural communities. The ministry proposes to achieve this by considering changes in a number of areas. The first phase of the consultation will last from October 12 to December 6, 2017.
The first phase will be a high-level engagement related to the PARG/CPPG consultation components of the GSN Discussion guide that was circulated. OPSBA, along with the other three trustee associations and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), will be participating in a reference group, which will be engaged to provide advice on these matters.
However, engagement with the reference group and with school boards will carry through the intervening time between November and January, when Phase 2 will begin. The consultation for these guidelines is tied in with this year's consultation for the 2018-19 Grants for Student Needs. OPSBA is preparing a submission for this as well.
One Year Away – 2018 Municipal and School Board Elections
Next year's Municipal and School Board Elections will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018. Recent legislative amendments (Bill 181, Municipal Elections Modernization Act and Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario's Municipal Legislation Act) have resulted in changes to the election calendar. These include:
OPSBA will be coordinating a series of resources to support all candidates in the upcoming election.
Bill 148 – Fair Work Places, Better Jobs Act
On Wednesday, Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, passed second reading after debate. This labour legislation mandates an increase in the minimum wage, wage fairness between contract workers and full-time employees and rules on when employers can change employees' shift schedules.
Bill 152, Representation Statute Law Amendment Act
This Bill was reported back from committee on Tuesday. A time allocation motion requires the bill, which creates two new northern ridings, to pass third reading by the end of this week.
A new program of strategic planning supports for school boards has been developed. The Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC), of which OPSBA is a founding member, has updated resources to assist trustees, directors of education and senior board staff in building capacity with their strategic thinking and planning processes.
This new suite of resources is designed to be useful to boards no matter where they are in their strategic planning cycle – from building the plan to evaluating its success. Trustees are invited to take advantage of these new resources as they fulfil their commitment to setting the strategic direction for their school boards.
Trustee Professional Development ModuleNew for 2017: Module 6 - The Strategic Role and Multi-Year Strategic Planning - offers trustees and school board staff a primer on the subject of multi-year strategic planning and provides a consolidated overview of the planning process presented in the Ministry of Education's recently released guidebook.
Board Professional LearningOESC now offers in-person professional learning and advisory support that can be tailored to the multi-year strategic planning needs of individual school boards. The organization has assembled a roster of experienced facilitators to work with boards at any stage of the multi-year strategic planning process and provide facilitated learning sessions around the following strategic planning areas of focus:
Strategic Planning Video ClipsScroll through Module 6 to watch the program facilitators in action as they share their expertise in a series of short videos on key areas of strategic planning. Multi-Year Strategic Planning PortalVisit this resource where boards can go to upload documents associated with their strategic planning processes and view examples of effective practices happening across Ontario school boards.
For more information, please visit the OESC website or contact Kendra Devine at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of
Infratructure’s Community Hubs Secretariat has released its Two-Year Progress
Report on Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan.
here to read the report. The French version is available here.
MPPs are on a constituency week October 10 to 13 and will return to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on October 16, 2017.
On October 10, the Ministry of Education released its 2018-19 Education Funding Engagement Guide. This year's Guide focuses on:
As always, OPSBA will be preparing a response by consulting with trustees at upcoming regional meetings, as well as input from senior staff, the Policy Development Work Team, Indigenous Trustees Council and funding-related advocacy letters from member boards. OPSBA`s Director of Finance will be surveying Senior Business Officials within our member boards for their input as well. A brief of our submission will be brought to the December 1-2 OPSBA Board of Directors meeting.
Local Government Week takes place next week - October 15 to 21. OPSBA has updated its resources for trustees to use in their meetings with Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 10 Civics students. All trustees are encouraged to follow their board protocols in contacting local principals to arrange these classroom visits, which are designed to raise civic awareness and promote the role of trustees among Ontario students.
Final OPSBA resources, which can be adapted locally, were distributed to all members.
On September 19, 2017, the Discussion Guide was shared with all trustees.
