Friday, Feb. 18, 2022
Board Highlights for February meeting
The following are the highlights of the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) meeting of Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
Final version of Administrative Guideline presented
Following the public consultation, trustees were presented with the final version of the board’s Supporting Students with Prevalent Medical Conditions Administrative Guideline. This administrative guideline consolidates three others: administration of medication, anaphylaxis and epilepsy seizure disorder management.
The new guideline contains detailed and specific information on anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy. Each condition has its own section that includes information on definitions, terminology, education, training, response and resources, special considerations and a plan of care.
Board supports establishing NNDSB Foundation
The Board received a report following the annual general meeting of the board’s charitable arm, NNDSB Charity Works.
An update was shared to note NNDSB Charity Works will be exploring the establishment of a foundation to complement the work of the charity in support of NNDSB’s commitments in Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) to the pillar of Excellence in Relationships.
Currently the charity provides scholarships and bursaries for academic achievement and helped with school supplies and breakfast programs. Board Chair Jay Aspin has requested the investigation of a NNDSB Foundation to enhance this work and expand
the Board’s ability to fundraise and expand the ability to support its schools. Several school boards in Ontario have foundations, which receive donations from local business, grants, community organizations and citizens. The funds are used to support a variety of programs and initiatives.
Trustees passed a resolution at the Board meeting to express their support for this approach and Chair Aspin said he was “very excited” about the potential a foundation could bring to NNDSB.
Chair expresses confidence in COVID-19 management
Trustees were presented with a fulsome report by SO Tim Graves, the board’s COVID-19 lead, that detailed the processes and plans that have assisted the board in managing the pandemic.
The report includes information about new screening tools (one for school and childcare, one for absence reporting), the status of access and distribution to personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, the supply of rapid antigen tests to daycares, students and staff, the status of athletics and extracurricular activities at schools and the youth vaccine clinics that the health unit is holding.
Director updates on staff absences, PSW program
Current health guidance states that when someone is experiencing two or more COVID-19 symptoms, they are presumed to be positive and they, and all members of the household should self-isolate. Director of Education Craig Myles said that is causing NNDSB to experience significant absences that are difficult to fill. The staff absences are not unique to NNDSB; boards across the province are experiencing similar difficulties.
Director Myles also updated trustees about the personal support worker (PSW) program that the board is launching district wide. He thanked media partners who shared news of the initiative and helped create awareness of the program. There are 18 students in North Bay and 12 in Parry Sound ready to start at the end of the month, with a waitlist for a September class.
Trustee Steer shares report from OPSBA
Trustee Bill Steer, NNDSB’s delegate to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), gave a brief recap of work that the organization is doing in its advocacy of public education.
His report included a suggestion that stronger language be used in reference to reconciliation, and that OPSBA needed to prioritize equity and anti-racism as a whole. He also noted that equity geography; that what works in Toronto does not necessarily fit in the North or other areas with different demographics.
He also shared news of a Student Trustee Handbook created by OPSBA and the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association.Later in the Board meeting trustees carried a motion to bring forward a recommendation to OPSBA to continue with virtual meetings as it transitions out of pandemic in an effort to reduce environmental/carbon footprint. During Committee of the Whole, trustees noted how virtual meetings encourage broader participation and create expanded opportunities for input, together with the positive effects on the environment.
MYSP committee update
Some changes to the MYSP committee’s terms of reference were approved at the Board meeting. The changes include expanded membership to include the Officer of Corporate Affairs, and the clarification of additional duties related to the development and monitoring of appropriate metrics.
There was also a report, introduced by Committee Chair Steer, and provided by Director Myles, to update the Board about the MYSP. Committee Chair Steer noted that the work of the committee has evolved from the design and creation of a visionary plan and its corresponding goals to the work of bringing the vision to reality.
Included in the report was a graphic depicting the steps in the evolution of culture change at NNDSB. The steps include empowering employees and stakeholders to lead and embrace change, and the MYSP incorporating new and better changes. Director Myles noted how organizational change experts caution that large-scale culture change could take five to10 years. Director Myles acknowledged that many people may be experiencing discomfort in the change, and change agents will have to honour where people are to help bridge the space between where the board is and where it wants to be.
Next steps for the committee include establishing metrics that will focus on the measurement of MYSP success. This involves establishing baseline data, determining the time and learning required for the change (the work) and how to evaluate progress against the baseline data, which is the measurement of achieving the MYSP priorities. The next MYSP committee meeting will tackle the development of qualitative and quantitative base metrics.
March Board meeting date changed
Because the regularly scheduled March 2022 Board meeting fell in the March Break, the Board approved moving the March meeting to Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
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