A chance to play a part in Re-Imagining Education - right here in the Region of Halton

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board trustees came to the realization that the classroom level experience during the past two years was something that had to be looked at – in a positive manner.

Five of the 24 trustees formed a planning group and wrote the Minister of Education in February of 2021 – they didn’t get an answer and decided rather than wait on the Minister to respond to their idea they broke out on their own.

The Planning Group consists of:

  • Tracey Ehl Harrison (Chair & Site Admin)
  • Andrea Grebenc (Site Admin)
  • Joanna Oliver
  • Leah Reynolds
  • Margo Shuttleworth

The result is an imaginative and bold for trustees initiative that could produce some interesting ideas – it is now up to the community to respond.  Everyone has an opinion on education – let us see if those with opinions have any original ideas or social imagination.

Through a new initiative called Reimagine Forward, Trustees of the Halton District School Board are asking the Halton community and beyond to reimagine education by sharing ideas and stories to develop big-picture, innovative opportunities about how the publicly-funded school system in Ontario can evolve. Parents/guardians, students, staff, community and education partners are invited to provide their ideas and stories at engagehdsb.ca starting today until May 28.

Here’s the question:

“What are the big moves needed to reimagine public education?”

This is the singular focus of Reimagine.  Think big. Think positive. Be innovative. The secret sauce is here among us.

HDSB Chair Margo Shuttleworth

Reimagine is a grassroots project initiated and led by the HDSB Trustees. Submitted ideas will be reviewed by Trustees to influence local policy making and will be shared with participants, the Minister of Education and other Ontario school boards and education organizations in June.

We promise to:

read all of your ideas and stories and let them influence local policy making.

package up all of the ideas and stories in early June and share them with you, the Minister of Education, Boards from across the province and education organizations. You can share the findings too. We’ll share them here and at the Board table.

Please spread the word by inviting your friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues to this site and by tagging @HaltonDSB

Register and participate anytime until May 28TH.

Positive change starts with thinking about and reimagining public education. Let’s work together to share stories and ideas. Please add yours. And, stay for a while to check out all of the contributions.

You are Invited! Let’s Reimagine -Together.

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Raptors Superfan to talk virtually to Halton District School Board students - April 27th

By Staff

April 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

What a thrill this is going to be.  And what an experience as well

And if the Raptors can hang in and give the 76ers a good run for their money and pull off a miracle as well – the kids who listen to the virtual broadcast will never forget the day.

The Halton District School Board has Toronto Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia talking to students in a HDSB-partnered learning resources launch nationally.

Nav Bhatia has attended almost every Raptors home game since the teams first season in 1995.

Nav Bhatia will join classrooms virtually on Wednesday, April 27

The Halton District School Board is welcoming Toronto Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia to classrooms as part of a virtual learning engagement next week.

Bhatia will join Kindergarten to Grade 12 classes virtually on Wednesday, April 27 to empower and uplift students through his messages of “strength in diversity” and “uniting the world through basketball”. This visit comes after HDSB students have been engaging in learning about Bhatia’s journey through educational resources and activities developed by HDSB staff.

The Superfan Nav Bhatia Foundation plans to make this “Superfan Workshop” available to schools across Canada.

Bhatia will speak to:

  • Kindergarten – Grade 6 classes from 9 – 9:30 a.m. 
  • Grade 7 – 12 classes from 9:40 – 10:20 a.m. 

Nav Bhatia is the legendary Toronto Raptors fan who has attended almost every home game since the team’s first season in 1995. His journey as a beloved fan, successful business owner and inspirational community builder is told through the recently released CBC documentary Superfan: The Nav Bhatia Story.

“After watching the documentary, the HDSB’s Human Rights & Equity Team knew this was a story meant to live in classrooms and with youth,” says Rob Eatough, Superintendent of Education with responsibility for Equity, Inclusion and Indigenous education. “Aligned with core principles of Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, such as affirming identity, representation and critical consciousness, Nav’s story provides rich entry points for student learning and connects with the Equity & Inclusion area of focus in the HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Strategic Plan”.

With multiple connections to curriculum areas such as Language, History, Health, Civics and Careers, Equity Studies and more, the HDSB developed Superfan learning resources and activities for staff to engage students. In partnership with the Superfan team, these learning resources will now inspire youth across the country as the Superfan Workshop launches nationally.