The Ministry of Education has revised PPM 138 to allow more flexibility in delivering DPA throughout the instructional day. The main change is removing the requirement of 20 minutes of continuous activity and allowing for smaller allocations of activity throughout the day. This was discussed last year by the Healthy School Working Table (OPSBA is a member) where there was support to allow local classroom flexibility with a recommendation to encourage more student involvement in activity choices.
October 5 Memo from ADM Bruce Rodrigues
Letters have been sent to both Chairs and Directors of Education with information regarding the recent amendments made by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to Ontario Regulation 243/07 (Schools, Private Schools and Child Care Centres) for lead sampling, corrective action and flushing requirements. A fact sheet was also created for parents.
October 2 Ministry Memo re Safe Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Centres
October 2 Ministry Letter to Chairs re Notification Process for Water Sampling Results
Sheet for Parents re Safe Drinking Water in
Child Care Centres and Schools
TDSB trustees want marijuana sales kept away from schoolsAndrea Gordon, The Star, Oct. 19, 2017Trustees at the Toronto District School Board want a say on the location of shops that sell marijuana to make sure they’re “as far away from schools as possible.”More ...
Solution for school bus driver shortage so far eluding Hamilton boardsCarmela Fragomeni, Hamilton Spectator, Oct. 19, 2017School board officials are still trying to find a solution to the bus driver shortage causing continued late student pickups and drop-offs.More ...
OPSBA Media Release, Trustees head back to class for Local Government Week, Oct. 16, 2017
Long time Algoma District School Board Trustee and Chair wins prestigious awardSaultonline.com, Oct. 15, 2017The Algoma District School Board (ADSB) is proud to announce that former ADSB Trustee and Chair Wanda McQueen has been chosen by the Ontario Public School Board Association (OPSBA) as the 2017 recipient of the Bernardine Yackman Memorial Award. The Bernardine Yackman Memorial Award is awarded annually to an active or retired trustee of a member board of the Association for his or her outstanding contribution to education, with special recognition for Northern Ontario service.More ...
Give math strategy time: HunterBrian Kelly, Sault Star, Oct. 13, 2017Ontario's Renewed Math Strategy adds up to what will help students struggling to perform at the provincial standard, says Education Minister Mitzie Hunter.More ...
Peel Board wants province to cancel EQAO tests this yearAndrea Gordon, The Star, Oct. 11, 2017Trustees at Peel District School Board are asking the Ministry of Education to suspend EQAO tests for all students this year in the wake of its plans to review curriculum and how pupils are assessed.More ...
Ontario Helping People Break the Cycle of Poverty, Oct. 17, 2017
Ontario Creating Opioid Emergency Task Force, Oct. 4, 2017
Governance-related issues –
Sector Engagement Discussion Guide
On September 19, 2017, the Discussion Guide was shared with all trustees. The areas of discussion include:
Please note: OPSBA created a Code of Conduct Template in 2012 that was shared with all member boards. The template has been marked to be reviewed this year. Also, last year OPSBA conducted a survey regarding trustee honoraria and the findings from that will form the basis of any recommendation to revise the current regulation.
Local Government Week will be held October 15-21, 2017. OPSBA has updated its resources for trustees to use in their meetings with Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 10 Civics students. All trustees are encouraged to follow their board protocols in contacting local principals to arrange these classroom visits, which are designed to raise civic awareness and promote the role of trustees among Ontario students. Final resources were sent to all members yesterday and can be found on our website. Please note that the materials have been designed in a manner that allows local board information to be added.
September 21, 2017: Ontario Expanding Before- And After-School Care for Families
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) is asking communities, school board staff and schools across Ontario to wear purple on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, to speak up and share the message that child abuse and neglect can be prevented. Help is available.
