Eastern Region Hosts OPSBA’s 28th AGM and Program


The trustees of OPSBA’s Eastern Region welcomed trustees and Directors of Education to Ottawa for OPSBA’s 28th AGM and Program. An opening greeting by First Nation Director Peter Garrow acknowledged that the meeting was being held on traditional territories which include the Mohawks of Akwesasne who represent the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and the Algonquin Nation who share the resources of this territory. He also recognized the enduring presence of the First Peoples on this land. A traditional smudge was offered by First Nation Trustee Howard Archibald.

At this annual event, OPSBA members confirm priorities and directions for the coming year, elect officers and plan for the future. A comprehensive professional development program is also offered. The 2016 program featured dynamic and inspiring speakers and a range of workshops that focused on key issues in education in Ontario today.

View photos from the 2016 AGM on Flickr

David Usher

The opening keynote speaker was the accomplished David Usher, solo artist and lead singer for the rock band Moist, who has won countless awards and sold out venues all over the world. He believes that creativity is a learnable skill that anyone can master and shared his fascinating formula to stimulating creativity through a mix of music, video and experimentation. David was joined by guitarist Jonathan Gallivan.

Sandra Herbst

Saturday’s keynote speaker was the engaging and energetic Sandra Herbst, the CEO of connect2learning and a former superintendent and Past President of the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents. Her presentation, System Alignment for Deep Learning, engaged attendees in thinking about the power of also using assessment as a leadership tool for adult, school and system learning.

10-Minute Sessions

Back by popular demand, and bumped up to 10 minutes from the previous five, the following 14 sessions allowed participants to see “in a nutshell” presentations by OPSBA member boards on a diverse range of topics.

On Friday:

  • Camp Wonder Summer Learning Program, Greater Essex County DSB – The Camp Wonder experience includes improved achievement in the area of literacy and numeracy, the minimization of summer learning loss, the reinforcement of academics, positive social interactions and healthy lifestyles.
  • Enrichment and Innovation Centre Program, Hamilton-Wentworth DSB – This Centre is considered a “Maker Space Community” with a strong focus on STEM principles, problem based learning, design thinking and arts education, each with an overriding theme of social justice and environmental education.
  • International Certificate Program (ICP), Ottawa-Carleton DSB – The ICP is an equitable and accessible program meant to formally recognize students who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of global citizenship and intercultural awareness.
  • Advancing Student Engagement and Reducing Absenteeism with 1:1 iPads in Grades 7 to 10, DSB Ontario North East – This project, now in its second year, has shown student improvement in engagement, improved attendance, and improved achievement.
  • Junior Coding to Improve Computational Thinking Skills, Trillium Lakelands DSB – Most students are proficient at using programs on computers, but they usually do not understand how the computer is executing the commands. Trillium Lakelands DSB is changing this.
  • Public Awareness Campaign – Fund the Need, Durham DSB – An overview of a public awareness campaign that addresses the challenge of the number of special needs students and the increasing complexity of their needs. Funding is not keeping up with the increased need and growing demand.
  • SSNet, York Region DSB – SSNet is a unique web-based tool designed to support the program planning process for students, providing staff members with access, from any device, to student information so they can best meet their individual learning needs.

On Saturday:

  • Harriet Tubman Public School and Partnership with the City of St. Catharines, DSB of Niagara – The DSBN and City of St. Catharines created a unique partnership during the building of this state-of-the-art school. This presentation highlighted that cooperation.
  • Successful Integration of Newcomer Families, Toronto DSB – Using a multi-disciplinary approach, the board cultivated a community that intentionally increased skills useful for integration through culturally relevant resources and pedagogies.
  • Encouraging Voice – Native Student Leadership, Upper Canada DSB – This program is an integral part of the board’s committing to an indigenous self-identification strategy, instilling pride and student well-being. It has grown to include more than 100 youth in grades 9-12.
  • From the Grassroots: teacher innovation projects, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB – The board directly sought out teachers or groups of teachers with ideas that would provide opportunities supported by technology for students and teachers to be innovative, creative and imaginative.
  • Theatre Outreach on Stage, Near North DSB – Now in its 30th year, this program gives grade 7-12 students the opportunity to earn a summer arts credit by participating in a full two-act musical theatre production.
  • Futures Forum Initiative: An Open-Minded Approach to Applying Non-traditional Solutions to Traditional Problems, Waterloo Region DSB – This project is an integrated approach to Inquiry and Project-Based Learning for Grade 10 Academic/Applied English, Civics and Careers courses. Students collaborate with classmates and peers from other schools online through various projects.
  • Message Maps: How we “stay on message” in TLDSB, Trillium Lakelands DSB – Message maps are provided to the spokesperson as well as trustees and system leaders in TLDSB whenever there is an issue of high concern, high stress or high anxiety.

Workshops and Discussion Groups

Offering in-depth and interactive workshops, expert speakers addressed issues such as school closures, code of conduct, municipal elections and in-camera meetings, special education, school board communications, municipal partnerships, programs for children and youth in care, audit committees and mental health.

A special thank you to all presenters and OPSBA member boards for sharing their special expertise on behalf of students!

OPSBA Awards

Recipients of OPSBA’s Awards were announced at Saturday’s Past Presidents’ Lunch. We congratulate the following winners for their hard work and dedication to our students!

Dr. Harry Paikin Memorial Award

This Award is given to an active or retired public school trustee for outstanding service as a public school trustee.

This year’s recipient is Roy Wilfong, former trustee, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB (KPRDSB). From SS #5 in Smith Township when trustees assisted with loading wood into the school for the winter to blended learning classrooms, Wilfong served as a school trustee for 60 years (1956-2016).

Since the KPRDSB’s inception in 1998, his principled character helped shape the creation of more than 100 policies that define the provision of education in the board. In 2002, he was a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, given to Canadian citizens who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, community and country.

Award of Merit in Memory of Jack A. MacDonald

The recipient of this student award is selected on the basis of a sound academic record throughout their career, accompanied by outstanding community service and leadership.

This year’s Award of Merit was presented to Zachary Misener, Stratford Secondary School, Avon Maitland DSB. Zach is finishing up his Grade 12 year at Stratford Central Secondary School (SCSS). He has been active on SCSS school council for four years, a member of the Minister’s Student Advisory Council, a PC Leader for Student Provincial Parliament and Regional Council member of the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association. He is in his second year as a student trustee and has been a valuable contributor and leader to the board’s Student Advisory Committee.

OPSBA Award of Excellence and Achievement Award

This Award is presented by the local board to volunteers for outstanding, exemplary and/or unique contributions to the overall well-being of the school or community through in-school, board-wide, extra-curricular and/or volunteer activity.

This year’s Award of Excellence was presented to Felicia Waboose, Elder, Lakehead DSB. The Achievement Award was presented to Laura Shannon, Lyndy Stajkowski and Felicia Waboose of Lakehead DSB.

Waboose is a co-founder of the non-profit group Equay-Wuk (Women’s Group). Since her move from Sioux Lookout to Thunder Bay in the mid-2000s, Waboose has spent much time visiting elementary and secondary schools. She acts as Elder on many board initiatives and has given invaluable guidance and support for the Board’s FNMI Collaborative Inquiry project, in addition to her involvement as a Provincial Elder for the Ministry of Education.

Shannon, the breakfast club supervisor at Algonquin Avenue PS, goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure students are provided with a nutritionally balanced meal each and every day. Shannon’s love of children and her caring nature are evident to kids and adults alike in the school, and it’s said that almost nothing can keep her from providing breakfast to more than 25% of the school’s students, even a brutal Thunder Bay blizzard.

Stajkowski, Chair of the School Community Association at Valley Central School, has been a strong contributing force towards fundraising efforts and was an integral part of a team instrumental in acquiring a lottery license to increase opportunities. An approachable, tireless and encouraging volunteer, she is described as being a pleasure to work with.

OPSBA’s 2016 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for member school boards to provide direction for the future work of the organization and to elect officers and members of the Association’s Work Teams. At this meeting, the Membership reviewed the 2015-2016 OPSBA Annual Report and confirmed OPSBA’s priorities for 2016-17, which continue to be part of a multi-year work plan.

OPSBA Priorities for 2016-2017

The priorities were reaffirmed through a process which invited input from all trustee members, from boards, from regional councils and from First Nation trustees this past spring. With the addition of a new priority, Advancing Reconciliation: First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education, and new areas of emphasis, these were approved by Board of Directors at their April meeting and forwarded to the AGM for confirmation by OPSBA’s membership.

The six priority areas are:

  • The Whole Child and Student Well-Being
  • New Generation Education
  • Advocating for the Role of Trustees as Members of the Board and Building Leadership Capacity
  • Labour Relations
  • Education Funding
  • Advancing Reconciliation: First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education

The Executive Council will hold a planning meeting in August and develop action plans for each priority area for the year ahead.

OPSBA’s Executive Council and Work Groups

Congratulations to the following members of OPSBA’s Executive Council and Work Groups for the 2016-17 school year.

Executive Council

President – Laurie French, Limestone DSB
Past President – Michael Barrett, Durham DSB
First Vice-President – Jerry Chadwick, Toronto DSB
Second Vice-President – Cathy Abraham, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
Central East Region Vice-President – Donna Edwards, Durham DSB
Central West Region Vice-President – Donna Danielli, Halton DSB
Eastern Region Vice-President – Dave Shields, Renfrew County DSB
Northern Region Vice-President – Gerald Kleist, Keewatin-Patricia DSB
Western Region Vice-President – Doug Pratley, Avon Maitland DSB
Enrolment Vice-President – Shelley Laskin, Toronto DSB
Enrolment Vice-President – Rick Williams, Peel DSB

First Nation Director to OPSBA Board of Directors

Peter Garrow, Upper Canada DSB
Karen Sandy, Grand Erie DSB (Alternate)

Education Program Work Group Members

Central East Region – Patrice Barnes, Durham DSB
– Loralea Carruthers, York Region DSB
Central West Region – Marty Fairbairn, Upper Grand DSB
– Kathi Smith, Waterloo Region DSB
Eastern Region – Marjorie Adam, Renfrew County DSB
– Caroll Carkner, Upper Canada DSB
First Nations – Mary Lynch-Taylor, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
Northern Sub-Region East Region  – Tom Henderson, DSB Ontario North East
Northern Sub-Region West Region – Trudy Tuchenhagen, Lakehead DSB
Western Region – Judy Cairncross, Avon Maitland DSB
– Jan Johnstone, Bluewater DSB

Policy Development Work Group Members

Central East Region – Donna Edwards, Durham DSB
– Shelley Laskin, Toronto DSB
Central West Region – Jeanne Gray, Halton DSB
– David Green, Peel DSB
Eastern Region – Mary Hall, Hastings and Prince Edward DSB
– John McAllister, Upper Canada DSB
First Nations – Howard Archibald, DSB Ontario North East
Northern Sub-Region East Region – Sheryl Evans-Price, Algoma DSB
Northern Sub-Region West Region – George Saarinen, Lakehead DSB
Western Region – Arlene Morell, Thames Valley DSB
– Cheryl Lovell, Greater Essex County DSB

Tell Us How We Did!

Attendees are invited to complete our online evaluation form which will be e-mailed to you electronically through the online registration system. We hope you will take a few minutes to give us your feedback and advice. Your information provides us with valuable input as we plan for future conferences. The 2017 AGM and Program will be held in Blue Mountain. Please contact us at any time through webmaster@opsba.org with ideas and suggestions for conference content or format. Send us your ideas – we can’t do it without you!