Grade 2 French Immersion information nights to be held in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville during November.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 23rd, 2017

Beginning in September 2018, the entry point for the Halton District School Board’s French Immersion Program will be Grade 2. In the Grade 2 French Immersion Program, 100% of the instructional day will be in French.

French words imagesIn anticipation of questions parents may have before registering their Grade 1 child(ren) into the French Immersion Program, a series of parent information evenings are being offered:

• Halton Hills: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph St.

• Oakville: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Garth Webb Secondary School, 2820 Westoak Trails Blvd.

• Milton: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., Milton District High School, 396 Williams Ave.

• Burlington: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 7-8 p.m., New Street Education Centre (Brock Room), 3250 New St.

Confirmation of attendance is not required.

Registration for the French Immersion Program is open to all Grade 1 students and will begin on Friday, December 1, 2017. The deadline for submitting your registration form is Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 4 p.m. No registrations will be accepted after this date.

Parents may use the following link to determine which school their child would attend based on their home address: Find My Local School.Scroll down the page a bit – you will see a form that asks for your address – that will tell you which school is closest to you.

Please be sure to visit the website for more details. Registration forms are available online or at your child’s home school.

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A year from today you will cast ballots to decide who will lead Burlington city council, the School Boards and representatives on Regional Council.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 23rd, 2017



A year from today the people of Burlington will troop out to the polls to elect a Mayor, members of city council and school Board trustees.

Who will be in the races and what will the issues be?

We now know that the current Mayor will be in the race; he declared that last week.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with the Mayor.

Mike Wallace is understood to be lining up support and Marianne Meed Ward is understood to be on the same trajectory – one that will have her wearing the Chain of Office. That is something she has wanted to wear since the day she decided to move into ward 2 from ward 1 and run for that seat. She handily defeated Peter Thoem SPELL by focusing her campaign on saving the waterfront. She literally romped to victory in her second term and has grown to be a very effective representative for the people of ward 2 and has spread her impact into literally every ward in the city.

There is at least one new candidate for the office of Mayor. Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff has indicated that he plans to run.  Woodruff ran for the office of Regional chair in 2014.


Three of the our Burlington public School Board trustees sitting as observers during the PARC meetings.

Election of school Board trustees is going to be contentious. The decision by the Board of Education to close two of the city’s seven high schools has divided communities and set them against each other. Parents from two of the school scheduled to be closed organized and filed requests for Administrative Reviews which were approved by the Ministry of Education. A decision from the appointed Facilitator should be in hand before the election.
The public School Board issues are clear; the same cannot be said for the municipal issues.

How the waterfront is managed is still very much an issue; added to that is just how the city is going to grow in the next decade has to be determined. That the population will increase significantly is a given – the province has mandated that Burlington grow and the developers have for taken proposals to the Planning department.

In 2014 the city decided their Strategic Plan would cover a 20 year time frame rather than the traditional four years. That led to the creation of a new approach to growing the city based on the creation of four mobility hubs. The Mayor talked about the need to intensify while one of his rivals maintained that the city was already meeting the population growth targets.

Programs to meet the needs of the growing senior’s population became an issue that was being given more in the way of the public attention – not all that much more in the way of funding.

Public transit was found to have been seriously underfunded during the last decade – the need for as much as $1 million a year for a number of years was part of the discussion.


The planned look of the Joseph Brant Museum. The hope is that, weather permitting, the museum will open in 18 months.

City council decided Burlington needed to transform the Joseph Brant museum and approved a $10 million plus project.

Citizens will also elect a Chair of the Regional council. Each member of the city council is also elected as a Regional Councillor – basically half of their salary come from the Region.

In 2014 every member of Council was returned to office.

Nominations officially open on May 1st of 2018.

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Muir goes after the Board of Education for what he calls their ethical and moral failure.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

October 21st, 2017



The timing of that PAR in relation to the timing of the Hayden build was perfectly orchestrated by the Halton District School Board (HDSB). The lack of a PAR for Hayden was denied as a point for discussion and the HDSB Board and Director of Education Mr. S. Miller worked extensively to keep it hidden.

Was there any transparency when it came to the Hayden build? Well, members of the community had to go to the Freedom Of Information in order to get any information at all to learn more about how Hayden was planned, approved with known consequences, and built regardless. It appeared that this consequential matter was buried by the Board at the very first Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) meeting. The parents never had a chance. Just having to go Freedom of Information (FOI) says a great deal about the motives involved.


Hayden high school – sen as the nicest high school in the city – Muir thinks it was foisted on the public ti justify closing two high schools south of the QEW

This decision by the Board to hide the facts of this was an ethical and moral failure. The PAR was started with dishonesty about how they planned and got us to that position, in the direct, known consequences of the Hayden build, and then it was hidden and covered-up throughout. The partnership with the city for more facilities is not a credible excuse, as this was something that happened after the fact of the build plan getting approved. The conception of the build, and the plan, had nothing to do with the partnership, which only came because the build was basically underway.

Reading through the Boundary Review of 2012, it is obvious again that Hayden could go to 1800 students, and that a PAR was justified then, on these grounds alone. Added to this, it was evident that most of the other schools were sure to be driven to much lower numbers. No warning was given to parents of these consequences.

While Lester B Pearson HS remained at 83% UTZ (utilization), there was no warning that this would change as the boundaries and feeder schools were chosen to feed and justify Hayden. MMR was projected at 48%UTZ, but was then favored with more students. A Bateman parent expressed her concern that her child’s special program would be moved, but was assured by the HDSB that programs would not be moved. These are just some of the reasons why parents are objecting to what was done.