OACAS has developed Dress Purple Day Classroom Resources to support key recommendations from the Inquests into the deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson. Inquest recommendations included the need to develop age appropriate curriculum for students about child abuse and neglect, to raise awareness about duty to report with school staff and the public, and to support collaborative projects between CASs and school boards. This year, Dress Purple Classroom Resources are directed at students in junior kindergarten to grade five classes, with the goal of expanding support to middle and high school grades next year.
OACAS has also created a comprehensive social media kit in support of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Hashtags include #SpeakUp4Kids and #IBREAKtheSilence.
Local Government Week aims to increase youth and public awareness about the important role local government plays in our communities. Please join OPSBA, our member trustees and our education partners in raising civic awareness and promoting the role of trustees among Ontario students. We're encouraging all trustees to follow their board protocols in contacting local principals to arrange classroom visits with Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 10 Civics students to discuss the important democratic role of a school board trustee. Please keep in mind that some students will have their Civics classes in semester 2 and you could book your time now for a visit in the next semester.
OPSBA has created resources to facilitate your classroom sessions, including a Word document and a short PowerPoint presentation. Common information includes:
Local Government Week Kit (Microsoft Word document)
Local Government Week Powerpoint Template
Both documents have been created in a manner that allows you to modify them for use in either a Grade 5 or 10 classroom and to add local board information.
Be inspired about what you do locally and how it impacts your students and community. Check out the following story that appeared in the Toronto Star (December 2014) that demonstrated the role of a school board trustee: Secret life of a trustee: Behind the scenes, school board reps are busy putting out fires
And don't forget the Public Service Announcements created for the 2014 Municipal and School Board Elections:
Connect with your board staff responsible for communications and governance as they may have additional documents, information and/or video to help with your presentation. Other useful resources include:
The Twitter hashtag for Local Government Week is #LGWOnt.
The OPSBA Board of Directors held a meeting on Sept. 22 and 23, 2017 in Toronto. A traditional territory acknowledgement was provided by Trustee Karen Sandy, the Indigenous Trustees’ Council’s Alternate Board of Director member.
Michael Coteau, the Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, joined the Board on the evening of Sept. 22 for a wide-ranging discussion on the government’s Education Equity Action Plan and Ontario’s children and youth services sector.
Education policy and program issues that were discussed at the meeting are summarized below.
Labour Relations A confidential report on developments in the labour relations sector was provided.
Executive Compensation Act and RegulationA confidential report on the ongoing development of a framework for executive compensation was given.
Employee Life and Health TrustsThe continuing coordination and development of provincial Employee Life and Health Trusts was discussed in a confidential report.
CopyrightA confidential update on copyright regulations and activities was provided.
Indigenous Trustees’ CouncilKaren Sandy gave an overview of the August 22 and 23 meeting of the Indigenous Trustees’ Council. Highlights included a meeting with Minister Mitzie Hunter, in which requests for three items were made:
The Council also participated in a Strategic Planning Session focusing on developing a strategic plan and reviewed materials from the Minister’s Advisory Council on FNMI Education and the Well-Being Subcommittee of the Minister’s Advisory Council on FNMI Education Working Group.
Communications and Media Relations Updates on recent OPSBA communications issues were provided:
Finance Updates were provided on the School Energy Coalition and the next steps with regards to the review of student transportation procurement. In response to the Auditor General’s recommendation that the Ministry of Education revisit the current student transportation funding formula, the ministry is proceeding with a 12-to-18-month multi-stakeholder engagement to solicit input and feedback to renew the vision of student transportation in Ontario. The Ministry’s Student Transportation Procurement Advisory Project Phase II will commence meetings within the next month.
Community HubsAn overview of the Ministry of Infrastructure’s Surplus Property Transition Initiative was given. This program is allowing community partners to submit proposal to create community hubs at surplus provincial, school board, or hospital properties. The deadline to apply is October 16, 2017.
Legislature and Government Relations An update on activities of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was provided. The Assembly reconvened for its fall session on Sept. 11, 2017.