At Chris Hadfield Public School in Milton, teacher-librarian Lisa Turbitt arranged for several classes to watch the Superfan documentary and collaborate on responses to questions such as, “How has Nav helped to create a sense of community?” and “What messages can you take from Nav into your own life?” The school shared their thoughts on social media with the hashtag #HDSBeSuperFan. Turbitt says this expression of student voice captured Bhatia’s attention and now HDSB students and Superfan Nav Bhatia will have a chance to meet.

“We hope this is just the beginning of a long and ‘super’ relationship,” says Eatough.

 

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Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights to take place online April 26th

By Staff

April 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton District School Board  families, staff and community members are invited to the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights to raise awareness on historical and contemporary issues of identity, inclusion and human rights. The next session in the panel series will be:

Self-Determination and Anti-Colonial Practices:
Indigenous Rights, Education and Food Sovereignty
Tuesday, April 26 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.

This will be a virtual event, with the livestream linked on the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca).
Registration is not required.

This session will not be recorded.

Panel speakers include:
• Marie Battiste, Mi’kmaw Educator, Author and Special Advisor at Cape Breton University, Professor Emerita, University of Saskatchewan
• Sheri Longboat, Associate Professor and Researcher, University of Guelph
• Tabitha Robin Martens, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia
• Nancy Rowe, Education Consultant & Treaty Partner, Michizaagiig, Ojibwe, Anishinaabe Kwe

Those interested in attending the event can submit a question to the panel before or during the panel discussion through this Google Form: https://forms.gle/L5AxQvpErhR9wpkG9

“Each session in the series will explore how issues of identity and inclusion intersect with education,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“This provides an opportunity to create awareness of multiple perspectives of insight and analysis on how individual identities can be reflected and engaged in the broader HDSB community. This panel series aligns with the Board’s commitment to raise awareness of diverse community perspectives and the need to broaden resources to support inclusion and student achievement, as reflected in the HDSB’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024 and the Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan – The Way Forward.”

Future sessions in the series include:
• Perspectives on Islam and Islamophobia (Tuesday, May 31 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.).

Previous panel sessions include Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (Feb. 7), Black Excellence: Today and Every Day (Feb. 28) and Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms (March 29). Full recordings of these panel discussions are available to view on the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion and Human Rights webpage.

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The crass, vile, political chicanery at city hall needs close public scrutiny in the way they handle a Code of Conduct matter

By Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While most of us enjoy the break from the day to day life we live, hoping that we are getting through the pandemic and that whatever the new normal is going to be that nice warm weather is included – there are civic issues that need close attention.

Earlier in the week the Integrity Commissioner released a report in which they stated that a city Councillor had breached the Council Code of Conduct and recommended that the Councillor be docked five days pay.

The report is lengthy. It sets out four items and decided that ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte had breached the Council Code of Conduct  on two of them.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

The Integrity Commissioner was responding to complaints filed by two other members of city council: Rory Nisan and Kelvin Galbraith.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is not a party to the complaint but is believed to have been very active in getting the complaint to the Integrity Commissioner.

Councillor Stolte does not deny doing what she is accused of doing. She published a statement the day the contents of the Integrity report were released saying that if her being docked five days’ pay was the price it took to get the issue of Closed sessions of Council on the table and part of a robust public discussion then so be it.

A robust public discussion is exactly what the city needs – there is no certainty that any such thing will take place.

The Mayor said on Thursday that she had yet to read the report and would do so on the weekend; Councillor Sharman said he too had yet to read the document.

Take those two statements with more than a grain of salt.

Councillors Nisan and Galbraith have not made themselves available for comment.

Councillors Kearns and Bentivegna have not made any comment.

Those close to what happens at city hall have known for some time how fractured this council has become. When Meed Ward was elected in 2018 the population was for the most part filled with hope that development would be reined in and towering residential buildings would be located away from the downtown core.

The Nautique condo development found a way to get around a transportation issue – shortly after shovels were in the ground and the crane was in place purchase agreements were pulled and higher prices put in place. It was the kind of development people feared would take place.

The developers wanted to build and sell condominiums close to the lake.

Five of the seven member council were new to municipal politics and have struggled to deal with the very significant issues.

Burlington is being forced by the provincial government to grow its population at a startling rate. The Burlington that many love as it is are having a difficult time accepting the construction of towers that rise 26 storeys across the street from a six storey city hall.

Some 40 development applications are before the Ontario Land Tribunal, a jurisdictional body where Burlington has not done very well.
The number of Closed sessions city council has held is the nub of the issue. Stolte is not the only member of Council who wants to see fewer

Closed sessions and only when they are absolutely necessary.
Burlington is the subject of an investigation by the provincial Investigator of Closed Meetings. There is no date for a report on that investigation.