Among other things, the FOUR top criteria of the Boundary Review (BR) were:

1. Balance of overall enrolment in each school in the review area to maximize student access to programs, resources, and extra-curricular opportunities.

There were no efforts to achieve this one, including in the PAR. With Hayden projected to an 1800 student enrollment in a 1200 student OTG, how can this criterion be claimed to be acted on and key?

This criterion was analyzed by many members of the community, revealing that balanced, optimal enrollment among schools would provide the best and maximal access to programs etc. – better than maximizing utilization, which is what was factually implemented. Again, how does this fit?

2. Proximity to schools (walking distances, safe school routes, natural boundaries)

Hayden has the second highest busing costs and moves 580 students, almost half of the On the Ground (OTG) capacity, and 1/3 of the high projected enrollment of 1800. On page 4, last line, in the Boundary Review report, it states that The majority of students attending the new Burlington NE high school will be able to walk to school. So how does this fit, as the busing data says it’s not so?

3. Accommodation of students in permanent school facilities and minimal use of portable classrooms

As noted again, there are 12 portables at Hayden and 6 more are stated as needed in future. These will house up to 600 overfill students. So how does this fit this key criterion?

4. Stable, long-term boundaries

SRA 100 as at 2015Certainly, it looks like no matter how overfilled Hayden was projected to become, and in fact did so, with portables, busing and 151% UTZ, the boundaries chosen, and feeders, that generated this result remained unchanged. This outcome, despite several other schools becoming under-filled and under-utilized, seems to reveal again the Board premeditated plan to close schools – the boundaries chosen by the board were kept stable, regardless of the cost of 2 schools.

SRA 101 as at 2015So they delivered on this criterion, even in the PAR. Again, how does this fit what the parents I think would consider a trustworthy and rational decision to contribute to the benefit and well-being of the students, and the community of schools?

Overall, the issue is not so much building Hayden, but that it was done without a PAR to provide information and analysis of the consequences for all the schools in the review area covered by a Boundary Review (BR). This BR was clearly inadequate and people were in effect deceived by a lack of dire warning of what was to be.

Admin Rev requests

The Halton Administrative Review requests were the only ones to be approved by the Ministry of Education

The “timing” of that PAR in relation to the “timing” of the Hayden build, and the resultant planned and deliberate building of seats that became surplus in south Burlington, is what inevitably led to the decision to close two schools. It should also be noted, that the two Burlington requests for Administrative Reviews are the only ones that have been approved out of the 12 applications from across the province so far this year.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir

Tom Muir, a retired federal civil servant has been a consistent observer and critic of civic government.  He resides in Aldershot where he is an astute commentator on development in that community.  His views are his own. 

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Regional police now releasing the names of those charged with driving while under the influence.

Crime 100By Staff

October 19th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police are now producing an Impaired Driving Offences Summary which they release to the media with this statement:

The operation of motor vehicles while drivers are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs remains a serious concern for Halton Region. In an effort to bring more attention to the risk of driving while impaired, assist in identifying witnesses and reduce continued offences, the Service is reporting the following incident:

Name: Jennifer Lahey (37) of Burlington
Date/Time: October 18, 2017 8:14 p.m.
Location: Burlington
• Impaired operation of motor vehicle
• Impaired driving – over 80 mgs

Despite years of awareness campaigns illustrating why driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is dangerous, impaired driving remains the top criminal cause of death in Canada. The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

The day before the Regional Police released the following:

Name: Harry Stecyszyn (63) of North York
Date/Time: October 17, 2017 4:00 p.m.
Location: Burlington
• Impaired operation of motor vehicle
• Driving under suspension

Public shaming seems to be the route to go.
Call a cab or call a friend and get a ride home.

Online newspaper like the Gazette are public for a very long time.  Everything we have ever published is still out there.  If you drink – just don’t drive.

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Pearson high school parent group looking forward to an open honest discussion with the Facilitator appointed to do the Administrative Review.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2017




Steve Armstrong

Steve Armstrong, one of the leads on the request for an Administrative Review of the Halton District School Board decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools, thinks that the Ministry of Education decision to appoint Margaret Wilson as the Facilitator was an “excellent” move.

“I’m looking forward to working with her, and the Board, towards a healthy discussion about the process Burlington went through. There is considerable room for improvement in a number of key areas, and I know a good number of fellow PAR Committee members see similar opportunities.

Although the exact details of how Ms Wilson wants to proceed haven’t been shared, with her experience I trust it will be thorough, said Armstrong.

Admin Rev requests

Of the twelve requests for Administration Reviews filed the only two approved were from Halton – a positive sign for many.

He added that he learned recently that the two Burlington requests for Administrative Reviews are the only ones that have been approved out of the 12 applications from across the province so far this year.

“Clearly the Ministry of Education also wants to understand more about the actual execution of the HDSB Burlington Secondary School PAR.”

The government of Ontario has put a hold on starting new accommodation reviews, and has already begun an improvement process.

Perhaps one of the outcomes of our specific review might include a recommendation to test a better process.
There is within people that are angry over the decision the Board made the sense that the Facilitator can reverse the decision – that is not the case.

The Facilitator can recommend to the Ministry that they direct the Board to hold a new PAR. The only people who can reverse the decision are the 11 trustees.

Each of the high schools Bateman and Pearson, have taken different approaches to the request for a Review.
Bateman is believed to be talking a “human right” approach while Pearson is questioning the procedure that was used and the way critical information was not available to the public.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review Facilitator

Wilson started her job earlier this week – there is no word yet on when she might file her report.

