Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021
Board Highlights for October Meeting
The following are the highlights of the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.
Elder Beaucage opens meeting with prayer
Elder Peter Beaucage, a retired Canadore College professor, was invited to open the Board meeting with a prayer. Elder Beaucage spoke in the Nipissing dialect of Anishinaabemowin, then interpreted his words.
He requested that the Great Spirit give participants in the meeting positive guidance to do their work in a positive way.
Zone 2 Trustee Gagne sworn in
Caren Gagne, appointed as the Zone 2 Trustee, was sworn in at the Oct. 12 meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Trustee Gagne, a resident of Zone 2, was a business owner for 40 years and has an extensive history of volunteerism in her community.
Province to provide menstrual product access
Last year, former Student Trustee Madelaine Paradis brought the issue of access to menstrual products to the Board. The initiative was part of a provincial campaign of the Ontario Student Trustee Association. The intent is to reduce “period poverty” which occurs when women cannot afford or lack access to menstrual products.
The initiative, which has been supported by school boards across Ontario, is also supported by all four of Ontario’s main teacher unions.
On Oct. 7, the provincial government announced a partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart to donate menstrual products to access in school washrooms to school boards across the province.
NNDSB Director of Education Craig Myles and Board Chair Jay Aspin complimented former Student Trustee Paradis and current Student Trustee Cecelia Darling on their work on this initiative.
Fricker tender awarded to local company
The Board accepted the recommendation of the Fricker Build Committee and awarded the tender for the new Fricker build to Venasse Building Group Inc. of North Bay. The group’s bid was $17,580,000.
Tenders were evaluated using the Broader Public Sector procurement guidelines.
The Board is excited for the consolidation of three schools that will enhance elementary education in this section of North Bay and ensure that students experience the modern features of a contemporary elementary school.
The school will accommodate students in Grades JK to 6, a four-room childcare centre and an EarlyON Child and Family Centre.
Summer program supports elementary students
Trustees received a report from the program team, under the leadership of Superintendent Melanie Gray, about the 2021 Summer Learning Program for students in Grades 1-8. The program was held virtually from July 5-23 with three hours of teacher-led instruction daily.
The programming is designed to help students acquire math and literacy knowledge and skills. This summer, programming was also designed to prepare intermediate students for success as they enter the secondary panel and the new de-streamed Grade 9 math curriculum.
The summer program had three camps whose staff was made up of teachers, educational assistants and child development counsellors.
Several community partners also contributed to student engagement, including Perry McLeod-Shabogesic who shared Indigenous stories, Science North which delivered online workshops and presentations, an NNDSB all-female innovator team, a Métis perspective on the innovation of fire building and staff from Canadore College who helped with several presentations and pre-recorded sessions.
The report adds that the summer learning program helps students’ learning trajectories while promoting positive parent-school relationships, professional development and leadership opportunities for all educators.
Partnership with C3P outlined
A report from Superintendent Gay Smylie outlined how a partnership with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is training educators about sex trafficking and helping to implement prevention strategies. The partnership is a result of the requirement that all Ontario school boards establish and follow a protocol for the response to suspected sex trafficking occurrences
Through C3P, staff will receive training to identify the signs of sex-trafficking, respond to disclosures, be responsive to diverse student populations and support the immediate physical and emotional safety needs of students. Staff will also learn how to avoid certain actions that could make an individual’s situation worse.
A 2.5-hour certificate level training called Commit to Kids: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training will empower all adults who work with children and youth to become protective adults. NNDSB will also be provided with guidance, resources and templates from C3P to support the creation of child protection policies.
Staff were given an overview of C3P resources as well as information about the government initiative. Superintendent Smylie’s report noted that because educators have daily contact with children, they are well poised to identify the cues and safely intervene if they suspect a student is involved in trafficking.
C3P will host a virtual parent information night Nov. 17 during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. There will also be publications available for parents.
The resources are made available through funding of the Ontario Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet and support from the Ontario Provincial Police.
NNDSB policy implementation lauded
Director of Education Myles addressed NNDSB’s successful implementation of a vaccination policy using a third-party app, ThriveHealth.
The app provider has recognized the board for developing a procedure that is one of the most effective across Canada. ThriveHealth has reached out to see if NNDSB would support the Government of the Northwest Territories by sharing the board’s approach.
Director Myles says the work demonstrates the board’s strategic commitment to excellence in innovation. He expressed his thanks to the human resources and information technology departments under the leadership of Superintendent of Business Seija Van Haesendonck for their work that has brought national recognition to the board.
Student Trustee reports full slate of activities
Cecilia Darling, NNDSB’s Student Trustee, reported that students are demonstrating their enthusiasm for the return of extra-curriculars. Band and drama clubs, as well as basketball, volleyball, cross-country, golf and soccer teams have drawn students to participate.
Secondary schools have held their elections, and the new student leaders are planning spirit weeks, Halloween events, and focusing on mental health and wellness.
The Student Senate has begun setting its goals for the year and are starting initiatives that address the interests and needs of students.
Student Trustee Darling also requested and received the support of the Board to attend the Ontario Student Trustee Association fall general meeting Nov. 4-7.
Board supports nomination of SBO to OSBIE
The Board approved the nomination of NNDSB Superintendent of Business Seija Van Haesendonck to the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) Board of Directors, representing the Northeast Region.
During the committee-of-the-whole meeting (held just before the Board meeting), Director of Education Myles said the position with OSBIE “aligns with her portfolio and the work she does on a daily basis”. He added NNDSB would be “honoured to have a rep at that table” which would also align with the multi-year strategic plan’s pillars of Excellence in Relationships and Excellence in Communication.
Administrative Guidelines open for consultation
Last month the Board approved that NNDSB administrative guidelines could proceed to public consultation once reviewed by Executive Council. In order to keep Trustees apprised of which guidelines are open for consultation, it was requested that the guidelines that are available for stakeholder input be listed in the agenda as a standing item.
There are currently five administrative guidelines that are open for consultation. They can be found on this page of the board’s website (in the first text box).
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.
Information about Near North District School Board:
Near North District School Board is an English-language public school board serving the North Bay – Parry Sound – Nipissing area. The Board consists of approximately 10,000 students in 27 elementary schools, seven secondary/senior schools and various alternative learning centres. For more information, please visit nearnorthschools.ca and follow Near North District School Board on social media.
For more information, please contact:
Deb Bartlett (she/her)
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170 ext. 5010