Friday, Dec. 15, 2023
The following are the highlights of the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) meeting of Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.
Director shines spotlight on staff PD
In his report to the Board, Director of Education Craig Myles expressed his gratitude to people around the Board table and NNDSB staff for their work in the first part of the school year. He expressed his wishes for all to have a safe and happy holiday.
His report also explained some of the professional activities that educators participated in during their Nov. 24 PA day. Among the topics covered were a full-day workshop on de-streamed classes for Grade 9 educators, a Mining Matters workshop that included a tour of Redpath Mining to explore careers and training in the trades, an experiential learning event for guidance counsellors and intermediate teachers and a virtual workshop that engaged participants with resources that are authentic and respectful to Indigenous Peoples.
Chair congratulates committees on work
In her report to the Board, Chair Erika Lougheed thanked trustees for their on-going leadership and participation on committees. She noted that many committees have held their first meetings and have elected chairs, and will be reviewing committee terms of reference.
Lougheed also thanked staff for “making so many beautiful memories” for students. She said the activities that students are participating in are important for them and their families.
Projections indicate increased attendance next year
A report to the Board of Trustees showed that student enrolment at NNDSB has increased to a level not seen since the 2015-2016 school year.
As of Oct. 31, 2023, the board’s enrolment was 10,155 students, an increase of 145 students since October 2022, and showing that enrolment has rebounded since the low point of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021.
Preliminary projections for the 2024-2025 school year are a total of 10,238 students.
Current enrolments are 7,017 students in the elementary panel and 3,138 in secondary.
Trustees approve draft auditor’s report
Trustee Shane Hall, who chairs the audit committee, reported on the draft audited consolidated financial statements, audited by KPMG, which outline the board’s financial position as Aug. 31, 2023.
NNDSB ended up with a surplus of just over $1.5 million, more than budgeted. This was because revenue was higher and expenses lower than budgeted for 2023.
The Board approved a recommendation from the audit committee to accept the draft audited consolidated financial statements.
Finance Committee’s terms of reference modified
Trustees approved changes to the finance committee’s terms of reference. The changes include modifying the number of trustees from five to no less than two and no more than four trustees.
The committee will meet at least quarterly, but will schedule additional meetings as needed, and provide regular reports to the Board.
Student trustees update Board on school activities
Both of the student trustees presented reports to the Board.
Indigenous Student Trustee Albany Benson reported on the numerous activities taking place at each of the secondary schools. Students at Chippewa continue to hold beading workshops, are making ribbon skirts and shirts and hosted a social at lunch. Northern is also holding beading workshops, are making ribbon skirts and
shirts, celebrated Rock Your Mocs, and sent out cards to veterans on Remembrance Day. Students of F.J. McElligott attended the Indigenous Youth Circle (IYC) for the first time in November. They reported that they have had workshops, a speaker and a college fair program for Indigenous students. West Ferris runs weekly women’s drumming lessons, and are working on getting merchandise for the Indigenous centre. They want men’s drumming lessons at times that are more available to students. Parry Sound High School notes they have too many drummers and are planning to get drums for junior and senior students. Some Indigenous students began attending hunt camps within their communities and students are having Thursday lunches with First Nations communities. They are also fundraising for their upcoming powwow. The IYC is hoping that members will be able to visit elementary schools to show Indigenous representation and inspire youth to be leaders. IYC is hoping to host a round dance to be a potential learning opportunity. Indigenous Student Trustee Benson also reported that she would like IYC members to collected funds, toys, gifts, clothes and more to be sent to families in Northern remote communities in time for Christmas.
Student Trustee Dora Chen reported that students are busy with athletics programs across the board, including men’s volleyball teams from Chippewa and Almaguin Highlands who attended OFSSA. Student Trustee Chen reports that secondary schools have increased their outreach to feeder schools, with senior students acting as ambassadors. Students also participated in Noah Strong Day on Nov. 15. Anti-bullying and prevention week was marked with students wearing pink and sharing photos on the Student Senate Instagram account. Student Senators discussed a new well-being and mental health initiative, and discussed the creation of a monthly newsletter to be send to students across the board, focusing on well-being. Chen
also reported that the Career Pathway Education Initiative planned by Student Senate has begun. Chippewa Secondary School hosted a fair for students in Grades 10-12 to learn about post-secondary and career opportunities. West Ferris Secondary School had a resume-building workshop with students in collaboration with YES employment.
Trustees rescind renaming motion
Trustees voted to rescind the December 2022 motion in which the Board approved the renaming process at Chippewa Secondary School.
Trustee Louise Sargent filed the notice of motion in which she wanted the December 2022 decision pulled back. In explaining why she brought the motion forward, Trustee Sargent explained that “in order to have the discussions…we need to rescind the December 2022 motion.”
The motion, requiring the support of two-thirds of the Board, passed.
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.