Current Bills relevant to the education sector include: Bill 142, Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017, and Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. OPSBA is also monitoring and providing feedback on the Ontario government’s response to federal Bill C-45, Cannabis Act.
A Ministry of Education consultation focusing on five main governance-related themes has begun. Themes include: Access to Integrity Officers/Trustee Code of Conduct; Director of Education qualifications; Student Trustees; Trustee Honoraria; Electronic Meeting Participation. OPSBA is actively involved in this consultation with its members.
New legislation this fall will create two new Northern Ontario ridings ahead of the next election, in response to the final report from the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission. The new ridings, Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk, will represent large Indigenous and Francophone populations. Fifteen new ridings were legislated last year, bringing the total of ridings in the June 2018 election up to 124, from the current 107.
This year, Local Government Week takes place from October 15 to 21. OPSBA is reviewing and updating its resources for trustees to use in their presentations to Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 10 Civics students. Updated resources will be posted on the OPSBA website by early October.
Program Policy UpdateA summary of Ministry meetings, workgroups and program-related announcements was provided. Information shared included the following:
Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 159: Collaborative ProfessionalismThe Collaborative Professionalism subcommittee of the Ministry Initiative committee had a number of meetings over the summer months with a purpose of designing regional full-day sessions across the province to reinforce and begin to build greater awareness of PPM 159.
Education Equity Action PlanThe Ministry of Education released its Education Equity Action Plan on Sept. 7, 2017. The action plan is extensive and covers the following aspects of the system: School and Classroom Practices; Leadership, Governance and Human Resource Practices; Data Collection, Integration and Reporting; and Organizational Culture Change. OPSBA will be preparing a response to the plan.
FSL-Labour Market Partnership ProjectOPSBA is leading a labour market partnership project for English and Catholic public school boards entitled Meeting Labour Market Needs for French as a Second Language Instruction in Ontario. This is a three-year initiative with an ultimate goal of creating workable solutions to the growing demand for qualified French teachers and support staff.
Supporting Students with Prevalent Medical ConditionsThere were several meetings over the summer months regarding students with prevalent medical conditions. The Ministry of Education is determined to release a PPM on this topic to provide guidance to school boards in supporting students with conditions such as anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy. Feedback has been provided to the Ministry by all education partners and next steps are pending.
Staff Well-Being The Ministry has established a staff well-being advisory committee comprising representatives from all school board leadership organizations, federations and unions.
Partnership with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS)October 24, 2017, is Dress Purple Day and October is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year there is a focus on awareness around neglect, which is one of the most common child protection issues. Resources can be accessed on the OACAS website. 2018 Summit on Children and Youth Mental HealthPlans are well underway for the 2018 Summit in April and registration is now open. School boards are encouraged to send their teams of staff and include key community partners in networking opportunities following the event. Sessions will focus on working across tiered systems of support for promotion, prevention and intervention. EQAO and Assessment In 2016-17 OPSBA distributed a discussion document with recommendations for EQAO and large-scale assessments. OPSBA staff have met with Ministry and Minister’s Office staff to discuss recommendations and reinforce the key request – that the Minister facilitate and engage in a dialogue with education partners on the recommendations in the OPSBA discussion paper. OPSBA was pleased to see the Ministry announcement regarding an EQAO review – details have not yet been released.
Curriculum Review and ReportingAn update was provided on the announcement that the Ministry would be updating the K-12 curriculum with the goal of improving student achievement in core skills such as math and increasing emphasis on transferable life skills. The public consultation will be conducted by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Minister of Education’s six education advisors, led by Dr. Carol Campbell.
OPSBA PrioritiesA report on OPSBA’s 2017-18 Priorities Action Plan was provided, including an overview of strategy-focused discussions held at the August Executive Council Planning Session.
Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE)Board of Director member Cheryl Lovell, OPSBA representative to MACSE, gave an update on recent developments following the last MACSE meeting on June 7, 2017.