In 2017 the Halton district School Board decided to close two of the city’s seven high schools. It was a divisive process. In the fullness of time the HDSB decided to declare the former Robert Bateman High school surplus – which meant it was able to sell the property.

Conceptually it is a great idea – winners everywhere – until Council decided to seal their lips and keep the public out of the picture.

There is a very tightly defined process for selling surplus school property. The city of Burlington turned out to be the only bidder for the property.

At the time Brock University was looking for a new home for its Faculty of Education. Suddenly there was a real synergy in play.

When matters of property are before city council they are usually discussed in a Closed session. A developer making an application to construct a large residential tower or a property that is going to have a hundred or some homes always involve zoning and Official Plan amendments. The city administration wants hold these discussions in private, as well they should. Thus the rationale for going into a Closed session.

The difference with the Bateman property is that all the players were public – none of them were asking for or seeking a zoning change or an amendment to the Official Plan for an organizational profit.

The interests of three public organizations (a school board, a university and a municipality) that serve the interest of the public (You and I) were being worked through.

To add to the discussions there was a very real concern about the amount of asbestos in the former Bateman high school, what the cost of its removal and who was going to pick up that cost.

The site is big, the Mayor wants it to be a public place, the school board wants to get rid of the property but rent back some of the space. Brock University wants to make the place home for the Faculty of Education. Councillor Stolte wants the public to know what all this is going to cost. .

Councillor Stolte felt that because these issues were important to the public at large the need for Closed Sessions was lessened and took the positioned that the greater good was more important. She never made any secret of her position.

The city’s legal department didn’t see it that way nor did the Mayor. Both wanted much more control over the issue

And so here we are in the midst of crass, vile, political chicanery.

It is time for the public to weigh in and let their member of Council know what they think and feel.

This is not something that should be allowed to slip by without a close public review.

Related news stories:

Integrity Commissioner’s report in full

Councillor Stolte Statement

The Closed Session issue has been around for a while

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Halton District School Board studentswill be strong competitors at Robotics event.

By Pepper Parr

April 13, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington high schools have always been strong competitors in the field of robotics.

Six robotics teams from the Halton District School Board (HDSB) will be competing at the FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship in Mississauga Thursday through Saturday (April 14-16).

The robot was taught how to throw that basketball. It was not drafted by the Raptors

Schools participating include Burlington Central School, M.M. Robinson High School, Garth Webb Secondary School and Georgetown District High School, each with one team, and Oakville Trafalgar High School with two teams.

Each HDSB team qualified for the provincial competition based on their results from taking part in regional competitions including those held at Humber College, Waterloo and York universities. This provincial competition is a qualifier for the World FIRST Robotic Championship held April 20-23 in Houston, Texas.

“Our Halton FIRST robotics teams worked extra hard this season coming out of lockdown, with tight timelines to build their robot in time to compete in their first qualifier at the beginning of March,” says Veronica Kleinsmith, Lead for the Specialist High Skills Major andPathways programs with the HDSB.

“All HDSB teams built impressive robots this year and three of our schools are ranked in the Top 6 in Ontario going into this provincial competition. Each team raises funds from community and business sponsors, designs a brand for their team, hones their teamwork skills, builds and finally programs their robots for a difficult field-game challenge.”

The students who take part in the robotics courses are amongst the smartest in the HDSB system.

Established in 2001, FIRST Robotics inspires young people to be leaders and innovators in science and technology by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills to inspire innovation and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership.

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School bus drivers with Covid19 infections means temporary service disruptions

By Staff

April 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shortage of school-bus drivers amid pandemic continues to temporarily disrupt services

Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) is reminding families of the continued bus route disruptions due to the ongoing decrease of available drivers resulting from COVID-19 isolation requirements.

Lots of busses – not enough drivers.

“Every effort will be made to communicate cancellations as quickly as possible, but in many cases, we will have minimal notice as drivers continue to follow public health guidelines and minimize risk to students,” says David Colley, General Manager of Halton Student Transportation Services.