Director of Education Stuart Miller has said that these reviews tend to be “paper heavy” and there are certainly a lot of documents to be gone through and a lot of questions for the staff on how they handled the PAR process.

The two parent groups, Pearson and Bateman, have not, at least not so far, chosen to work together.  The Bateman crowd has chosen to keep to themselves.

Armstrong believes it is in the best interests of the community if the two at least communicate with each other.

Pearson Administrative Review Request

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Well-known speaker and trainer, Mary Maciel Pearson will speak to parents about stress mental health issues, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

October 17th, 2017



Popular nutrition and lifestyle coach Mary Maciel Pearson will be speaking next week at a free parent evening titled, Living Healthy is a Family Affair.

Presented by Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for KIDS), the event is to take place at the New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington) on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 7 p.m

Mary Maciel Pearson

Mary Maciel Pearson will talk to parents about high levels of stress family members can experience while touching on mental health issues on October 24th at the New Street Education Centre.

As a well-known speaker and trainer within the Greater Toronto Area, Pearson is a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine, Tonic Toronto, Neighbours of Oakville Magazine and the Oakville Beaver. In her presentation, she will address the high levels of stress family members can experience while touching on mental health issues, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed.

The presentation will delve into the many ways parents and children can be healthy in body and mind including good nutrition, physical movement and unique ways to stay connected as a family.

Admission is free but donations toward future speakers will be gratefully accepted.

C.A.P.P. for Kids is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years Centres, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

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Ministry appoints a former head of the Ontario College of Teachers to lead the Administrative Review of the Board of Education decision to close two schools.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 16th, 2017



Today, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Margaret Wilson as facilitator of the administrative review for the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) undertaken by the Halton District School Board during the 2016-2017 school year.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson will lead the Administrative Review of the Program Accommodation Review of the decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

“Margaret Wilson is a well-respected educational leader with significant experience examining complex education issues,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We look forward to working with Ms. Wilson and welcome a thorough, independent and impartial review of the PAR process the Board conducted.”


Parents at the first public meeting that addressed the school board’s wish to close two high schools.

In September, the Halton District School Board received notification from the Ministry of Education, granting administrative reviews of the Burlington Secondary School PAR. Requests for these reviews were submitted to the Ministry of Education by the Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School communities.

According to Ministry Guidelines, an administrative review is a process by which an independent, impartial facilitator reviews that the Board has followed its Pupil Accommodation Review policy. An administrative review is not an assessment of the decisions made by the Board of Trustees.

During this review period, the Halton District School Board will continue to keep student needs at the forefront. As such, the Board will continue to collaboratively plan for and implement the decisions made in June 2017. The Board will, however, be cognizant of minimizing the expenditures of the implementation during the review process.

The Board of Education Media Release doesn’t say very much about Ms Wilson – but she has certainly has a profile.

The Toronto Star reported on the work Ms Wilson did on the Toronto Bard of Education where she turned in a scathing report and an invoice for billing the government at a rate of $1200 per hour.

Here is what the Star had to say:

“Margaret Wilson, appointed by the province to look into dysfunction at the Toronto school board, was paid $1,200 a day ($150. An hour) for her work, according to documents obtained by the Star through a Freedom of Information request.

“As part of her final $48,034 bill, Wilson listed 40 work days in November and December of 2014, and January 2015.

“Based on an eight-hour workday, that works out to $150 an hour; for a 12-hour workday, $100 an hour.
“Review of TDSB: 68 interviews, read board + ministry documents, correspondence, previous reviews + audits & copious emails. Wrote report,” she noted in the expense form submitted to the education ministry.

“Wilson, a veteran educator and former union leader, also billed for two taxi rides at $17 each to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association in downtown Toronto.

“Her report on the Toronto District School Board, released in January of last year, was a scathing look at both management and elected trustees and had been ordered after a string of scandals and amid concerns about then-director Donna Quan’s management style and secrecy.

Liz Sandals and Margaret Wilson

Former Minister of Education Liz Sandals, left, and education consultant Margaret Wilson.

“Wilson criticized trustees for meddling and exerting undue influence on staff, repeated concerns about a “culture of fear” identified in previous reports, as well as a revolving door in the top job, and noted an “acute level of distress” among staff. The report made 13 recommendations to improve the board, including looking at whether it is too big to manage.

Wilson, a former Registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Teachers, will consult with local accommodation review committees, the school board and people who participated in the process. The mandate of an administrative review is to determine if the board followed its locally developed accommodation review process.

The Ministry of Education approved requests for an administrative review of the accommodation review process related to Robert Bateman High School and Lester B. Pearson High School, both in Burlington.

Wilson will begin work the week of October 16 and will provide the Minister of Education with a final report upon completion of her review. The report’s findings will be released to the school board and the public.

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Burlington Foundation releases 2017 Vital Signs report and a partnership with the Royal Bank that will focus on young adults as they transition into the workforce.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 16th, 2017



The Burlington Foundation shared the 2017 Vital Signs report last week.

The document is issued every two years and is seen as an important road map for where we are as a community and where the community can work together to make change happen in the areas of youth and young adults, mental health and wellness, housing, the environment and seniors.

Highlights from Vital Signs® 2017 Report part one:

Youth copy

• Connecting young people with opportunities is at the heart of building a strong and sustainable social fabric within the community. In Burlington, 16.5 per cent of the population is aged 15 to 29 years.
• Vital Signs finds that Burlington’s workforce is more highly educated than the Ontario average. Of those aged 25 to 44, 72 per cent have a post-secondary college or university education. This is good news as trends indicate that two-thirds of Canadian job openings in the coming decade will typically require post-secondary education or be in management occupations.Student debt

Mental health copy
• The number of reportable mental health-related occurrences was 1,656 in 2011 and rose to 3,102 as of 2016. This means Halton Regional Police have experienced a startling 87 per cent increase in mental health-related occurrences involving police.
• In 2016-2017, Joseph Brant Hospital’s Emergency Department had a total of 2,156 visits, an increase of 15% over 2011-2012, and 302 visits among those less than 18 years of age, which represent a 63 per cent increase over 2011-2012.Mental health

Housing copy
• Average housing prices rose from $454,627 in 2012 to $785,851 as of June 2017 – a staggering 73 per cent increase.
• 51.5 per cent of Burlingtonians live in single detached homes, 23.2 per cent in row houses or semis and 25.3 per cent live in apartments.Housing
Environment copy



• Halton Region is excelling at waste diversion – in 2015 alone, almost 57 per cent of the region’s waste from landfills was diverted. Efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle have led Halton to be ranked tenth amongst 243 Ontario locations.
• Local waters are cleaner. Hamilton Harbour has benefited from aquatic health improvements as well as improved water bird habitats. Vegetation has returned to Cootes Paradise Marsh and a multi-year habitat restoration project is being led by BurlingtonGreen in Beachway Park.environment

seniors copy
• Burlington’s senior population is growing – so much so that seniors are now our single fastest growing demographic. In the past five years alone, Burlington has seen a 18.9 per cent growth in our senior population compared to just a 1.3 per cent increase among those younger than 65.
• The wait list for long-term care housing is on the rise. Since 2013, wait lists have increased by more than 20 per cent. This means that right now, 2,616 people are on the wait list for one of 1,279 spaces. On average, only 32 spaces become available each month.seniors


Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft, Chair of the Burlington Foundation.

“Vital Signs serves two significant purposes,” says Ron Foxcroft, chair of the Burlington Foundation Board of Directors. “First, it enables Burlington Foundation to focus our leadership efforts and granting program on the most critical areas of need. Second, it’s a valuable reference tool for other local stakeholders to connect the dots between people, numbers and opportunity.”

“Vital Signs is about connecting people to numbers in ways that foster new understanding,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation. “As a community convener, the report helps guide us in our leadership role where we encourage conversation and support collaboration around pressing issues. Whether it’s championing access to mental wellness programs which continues to be a focus for us, helping seniors live more independently, or helping young people transition to the workplace ensuring a greater sense of belonging to community, we’re connecting opportunity to action.”

Due to the release schedule of the 2016 long form Census data, Vital Signs will be published in two parts. In early 2018 the Foundation will share the latest local information about Poverty, Transportation, Work, Newcomers and Inclusivity.

As part of its commitment to incorporate learnings from the Vital Signs Report, Burlington Foundation announced a one-year partnership with Royal Bank of Canada that focuses on supporting youth and young adults as they transition into the workforce. This one-year commitment will focus on bringing together leaders from diverse sectors, as well as young adults, to engage in dialogue and address the opportunities and obstacles youth face as they seek employment.

Foundation - foxcroft - Lever +

Ron Foxcroft on the left with Francine Dyksterhuis, Regional President of Southwestern Ontario, RBC and retiring Royal Bank vice president John Lever.

“As leaders within our communities, both RBC and the Burlington Foundation, have the ability to bring attention to issues impacting the Halton community through research, speaking and convening,” says Francine Dyksterhuis, Regional President of Southwestern Ontario, RBC. “Working together has never been more urgent. All sectors must join forces and mobilize efforts, energy and expertise to improve near-term employment outcomes as well as develop the evolving hard and soft skills of our young people that will be required across all sectors.”

The partnership will include an innovative educational event this winter.

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Pearson parent doesn't see the Program Accommodation Review Process as a done deal.

opinionandcommentBy Cheryl DeLugt

October 12th, 2017



The intrinsic nature behind the school closures in Burlington is clearer than most may think. For almost a year now the Halton District School Board (HDSB) has been instrumental in its’ ability to have consistently provided the community a false sense of good intentions when it comes to closing our schools.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl DeLugt and Steve Armstrong with the message from the community.

Let’s face it….our schools were doomed, some would say…”A Done Deal”. Well, that was at least what was implied by the HDSB and how the majority of the community felt from the very beginning of the Program Accommodation Review Process (PAR). As the PAR process unfolded, it became more evident that closing a school or two was their primary objective.

The mere fact that our school was named and recommended to be closed in advance of any community input or public consultation, made it obvious the board had its own agenda, which in turn became the driving force behind the HDSB efforts to assure their plans to close Burlington high schools were achieved.

It now appears, to many community members, that the whole PAR process was intended to attain a controlled means of community input sufficient enough to claim community participation as part of the Halton District School Boards’ intent and plan to close two Burlington high schools. The process itself lacked honesty, transparency, logic, reason and effective community input. In addition, those who voted on the final decision were elected officials from outside of the affected communities, making the decision to close any schools in Burlington that much easier, or at least easier on one’s own conscience.

Fiscal responsibility to our community was by no means the predominate factor considered when making the decision to close our schools and if it was, a no school closure would have been given equal consideration. The cost savings of closing schools will be in the result of some staff savings and operating costs, but there will be added costs to decommission, insurance, maintenance, that will be added with closure. If one was to look at accounting for all costs, small schools such as Lester B Pearson are in fact more cost efficient on a per capita student basis than larger schools.


Was Lester B. Pearson high school “doomed” from the beginning?

Early on in the PAR process, it was apparent that there was reluctance and obstruction by the HDSB to engage in open and meaningful conversations with the general public and the communities affected by the school closures. This action alone revealed the school board’s lack of transparency and made many residents question the board’s motive for moving so quickly and forcefully to close our schools.


Kim, a Lester B Pearson high school parent

Perhaps the need for a greater emphasis on more open communication and input from our entire community including local and regional officials including the Mayor of Burlington, should have been actively part of the process. The Halton District School Board just recently announced its’ effort in exploring community partnerships now. In an effort of fairness, democracy, and the Ontario Ministry of Education principles, the HDSB had a moral and legal obligation to have explored other creative options more aggressively including possible community partnerships prior to proposing any school closures.

While the HDSB focuses their efforts on the transition process for Lester B Pearson high school and their desires for a “NEW” Administration building, many members of the community will now redirect their attention on the Burlington citizens appeal to the Ontario Ministry of Education now approved Administrative Review (AR).

With the AR soon underway, the need for better collaboration between the City of Burlington, its’ residents, and the Halton District School Boards prior restriction of information and the dissemination of correct, timely information in a transparent fashion will become apparent.

While the Halton District School Board continually reiterates to the public that the Administrative Review will NOT reverse their decision, it should indeed question it to a fair degree. The purpose of the Administrative Review (AR) is to thoroughly review the board’s honest commitment, integrity and ability to follow the HDSB and Ontario Ministry of Education policies while conducting the prior PAR process plus determine if there is need for HDSB procedural change.

LBP Rachelle Papin 2

Ward 4 school board trustee Rachelle Papin at a school council meeting.

In light of the approval of an AR, and with consideration of the facilitators findings, the community expects our elected Trustees to welcome the opportunity to openly review and change their June 7th, 2017 decision based on newly revealed supportive facts that the process they followed led them to a decision which was indeed without a doubt “flawed”.

After-all, how can and why would any school board or elected official stand behind a decision that they know was made using questionable methods, non- transparency and incorrect information and executed process?

A question we ALL should be asking at this point …especially the school board Trustees.


Cheryl De Lught H&SCheryl is a Registered Nurse who was a member of the Program Accommodation Review Committee that was unable to reach a consensus on which if any Burlington high schools should have been closed.

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Canadian Scouting has been co-ed since 1998 - Americans just announced they want to do the same thing.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 12th, 2017



It used to be called the Boy Scouts association. Not anymore.

The Boy Scouts of America (USA program) recently announced changes to their membership policy to allow girls into the Cub Scout program and confirmed that older girls will be able to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Scouts Canada - Mikhayla Doroshuk and Terry Grant Chief Scout

Queen’s Venturer Mikhayla Doroshuk and Terry Grant Chief Scout

The Scouts Canada membership has been officially co-ed since 1998 and welcomes all to its membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances and has always taken an inclusive approach to its membership.

Scouts Canada is a separate and distinct organization from the Boy Scouts of America.

Canada doesn’t have an Eagle Scout level – the Canadian equivalent is the Queen’s Venturer Award.

There is a very active scouting movement in the Region.

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Commercial vehicle inspections show small improvement over 2016 results.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 12th, 2017



Policing the commercial traffic on our highways is vital. There was a time when we had wheels flying off trucks that were unsafe because they weren’t properly maintained.


The Regional Police have a fully equipped vehicle with all kinds of inspection equipment. with the 401, the 403, the 407 and the QEW cutting through Halton region commercial vehicle inspection is a big job.

Police officers and inspectors from seven services, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Finance/ Environment recently completed a two-day commercial vehicle (CMV) enforcement blitz held at the Mohawk Raceway in Milton on October 4-5.

Results of the showed some encouraging signs for road safety. The data shows a record number of vehicles being inspected and an increase in compliance over 2016.

The two day blitz this year yielded the following results:

• Total commercial motor vehicles inspected: 477
• Total commercial motor vehicles taken out of service: 156 (33% failure rate)
• Total charges laid: 331
• Sets of plates seized by police: 24

2016 Results:
• Total commercial motor vehicles inspected: 470
• Total commercial motor vehicles taken out of service: 179 (38% failure rate)
• Total charges laid: 476
• Sets of plates seized by police: 35

Top six charges laid by police in 2017:

• Fail to complete daily inspection (58 charges)
• Improper brake (24 charges)
• Failure to complete annual inspection (22 charges)
• Insecure load (21 charges)
• Fail to have permit (19 charges)
• Overweight vehicle (14 charges)


Halton police officer checks the tires on a truck during a blitz.

“The results of the 2017 Halton commercial motor vehicle blitz reveal that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure commercial motor vehicles are safe. The rules of the road apply equally to all motor vehicle operators and ensuring a mechanically fit, safely loaded and secure vehicle remains the law. As always, safer trucks equate to safer roads.” said Sgt. Ryan Snow, Traffic Services Unit.

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Fire prevention week - Fire Chief wants your attention - takes the social media route to get it - prizes

News 100 redBy Staff

October 10th, 2017



The Burlington Fire Department is recognizing Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 8 to 14, 2017 with a contest for residents who connect with them through social media.

Residents are asked to look for Fire Prevention Week transit shelter ads around Burlington, take a photo clearly showing the safety message– selfie optional – and tag @BurlingtonFire on Twitter or @BurlingtonFireDept on Facebook to be entered into a draw to win a Fire Prevention Week gift pack.

The contest runs from Oct. 2 to 29, 2017.
Fire Prevention week is a province-wide initiative held each year in October. This year’s theme of Fire

Prevention Week is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”

In a fire, you may have just seconds to safely escape your home. Be prepared in advance with these simple steps for home fire escape planning:

Fire 3155 Michael 3 alarm

Fire and smoke move faster than you can. Plan and practice fire escape exercises.

Consider the needs of everyone in your home
Identify anyone who needs help to get out of the home safely, such as small children or older adults.
Make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas
Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm.
Identify all possible exits (doors and windows) and make sure they work
Know two ways out of all areas, if possible.
Everyone must know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds
Name someone to take care of those who need help.
Identify a safe meeting place outside.
Call the fire department from outside the home – from a neighbour’s home or a cell phone.
Practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year
Have everyone take part.
Make changes to your plan if necessary.

Burlington Fire Chief Dave Lazenby tells people that “Fire and smoke move faster than you. There’s no time to figure out how to escape your home after a fire starts. Practice an escape plan before there’s a fire so you can get out safely.”

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Is there a link between the closing of two Burlington high schools and the plans for a new administrative office?

opinionandcommentBy George Ward

October 7th, 2017



Many residents in Burlington are still questioning why we are closing two schools in the growing City of Burlington. The Halton District school Board has presented its perspective and justification for the closures, it still doesn’t make sense.

Hayden High school, Burlington's newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street.

Hayden High school, Burlington’s newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street. The school is well over its intended capacity and currently has 12 portables.

To begin, closing both Pearson and Bateman high school does not alleviate the overcrowding at Hayden (overcrowded with over 1,650 pupils and growing, necessitating the use of 12 portable classrooms and a desire to add 6 more in the future).

Secondly, it does not alleviate the growing pressures on our busing system and in fact contributes to the growing problem and safety concerns. Closing our schools makes absolutely no sense, is unwarranted, unjustified, and simply put is very short-sighted.

The board seems to have lost sight of the fact that schools are public assets and that taxpayers have invested their money in these schools and communities. If one was to look at these school closures in Burlington solely from a financial perspective you would realize that closing Pearson and Bateman will result in a substantially higher costs.

Closing two schools save approximately $2 million, however, some of these operating costs, such as the pool and day care, added busing, and other new ongoing costs to take care of the closed schools are not accounted for. In addition, the costs of capital equipment and facilities to transition specialty programs to Nelson was put at $12 million, but there is concern that this will  be much higher.  While a no school closure would result in the expense range of approximately $250,000 in operating costs. How is that being fiscally responsible?

Gerry Cullen

Some of the data that was presented during the PARC meetings was out of date and conflicted with other data put forward. Many had difficulty figuring out just what the full story was. Superintendent of Facilities Gerry Cullen was challenged at times to give a satisfactory explanation.

Throughout the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process, it became clear early on of the lack of transparency when it came to information sharing from the board. From information and data changing periodically to the extensive and lengthy data provided, it became a challenge to gain insight into the facts that led to the decision to close our schools.

With more questions than answers, one might start to wonder:  What is the real motivation behind the HDSB wanting to close these schools?

Perhaps when we go back through Board Minutes to understand why the board needs to move forward on school closures in Burlington.

Below is an excerpt from HDSB meeting minutes of February 2017:

The Halton District School Board Administration is experiencing significant growth pressures due to growth in student population and the increasing complexity of its work. As a result, the Board’s existing office facilities have become woefully inadequate. This is not a question of quantity of space, but rather of quality of space.

Five level bldg

It is only a concept but it gives you some idea as to how far along the thinking is within the Boar of Education Administration.

Our analysis of how to meet the Board’s current and future needs presents an opportunity to provide the staff of the HDSB with a 21st century work environment: a new 95,000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate 350 staff within a single building, designed according to the guiding principles identified herein.

The sale of the existing J.W. Singleton site would make this project possible and in turn, create a facility that reflects the Board’s values, resulting in the delivery of the highest quality education for the Board’s students.

Budget Estimate: 95,375 sq. ft. x $310/sq. ft. = $29.6M

This estimate is based on the HWDSB (Hamilton-Wentworth) precedent and it is for project costs only. Land costs are not included, as they will depend on the site selection. Space for growth (10,000 sq. ft.. included) is based on HDSB projections, and can be adjusted should projections increase.

• 1 move required
• Unknowns could impact the costs include site issues such as geo-technical, soil, zoning,

• Only 1 move – no temporary accommodations required, and minimized disturbance to staff.
• Because this would be a purpose-built environment, it is the option that would best meet the Board’s needs outlined in this report without compromise.
• Other sites no longer in use could be used to raise funds.

It is clearly stated in the minutes that it is NOT a situation of need for additional space but rather a desire for better quality of space. According to the board, a better facility for their staff would in turn provide better education. How does having a nicer work space for HDSB board staff contribute to a better quality of education for our students?

Protest outside board office

Demonstrations didn’t make a bit of difference. The trustees, who are the people who made the decision, didn’t hear the parents.

Bateman hug

Bateman high school parents chose to give their school a public hug.

Shouldn’t priority be that our students have the “best quality learning environment”. Where students can walk or ride their bikes to school instead of sitting on the floor of an overcrowded bus. Where students are able to learn in an environment that is quiet, calm, and not overcrowded, where classes are not held in hallways, where students are not learning in portables, where there is sufficient heating, air conditioning, and/or proper ventilation systems?

The planning for a new Administration office for the Board Staff are moving along:  The following comes from a report prepared by a firm of architects.  The options before the Board were set out as follows:

Do Nothing,’ but maintain the existing facilities, for an estimated cost of $20M over the next 25 years, with no improvement to the actual offices in terms of functionality or design .

Complete a Renovation- Addition to one of the existing buildings, which  would  yield a compromised facility with increased disruption, for a similar cost to the final option .

Build a new facility, estimated at

$29 .6M (not including land) is the option that would best meet the Board’s needs as outlined in our guiding principals .

In order to obtain true value and create the desired synergies enabling Board staff to work at their best, we strongly recommend the Board proceed with constructing a new Administrative office facility .

Because of existing legislative requirements, selling the J .W . Singleton property appears to be the best way to generate sufficient dollars to fund this project . This would in turn allow for a new administrative facility to be centrally located in the Milton/Oakville area, where the Region’s growth is projected in the next 25-50 years .

The next phases of this Study will explore potential partnerships that could yield community benefits as well as capital and operating savings . Once specific sites are identified, concept plans, cost estimates and implementation strategies will be completed .

It appears that the need to accommodate 350 board staff takes precedence over the 76 elementary schools, and 17 secondary schools that serves over 50,000 students, excluding those in adult, alternative, and Community Education program within our school system.

Despite the fact the Minister of Education announced a moratorium on the Program Accommodation Review process and the fact that the HDSB is now subject to an Administrative Review, the HDSB continues to move forward on their plan to close two Burlington high schools, despite the fact the process that led to the decision has been publicly deemed to be flawed.

So, the question still remains.

Why is the HDSB really closing schools in Burlington?

Related article:

School Board announces it is looking for partners.

LBP George Ward 2George Ward is a semi- retired quality control auditor who is deeply involved in the community effort to keep the Lester B. Pearson high school open. Both his children and some of their children attended Lester B. Pearson.

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School Board wants to listen to people and organizations that might be interested in using some space.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 6th, 2017



Community organizations and members of the public are invited to a meeting on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m., to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities within Halton District School Board facilities.

Partnership opportunities in existing schools and co-build opportunities in proposed new schools, as well as a new Board Administrative Centre, will be discussed at the J.W. Singleton Education Centre (2050 Guelph Line, Burlington).

HDSB sign with flag

Education Centre – has been described as a development site.

The full list of facilities available for community partnerships and the community planning and partnerships policy can be viewed at

Potential partners are requested to bring relevant planning information such as population projections, growth plans, community needs, land use and greenspace/park requirements to the meeting.

It’s a bit of a step in the right direction.

The HDSB has not been as aggressive in marketing the opportunities that exist in the buildings they have. There are numerous opportunities for the Board of Education to partner with the municipalities.

There is a pressing need for additional facilities for Seniors north of the QEW – this is the time to start those conversations.

There are a number of people who were members of the Burlington PARC who thought there was a sharing of facilities opportunity that would keep Pearson high school open and the Nursery operation at the location.

Hopefully the Board will be more open to some innovative ideas.

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Announcement of who the facilitator will be for the Administrative Review is somewhere between Queen's Park and Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2017



It is taking a bit longer than anyone expected but the Ministry of Education assures us that there will be an announcement shortly on who has been assigned the task of doing the Administrative Review of the PAR process that resulted in the decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools.


Is there any life left for this high school?

“The Ministry is currently in the process of finalizing the details regarding selecting a facilitator to undertake an Administrative Review for the Pupil Accommodation Review which included Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School.

“Once finalized, the ministry will notify the Halton District School Board, lead petitioners and the broader public.”

The parent groups at each high school feel there is a lot riding on whatever the appointed facilitator concludes after looking at all the documents.

Miller with students Mar 7-17

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller with students during a public meeting. Bate parent group member Denise Davy stands to Miller’s left.

Halton District school Board Director of Education Stuart Miller told the Gazette recently that “these reviews tend to be paper heavy”.

There are those in the community who feel that the delay in appointing someone is a part of the process to keep the issue out of the public eye until the June 7, 2108 provincial election is out of the way – that’s ten months off.

The Board staff had hoped that this would all be done quickly so they could get on with the job of getting one school upgraded so they could take in the students. Many of the Bateman students are due to move to an upgraded Nelson high school in 2020.

Lester B. Pearson is scheduled to have their last high school graduation in June of 2018; in 2019 they are supposed to become M.M. Robinson students.

PARC with options on the wallsOne wonders if the PARC that was created to serve as the communications channel from parents to the Board will have anything to say once the Administrative Review is completed.

Most parent groups felt the PAR failed the community – which is part of why they requested the Administrative Review.

The school board staff just want to get on with the job of transitioning students to their new schools – the parent groups have taken the position that this isn’t over yet.

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An amazing piece of film footage - watching the earth move.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2017



You’ve heard the phrase: “The earth moved” perhaps in a context you don’t want to expand on.

We came across a piece of film footage that is actually awesome. The earth literally moved!

It runs for 20 minutes – you won’t want to spend that much time on it. But the first three to four minutes are  riveting to watch.

Perito_Moreno_Glacier_Patagonia_Argentina_Luca_Galuzzi_2005If there was ever any doubt in your mind that the earth’s climate has changed – spend a couple of minutes on this.

You will see a glacier of ice being pushed into the sea and creating huge waves.

They call it glacier calving – walls of ice as high as fifty feet – maybe more just crashing down into the sea. That ice will flow into the waters resulting in a cooling that changes a weather pattern.

It is the sight of the ice crashing down that makes this film footage so fascinating. It was taken from people who are on a ship who are recording the glacier as it disintegrates.

It’s worth a few minutes of your time. Come back to it when you have the time. Just the first couple of minutes:
Click here for the link.


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School board hot weather action plan should be activated when the humidex reaches or exceeds 35ºC

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2017



It has been hot.

Been that way for two days so far this week and we are probably going to see more of this type of weather before the snow arrives.

And for students in classrooms with no air conditioning – this is not fun time nor is it the kind of environment that learning takes place in very efficiently.

Superintendent of Facilities Gerry Cullen reports that all of Hayden high school is air conditioned?

The Education centre is air conditioned.

All of the high schools have some area that is air conditioned. Newer schools (since Iroquois Ridge) are air conditioned in most areas. Some shop areas may not have air conditioning.

Any elementary school built in the last 25+ years are air conditioned. Some older ones have an area, typically the library, is air conditioned.

The Board has a program in place that is installing air conditioning in older two level buildings. It is part of the ” Close the Gap” projects.

The school board does have a policy related to weather conditions but it is skewed to winter weather. “In rare circumstances, the Director of Education may order schools closed due to extreme weather conditions.”


The best some schools could do was open windows. In some schools the windows cannot be opened.

When the heat or high humidity is combined with other stresses such as hard physical work, physical activity/play, loss of fluids, fatigue or some medical conditions, it may lead to heat-related illness, disability and even death. Some individuals are more susceptible to heat related illness: children less than 15 years old, seniors 65 years and older, children playing sports or prolonged physical exertion, children wearing excessive/heavy clothing, children on certain medications.

Therefore, it is very important to have a Hot Weather Action Plan to deal with these occurrences and to provide precautions on very hot days to protect both students and staff from heat related illnesses and heat stress. Heat stress is affected by 4 environmental factors: air temperature, humidity, air movement and radiant heat. Individual factors such as age, existing medical and physical conditions also play a part in how an individual copes during times of extremely hot weather.

Additional information about preventative measures to manage hot weather conditions can be found on the Region of Halton website at

Student with fan

Do we issue students with fans?

4. Hot Weather Action Plan
• The plan should be activated when weather/environmental triggers occur such as:
• the humidex reaches or exceeds 35ºC;
• Environmental Canada Humidex Advisory (air temperature exceeding 30ºC and the humidex exceeds 40ºC) is issued;
• there is a smog alert and higher temperatures (27-30ºC); or
• a heat wave occurs (3 or more days of 32ºC or higher temperatures).
• Parents and staff should be notified whenever the hot weather plan is activated. Note that there is no specific temperature or humidex value that would trigger schools to close.
A Hot Weather Action Plan includes the following general prevention and control measures:

1.1 Communication
• When hot weather conditions described above (item 1) exist in the Halton Region, the Director or designate will communicate to schools that they are to initiate their Hot Weather Action Plan.


Getting students outside and under trees is going to be one of the solutions when the heat is extreme.

1.2 General Prevention and Controls
• Use PA announcements to advise students not to overexert themselves during nutrition breaks
• Make use of shady areas in the schoolyard.
• Consider indoor or modified recesses and lunch hours. Limit time outdoors when temperatures and UV radiation are most intense, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Make available and encourage students to drink plenty of cool water throughout the day.
• Inform staff on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stress (see chart) and monitor students for these signs.
• Recognize that students who have been on vacation or absent from school need to be acclimatized to working in heat.
• Keep as many heat-generating appliances and fixtures off while maintaining safety. Shut off computers and projectors when not in use.
• If there is a breeze outside and the humidex levels are not excessive, consider opening operable windows.
• Increase air movement with the use of fans if temperature is less than 35ºC and the relative humidity is below 70%.
• Keep blinds/curtains closed in classrooms/offices directly exposed to sunlight. Turn off any unnecessary lights.
• If air conditioning is present in some areas of the building, consider cycling classes through these areas.
• If possible, reschedule physical activities and slow down the pace of physical activities as appropriate.

• Avoid activities in direct sunlight.
• Increase the frequency and length of rest breaks, if necessary.
• Cool the body by placing cool, wet paper towels or cloths on the head, forehead or neck. Forearms may also be submersed in cool water.
• When in doubt, seek assistance for the school’s qualified First Aiders for the identification and treatment of heat related disorders.
• Monitor local radio stations for announcements regarding humidex readings.

1.3 Personal Protective Equipment
• Light summer weight clothing made from natural fibers should be worn (whenever possible) to allow free air movement and sweat evaporation. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics.
• If participating in outdoor activities, wear light coloured clothing.
• Students are encouraged to wear a sunscreen containing a minimum SPF of 15 when outdoors. Other protective measures include a brimmed hat and sunglasses with ultraviolet radiation protection.

student water

There are stations similar to this around Burlington now. will we see more of these in schools?

student fainting

Some students may succumb to the heat and faint – teachers are going to need some instruction.

1.4 Heat Related Illnesses
• People suffer heat-related illnesses when their body temperature rises rapidly and they are unable to properly cool themselves.
• Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
• People are generally unable to notice their own heat stress related symptoms. Their survival depends on the ability of others, especially adults, to recognize these symptoms and seek timely first aid and medical help.
• Staff should be aware of signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. When in doubt, seek assistance for the school’s qualified First Aiders for the identification and treatment of heat related disorders.
Stop activity and seek medical help immediately if someone:
• has difficulty breathing,
• experiences weakness or fainting,
• is feeling more tired than usual,
• is feeling sick,
• has a headache, and/or
• is experiencing confusion.

• Move the person to a shaded area or indoors to a cooler place. Give the person sips of cool water, not ice water, or a sports drink. Do not provide salt tablets. Although the body will lose a lot of water during times of heavy perspiration, not a lot of salt is lost. Adding extra salt can raise the sodium levels in the body to hazardous levels.

Only a doctor should advise on using salt additives.

Lot’s of detail – this week, so far, the humidex did reach that 35 degree level and the Board of Education didn’t issue any statements to the public generally.

This is a new situation – everyone is going to have to adapt – what steps the Board of Education is going to have to take are going to need some attention.

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REVISED| