Friday, Dec. 10, 2021
Board Highlights for December meeting
The following are the highlights of the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) meeting of Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.
Chair, Vice-Chair acclaimed at organizational meeting
At the annual organizational meeting of NNDSB, Trustees Jay Aspin and John Cochrane were acclaimed as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board.
The pair has been at the helm of this Board since its inaugural meeting in 2018, and their experience has helped the board navigate some difficult terrain. With their leadership, the Board has appointed Craig Myles as Director of Education in 2020, guided the Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) process and helped improve transparency through governance and reporting processes.
This is the final year of this Board’s mandate; the municipal election will be held Oct. 24, 2022.
Director recognizes staff
As part of his update to the Board, Myles acknowledged staff for the contribution to NNDSB in seeking excellence in innovation in the areas of student programming and leadership.
Under the leadership of Officer of Corporate Affairs Liana Blaskievich and Acting Principal of Student Success and Specialized Programs Lucio Pavone, the team of Sarah Spence, Alysha Young, Lisa Spencer, Stacie Burnie, Josh Casey, Roy Desjardins and Deb Bartlett have been instrumental in bringing the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program together. It is the intention of NNDSB to train PSWs in living classrooms in Parry Sound, Sturgeon Falls, North Bay and Mattawa.
Chippewa Secondary School teacher Greg Richardson has been chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ (OFSAA) Leadership Award. He was acknowledged during the OFSAA AA Boys’ Volleyball tournament for his achievements over a 27-year-career.
Director presents annual report
Myles presented the Director’s Annual Report at the Board meeting, highlighting the work done by staff and the Board.
Myles said he was “happy and proud” to release the report, in which was woven references to the board’s MYSP and its four pillars: Excellence in Teaching and Learning; Excellence in Innovation; Excellence in Relationships; and Excellence in Communications.
The report also highlighted the governance improvements made by the Board, including the new governance manual, a new finance manual and the streamlined budget reporting process.
Board Chair Jay Aspin complimented Myles, noting that the document was “a top-notch report” in a difficult year.
The Director’s Annual Report can be found here.
Online meetings reduce Trustee expenditures
Trustee expenditures for the year ending Aug. 31, 2021 were shared in the agenda package.
Because COVID-19 measures caused the cancellation of in-person meetings, travel-related expenses reduced trustees’ annual expenditures. The total for the Board (including honoraria, benefits, professional development, auto reimbursement, cell phone, office and professional fees) was $84,956.41.
Chair Aspin noted that “as a group, we have really saved a lot of money.” He said pre-COVID the total was usually $120,000 or $125,000, referring to the savings as “a silver lining” of the pandemic.
Trustee Louise Sargent added that online meetings also meant that trustees “didn’t have to pick and choose” and had more opportunities to attend more professional development and learning sessions.
Chair outlines six key Board priorities
In his address to the Board, Chair Aspin outlined six challenges for the Board to tackle in this last year of its mandate.
Calling them “broad brush priorities,” Chair Aspin said providing quality education and keeping staff and students safe and healthy in the face of COVID-19 was a focus, as are overseeing the implementation of the MYSP, completing new school builds in North Bay (Fricker) and Parry Sound (JK-12), supporting improvement in human resource allocation, continued expansion of community partnerships and communications and to advance the North Bay facilities study.
Board approves draft audited statements
Trustees approved the draft audited consolidated statements for the year ending Aug. 31, 2021.
Vice-Chair Cochrane, who chairs the audit committee, said the committee had “a nice, clean report” from auditors KPMG and praised the work of Superintendent of Business Seija Van Haesendonck and Manager of Finance Wende Proulx.
Student Trustee reports on school activities
Student Trustee Cecilia Darling’s report covered work taking place through the Ontario Student Trustee Association (OSTA), as well as activities in local schools.
Of note in her report, OSTA’s Environmental Sustainability Working group is working towards developing an environmental sustainability handbook to act as a guide for students and schools across the province. The guide will outline how communities can work towards developing more environmental consciousness. She added that NNDSB’s Senate team is looking at environmental sustainability to ensuring recycling is done safely and efficiently.
Student Trustee Darling noted two NNDSB schools participated in Ontario Federation of Secondary Athletics Association (OFSAA) championships, including Chippewa’s Boys AA Volleyball team (which hosted and won the championship) and Almaguin Highlands’ Girls A Basketball team attended OFSAA in Smithville.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Deb Bartlett (she/her)
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170 ext. 5010