To stay informed about bus route cancellations, families can:

• Visit the Halton Student Transportation Service Alerts page for up-to-date route cancellations and delays
• Register for Delay/Cancellation email notifications via the HSTS Parent Portal
• For instant delay notifications, download the Delays App to your smartphone: BusPlanner Delay App

We understand the impact that this has on families and we thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

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There are solid reasons to be concerned about the Covid19 testing the government is not doing

By Staff

April 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Beachway water treatment plant in Burlington is the largest in the Region

The Covid19 infection numbers for the province are not encouraging – infection reports are climbing and the number of children not in school is alarming.

The Boards of Education don’t have any central reporting – what we are hearing from readers is that – a lot of kids are not in class.

With province wide reporting gone for now municipalities are relying on waste water testing.

While the numbers are not high – the trend is in the wrong direction

 

Location of the waste water treatment plans where testing is done. The test results are rising in every location

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Changing the way people view what has been a taboo subject - two women from Burlington appear to have made it happen

By Pepper Parr

April 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How does change come about?

What makes people decide they want to change something that they think could be better.

Olivia Netto

Olivia Netto and Inman Nemar were both students at Nelson high school out riding their bikes and a situation arose that had them talking about those occasions when you really need a product there is nothing at hand.

The product in this instance was feminine personal hygiene products – a taboo for many people and something that young men just don’t know all that much about and are not comfortable asking questions either.  But for Olivia Netto and Inman Nemar it was a serious subject and they decided they wanted to try and bring about a change:  Getting free mental products in as many public locations as possible.

“Over the course of the past few years, we’ve noticed a lack of accessibility to feminine hygiene products both within the community and at schools. Our mission is to create a donation-based drive to cater to those in need. At school, in the workplace and in Burlington”, said Inman.

They took the view that offering free menstrual hygiene products in public washrooms is now considered as essential to the community as offering toilet paper, soap and paper towels.

Inman Nemar

Providing menstrual hygiene products in each of the public washrooms in the facility also provides a more inclusive approach to support the needs of transgender and non-binary individuals.

When they decided to try and involve the city they got a very good response.

Their focus was on Burlington – given the success they have had – they have their eyes on the Region, then the province and – why not the whole country.

They researched, they asked questions and they put together a presentation that went before city council.

They wanted the city to consider a pilot program

Olivia is studying Industrial design at Carlton University and Inman is studying Life Sciences at McMaster.

Asked how they can monitor the distribution and the take up Oliva said: “We have scouts out there.”

Why the apple? That’s something they will have to tell you. What they really want to talk about is their Pink Project.

There initiative is called the Pink Project; it was enthusiastically taken up by council – they approved the project as a pilot that will be in place until the end of the year.

Public response so far has been positive

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Halton District School Board hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for Parents/Guardians this Spring

 

By Staff

March 31st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is hosting Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions for parents/guardians this Spring. Covering specific topics based on feedback from parents/guardians, each session will be led by a mental health expert in that area who will share their knowledge and provide helpful information and resources.

Sessions include: 

Building Executive Function Skills in Teenagers – Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Supporting a Child who is Grieving – Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Black Mixed-race Children & Identity – Wednesday, April 27 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Mental Health, Well-Being & Autism Spectrum Disorder – Thursday, May 5 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Celebrating Neurodiversity – Monday, May 9 at 7 – 7:45 p.m.

Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Students – Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Anxiety & Depression in Youth – Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Registration is required for these sessions as limited spots are available.

Parents/guardians can register by completing the Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions Registration Form.

Sessions will be held on Google Meet, where closed captioning is available in various languages. Registrants will be emailed a link to access the session. Sessions will not be recorded.

Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to submit questions when completing the registration form or during the session.

The Board’s Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being, and how to get additional support at school and in the broader community.

 

 

 

 

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Public school board wants to hear from all of you. Topics for feedback include learning and instruction, safety and well-being and school environment.

By Staff

March 31st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is inviting students, parents/guardians and staff to participate in the online engagement survey Have Your Say from March 28 to April 21, 2022. Topics for feedback include learning and instruction, safety and well-being and school environment.

The survey is open from March 28 to April 21, 2022 and can be found HERE.

The information gathered from the Have Your Say survey will help the Board continue to create a positive environment, inform School Improvement and Well-Being Plans and allow parents/guardians and students to have a voice in creating a supportive community in HDSB schools. The survey will provide the Board with feedback regarding the goals and targets in the HDSB’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024. The Board will share a summary of the information collected with stakeholders in Fall 2022.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“As partners in education, your input is valued and appreciated,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. ”The Board is committed to fostering an inclusive environment and building relationships to continually improve the educational experience for all students. Engaging students, parents/guardians and staff is critical to student success, which is why we’re inviting you to complete this online survey. With your feedback, we can help guide meaningful change to improve student learning, well-being and success.”

