Friday, May 12, 2023
The following are the highlights of the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) meeting of Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
Literacy team acknowledged for provincial award
Kara Macie, an NNDSB speech pathologist and member of the literacy team, was acknowledged at the Board meeting after being chosen as one of six educators across the province to receive a 2023 Literacy Leader of the Year Award from the International Dyslexia Association of Ontario.
The Board wanted to shine a light on the work of Macie and her colleagues. Their work has a focus on literacy through the lens of equity. Macie was recognized not only for her evidence-based practices but also for her willingness to share what she has learned with colleagues throughout Ontario.
Macie believes that the work of educators is not complete until every child can read. To that end, her dedication to supporting NNDSB in adopting structured literacy practices placed the board in a position where educators were aligned with recommendations from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read report well before it was released last year.
Board Chair Erika Lougheed praised Macie’s “exemplary endeavours” and Director of Education Craig Myles noted the difference that can be made when learning is “sparked by inspirational staff.”
In personal remarks to Macie, several trustees shared heartfelt stories of how they or their family members were affected by her work.
Learn more in this media release.
Board adopts new student dress guideline
An updated administrative guideline that covers student dress was presented to the Board in a report from Superintendent Gay Smylie. The report notes that the board must ensure that administrative guidelines reflect and support grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), in order to decrease discrimination and promote inclusivity.
A working group investigated the issue and found that many school boards in Ontario have already moved to a more inclusive and equitable dress policy. The new Student Dress Administrative Guideline advises why dress codes can be detrimental to specific groups and inequitably applied to specific OHRC rights.
The draft guideline was posted from Feb. 14 to March 15, 2023 for public consultation.
The Safe Schools Team will provide training for principals and staff on how to communicate student dress expectations related to specific health and safety
standards for participation in specific courses. The training will also include discussions about what is acceptable and how to address instances of inappropriate dress respectfully.
The new administrative guideline is now on the website.
Trustees updated on NNDSB’s tutoring supports
Superintendent Melanie Gray provided a report in the Board package to update trustees on how NNDSB managed the resources provided by the Ministry of Education for its Plan to Catch Up. Initially, the program was to wrap up on March 31, 2023, but the ministry recently extended the program to the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
More than 60 educators were hired by the board to facilitate before and after-school tutoring programs that focused on literacy, mathematics and foundational learning skills. Tutors took part in two professional learning sessions and attended weekly learning summaries to support project planning and monitoring. School teams identified a tutoring focus in response to student need or interest, and smaller groups and 1:1 tutoring was available. Sessions took place either in person or virtually.
Parent/guardian feedback to a survey about a corrective reading tutoring program shows that a large majority of respondents believed their child enjoyed the tutoring program, their child is more confident as a learner since the tutoring program and that their child has been more successful in their learning as a result of the program.
Staff are exploring avenues to expand tutoring programs and partnerships to enhance services for students.
A final report on the tutoring program will be submitted to the Board at the conclusion of the program.
Director’s report includes MYSP update
Director Myles’ report included data to show positive movement in the area of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, one of the four priority areas of the multi-year strategic plan (MYSP). He highlighted three new digital math tools that are available to students. They align with the provincial curriculum and provide adaptive, differentiated and responsive learning opportunities to students.
Myles also spoke about the board’s Indigenous Education Action Plan. Highlights in the work of the Indigenous education team include supporting the Indigenous Youth Circle (IYC) to develop a draft term of conditions and selection of the Indigenous Student Trustee, the partnership which will bring three learning powwows to
Northern, Chippewa and West Ferris Secondary Schools and working on collaborative grant proposals with Dokis and Moose Deer Point First Nations.
He also reminded trustees of the equity, diversity and inclusion event that is taking place at Alliance Public School on Wednesday, May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. Everyone is invited to the event, which will feature breakout room speakers from the Ontario Principals’ Council, OutLoud North Bay, Métis Nation of Ontario, the North Bay Multicultural Centre and NNDSB.
New student trustees announced
As part of their report to the Board, the student trustees announced the names of their successors.
Both Student Trustee Cecilia Darling and Indigenous Student Trustee Allen Lewis Trodd have completed two terms with the Board, and their current term ends Aug. 31. They announced that next school year, Dora Chen and Albany Benson will be at the Board table as the Student Trustee and Indigenous Student Trustee.
Darling also reported that the secondary schools have been holding several events, including acknowledging Asian Heritage Month in May, and May 5 as Red Dress Day recognizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit. Darling also noted a variety of extra-curricular and sports events that are taking place.
Trodd noted it was a busy time, with a powwow for tiny tots, planning powwows to bring youth together, the rebuilding of the learning lodge at Parry Sound High School and an Indigenous Youth Circle retreat.
Director Myles thanked both student trustees for their contribution to the Board, and their mentorship in getting the next student trustees ready for their work.
Note: the full agenda package is posted on the website prior to meetings, and official minutes are posted after they are approved at the next Board meeting.