The Have Your Say surveys will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The surveys are confidential, with individual responses grouped together for analysis. For parents/guardians, the survey is available in seven additional languages: Arabic, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Urdu. Respondents will select their preferred language when they begin the survey.

Additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), can be found at haveyoursay.hdsb.ca or by emailing haveyoursay@hdsb.ca.

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A Westinghouse operation in Burlington is going to be part of a big push to create small remote nuclear units

By Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Last week we reported on an event where two cabinet Ministers and two members of parliament got all excited about an energy development that was set up in Burlington.

Westinghouse Electric has its testing site for their eVinci product in Burlington.

The idea of using small nuclear devices to generate safe, inexpensive energy in locations that are stuck with diesel creates an opportunity for nuclear.
The Climate Change challenge makes nuclear necessary.

Remote sites across Canada that are off the grid and rely on diesel to provide electricity.

When the Westinghouse people talk about small they mean a device that can fit into three shipping contains and operates remotely with no maintenance or need for repairs.  After eight to ten years of service the units are removed and refurbished.

The design, computational analysis, and state-of-the-art testing will be done at the Burlington location. Manufacturing will be done in Peterborough.

A proven technology to which Westinghouse has added their patented technology and some licensed technology.

Westinghouse has developed and continues to advance the heat pipe into a reliable nuclear reactor heat removal technology.

Westinghouse has also developed proprietary manufacturing processes based on strict quality-controlled techniques, procedures, and tooling. These heat pipes are tested in-house and analyzed for performance and longevity.

A demonstration unit of a Small Modular Remote Reactor

Westinghouse’s high-quality manufacturing processes, including fabrication in inert environments, clean-room grade processing, inspection checkpoints throughout assembly, and leading material sourcing promote success for a scalable technology based on proven science and demonstrated components.

Heat pipes manufactured using this process have set performance records for long-term operation, and progress made through separate and integrated testing programs such as the Electrical Demonstration Unit (EDU) are paving the way for the first commercial eVinci micro reactor which has been sold to a Saskatchewan corporation..

It is now clear that nuclear is going to have to be part of energy mix – sustainable will play a large role but they cannot provide all the energy that is needed as the world moves away from fossil fuels and coal use ends.

Small Modular Remote reactors that can be put together in less than a month and operate for 8 years, ten years in some cases –without any need for service. A single unit can provide power for 4,000 homes.

Westinghouse is not the only company going after this market. Rolls Royce is in the game,

Has been used for over 50 years
Millions of recorded operating hours in extreme, high temperature environments, including aerospace Simple design and operation principles make heat pipes ideal candidates for safe, passive cooling Operates at sub-atmospheric pressures and requires no active pumping, eliminating
typical failure modes

The eVinci™ Micro Reactor uses sodium-filled heat pipes configured within a core block to transfer heat from the reactor core to a heat exchanger. Heat pipes operate on a simple evaporation/condensation cycle, making them a reliable choice for passive high temperature cooling. Nuclear-generated heat conducts through the heat pipe wall, evaporating sodium at the liquid-film interface on the inner wick surface (the left side of the diagram above). Vapor then flows to the condenser region where its energy is absorbed by the primary heat exchanger, and the vapor condenses back into a liquid pool. To complete the cycle, the wick acts as a passive “pump”, transporting the liquid back to the evaporator via capillary forces. The simplicity of heat pipe operation principles makes them predictable and robust, allowing for multiple years of uninterrupted service.

Related news story:

The funding announcement.

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Director of Education panel: Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The next Halton District School Board (HDSB)  Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights will take place on March 29th at 6:00 pm

The working title for the event is Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

HDSB families, staff and community members are invited to the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights to raise awareness on historical and contemporary issues of identity, inclusion and human rights. The next session in the panel series will be:

Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms
Tuesday, March 29 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.
This will be a virtual event, with the livestream linked on the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca).
Registration is not required.

Panel speakers include:

• Dani Araya, Coordinator, Trans Youth Mentor Program, The 519
• Andie Davis, HDSB Grade 11 student
• Lyndon George, Indigenous Justice Coordinator, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
• Eliot Newton, Education Program Coordinator, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
• Stella, HDSB Grade 8 student
• Phi Trân Trinh, Program Coordinator, Positive Space Network
• Dinaly Tran, Nonbinary BIPOC Program Coordinator, Planned Parenthood Toronto

Those interested in attending the event can submit a question to the panel before or during the panel discussion through this Google Form: https://forms.gle/L5AxQvpErhR9wpkG9

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board explains:    “Each session in the series will explore how issues of identity and inclusion intersect with education,”

“This provides an opportunity to create awareness of multiple perspectives of insight and analysis on how individual identities can be reflected and engaged in the broader HDSB community. This panel series aligns with the Board’s commitment to raise awareness of diverse community perspectives and the need to broaden resources to support inclusion and student achievement, as reflected in the HDSB’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024 and the Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan – The Way Forward.”

Future sessions in the series include:
• Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonizing Education and Land (Tuesday, April 26 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)
• Perspectives on Islam and Islamophobia (Tuesday, May 31 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)

Previous panel sessions include Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (Feb. 7) and Black Excellence: Today and Every Day (Feb. 28). Full recordings of these panel discussions are available to view on the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion and Human Rights webpage.

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City Bird poll winner to be revealed Monday evening

 

By Dave Tourchin

March 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON,

 

The Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington team will announce the winner of their recent online public poll to select a City Bird, at the monthly “Bird Studies Group” virtual event hosted by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club on Monday evening.

Are these swans meant to be the bird that reflects what Burlington is all about?

A guest speaker from the Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington team, Barry Coombs, will give a presentation on the group’s efforts to get Burlington and Hamilton certified under Nature Canada’s “Bird Friendly City” Program:

“A Certification Story – Designating Hamilton and Burlington as Bird Friendly Cities”

March 21, 2022, 7:30 pm – 9 pm   A virtual event open to everyone

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86797267165

The announcement of the public’s choice of City Bird for Burlington, and also for Hamilton, will be made near the end of the presentation.

The Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington team was founded in December of 2020. Its primary goals are to help protect our wild birds, and to get Hamilton and Burlington certified under Nature Canada’s “Bird Friendly City” program, but the work won’t stop with certification. Learn about the status of certification and the many ongoing and future projects of this group that is dedicated to bird advocacy.

Related news stories:

Does the city need or wan an Official Bird

What are the options if there is going to be a city bird

 

 

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Will they have to be masked on Monday

By Pepper Parr

March 17th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The students will be back in school on Monday – masked?

Halton District School Board Chair Margo Shuttleworth

Nothing certain at this point

The trustees feel that the guidance they have to work within comes from the Regional Medical Office of Health.

Chair of the Halton District School Board Margo Shuttleworth said that without specific directions from the MoH the trustees are are saying that each household has to decide what it is comfortable doing.

If the family feels masks are not necessary then the student will not wear a mask. Some households have strong feelings and feel that masking is essential.

Public leadership is in one of those awkward situations where public sentiment is split – there is no crystal clear line

 

Earlier in the week the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition issued a statement saying: states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Former trustee Peggy Russell said trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.

“This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.”

The experts the trustees in Burlington have to listen to are at the Region where the Medical Officer of Health calls the shots.

No word from Dr. Hamidah Meghanithem at this point.

 

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Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a 'lame duck' Premier

By Peggy Russell

March 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Public School Board Trustees in the Province of Ontario have less than a week to make a very big decision regarding their responsibility to the students and staff and, by extension, the welfare of their communities, with the responsibility they were charged with when elected.

Peggy Russell

Do they follow the direction of the Premier of this Province or do they follow the advice of the experts represented through the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition’s Statement of March 9, 2022?

The Ontario Children’s Health Coalition states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.
This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.

Currently Trustees have been advised that legally, they must abide by Public Health Orders. My question is: Are those Orders in the best interest of our collective society or that of special interest groups and some sectors of industry?

Then there is the moral obligation to the children, families/guardians, of the students they serve: to ensure that each and every student, no matter their health status, is provided the same opportunity to learn in a safe classroom environment.

Do Trustees understand that this indeed is their Alamo?

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition and do what is right or they follow a “lame duck” Premier who is seeking re-election and the Orders of Ontario Public Health Units who serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their government. Which will it be?

Trustees in Ontario must be prepared to legally challenge the Province, Ministry of Education and, where applicable, Ontario Public Health Units. Trustees need to understand what is truly at stake at this moment or they risk becoming irrelevant.

 

Peggy Russell is a past Vice-Chair of the Halton District School Board. and was a Director of the Ontario Public School Board Association for eight years.

 

 

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Significant changes to science, mathematics and technology curriculum become effective in September

By Staff

March 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial Ministry of Education has seen the light and announced decisions to significantly revise the science and technology curriculums.

The Grade 9 science course will be de-streamed for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 to 8: Science and Technology, 2022, and the planned changes to the new de-streamed Grade 9 science course, are part of the government’s plan to align curriculum changes with the province’s economic needs and place an emphasis on critical life and job skills, including the fast-growing skilled trades.

Ontario’s elementary science and technology curriculum was last updated in 2007 and the Grade 9 course was last updated in 2008.

Since then, significant scientific and technological innovations such as the advancement of smartphones, everyday use of 3D printing and genomic vaccines have emerged, and the global economy has changed. The updated curriculum responds to these changes with the goal of positioning Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in STEM, helping to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

The new curriculum will be implemented in September 2022, in time for the 2022-23 school year as part of the government’s plan to ensure that all students have the foundational, transferable and entrepreneurial skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing world.

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

“Ontario has transformed the curriculum to now emphasize STEM education across all grades, embedding life and job skills that will support the next generation of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “From finding new cures for cancer, to space robotics that reach new planets, and the development of artificial intelligence and technologies that are changing the economy, Ontario’s new science and technology curriculum is focused on giving young people the skills to think critically, dream boldly and chart new pathways forward for our economy.”

Writing code will become part of regular classroom assignments in September.

For the first time in Ontario history, the revised curriculum includes required learning on real-world connections between science, technology, engineering and mathematics. New expectations include:

Basic computer coding will become a part of the daily classroom work.

Coding: mandatory learning on coding from Grades 1 to 9, consistent with the math curriculum, to further enshrine Ontario as a STEM leader. For example, in Grade 3, students can learn how to program a small robot.

  • Connecting STEM Learning: for the first time, Ontario has dedicated learning expectations from Grades 1 to 9 which explicitly connects science, technology, engineering and mathematics to real-world issues.
  • Emerging technology: students will learn about the rise and application of advanced research, robotics and the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Students can learn about the impact and application of AI in their daily lives, including facial recognition, autonomous vehicles, drones and search engines.
  • Skilled trades: mandatory learning from Grades 4 to 9 on the relationship between how advancements in science and emerging technologies are enhancing the skilled trades and providing exciting career opportunities.
  • Food literacy: learning related to food literacy in every grade that empowers students to make decisions that affect physical and mental health, consider local food production, and the scientific processes involved in agriculture.

 

The previous curricula did not contain required learning related to the skilled trades. Students will now explore how science relates to careers in the skilled trades and how emerging and new technologies impact these careers. These new learning expectations within the curriculum will ensure Ontario’s students are at the forefront of emerging innovation, thought and able to compete in the global economy.

To support the continuum of learning in mathematics, the ministry is also issuing an addendum for each of the Grade 10 Academic and Applied Mathematics courses, to be implemented for the 2022-23 school year. The addenda outline additional learning expectations to support students in their learning as they transition from the new de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course to the current Grade 10 Mathematics courses.

 

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Current and Former Youth in Care Now Eligible for Tuition Bursary at Sheridan

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sheridan College has announced a bursary program that will enable up to 20 eligible students to pursue post secondary studies this September.

The program is for youth currently or formerly in the care of child welfare, and is available to students of all ages pursuing their first post secondary credential and who meet the eligibility requirements.

This is a partnership with the Child Welfare Political Action Committee (PAC), and the Sheridan Bursary for Ontario Youth

“Post secondary education transforms lives and facilitating access to it is foundational to Sheridan’s mission as a leading educational institution and a responsible community partner,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor. “Sheridan is committed to delivering on this promise through an investment in thoughtful, long-term and systemic solutions, like this bursary.”

Sheridan has worked collaboratively for several years with local Peel and Halton Children’s Aid Societies and the Peel-Dufferin-Halton Ontario Education Championship Team to help youth currently or formerly in extended society care reach their post secondary and career goals.

Getting disadvantaged youth into a line like this becomes possible with the right financial support.

“This bursary is a significant milestone in Sheridan’s ongoing commitment to supporting vulnerable young community members by removing barriers to education,” added Sheldon Pereira, Vice Provost Student Experience and Enrolment Management. “We are delighted to join the Child Welfare PAC on their mission to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to work towards a bright and promising future.”

According to the Child Welfare PAC, there are approximately 12,000 young people currently in care in Ontario, and another 100,000 who have recently transitioned out of care. From age 18 to 21, those in care receive an allowance of approximately $875 a month. When this support ends, pursuing a post secondary education becomes more difficult.

Prospective students can learn more about Sheridan’s available scholarships and bursaries online HERE.

 

 

 

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Halton District School Board releases findings from Student and Staff Census

By Staff

March 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is releasing the findings of the Student and Staff Census conducted in the 2021-2022 school year in a phased approach between March – September 2022.

At this point we know how many students participated.

The release will begin with data on the identities of students and staff including language, ethnicity, race, Indigeneity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

At the March 2 Board meeting, a presentation of Phase 1 data of the Staff and Student Census was made to Trustees.

The HDSB conducted the voluntary Student Census from January to June 2021, and Staff Census from April to June 2021, as required by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan to gather and report identity-based data. The Student Census was completed by 78 per cent of elementary students and 84 per cent of secondary students. The Staff Census was completed by 75 per cent of staff.

 

Following the release of identity data, perceptual (how students perceive their school experiences) and disaggregated data showing trends and patterns in special education, academic achievement and student experiences, will be shared between now and September 2022.

“The findings of the Student and Staff Census are intended to support every community to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students and staff in the HDSB,” says David Boag, Associate Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“This data provides us with new information about who our students and staff are to fully understand the needs of all staff, students and families. This will help support success and well-being, identify and eliminate discriminatory practices, systemic barriers and bias to provide equitable opportunities and outcomes, and allocate resources to support students and programs where the need is greatest.”

With the findings of the Student and Staff Census, the HDSB will continue to examine disparities and disproportionalities in opportunities and outcomes for students and staff, prepare action plans that align with the HDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and continue to engage with stakeholders.

 

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Statistics Canada researching our experiences with Covid19 testing

By Staff

February 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Below is an invitation from Statistics Canada to participate in a crowdsourcing initiative to collect data on Canadians’ access to and experiences with COVID-19 testing. Everyone is encouraged to share their insights, especially parents and people living with children.

In this new crowdsourcing initiative, we are seeking your experiences with testing for COVID-19, particularly with using rapid tests. This information will help assess the use of at-home COVID-19 testing, access to rapid testing kits in Canada and vaccination status.

Please take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire and feel free to forward this email to others—the more people that participate, the better the data.

Participating is easy and secure

Click HERE to participate:

This survey is conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, which guarantees that the information you provide will be kept confidential, and used only for statistical and research purposes.

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City Council Workshop: A closer look at our relationship with the Indigenous community

By Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Monday afternoon City Council held an Indigenous education workshop. It was, unfortunately not widely promoted by members of Council or the city’s communications department.  Unfortunate.

The name Joseph Brant is well recognized; his role in the development of the land that was territory the Indigenous people lived on is not that well understood.

They own precious little of that land today.  The workshop is about how that came to be.

The Mississauga of the Credit First Nation lay claim to a large area; the part known as the Haldimand Tract is tightly tied to Joseph Brant.

Over time land was taken from the Indigenous community through different treaties.

There were two main speakers who had a lot to say. You might want to listen to:

Darin Wybenga, Acting Director and Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Coordinator, Mississauga of the Credit First Nation, who  spoke on; “Mississauga of the Credit First Nation – We are Still Here.”

Indeed they are

There was a time when the majority of people living in what is Canada today believed what the Indian Act said.

Following Darin Wybenga is Bryant Peters, College Instructor at Fleming College and Executive Consultant from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, who spoke about the:  Indian Act – What Can We Do?

It looked at one point if Peters was going to read every section of the Indian Act – a very repressive piece of legislation that is still in place.

Both speakers made extensive use of visuals and maps.

It should be well worth your time to spend some time listening to what was said.  We will have more to tell you about this Workshop later in the week.

Burlington, like most local governments, now reads a land acknowledgement before each meeting.

If Darin Wybenga is correct, and he probably is, our reference to the Bowl with one spoon wampum is incorrect.  Look for Council to correct that error.

Wampum belts were used as signatories to commemorate and, to some degree, legitimize an event.

The biggest lesson this writer learned was the significant difference between what the Indigenous people thought when they were signing a land treaty and the view the British had.

The British believed they were acquiring land which they described and defined in the treaties; the Indigenous people believed they were agreeing to share the land.

They were either not able to or didn’t know how to get that language into the treaties.

As a result they are left with bits and pieces of the land they inhabited. The 4 million acres they started with was whittled down to 200 acres.

And we wonder why they are angry.

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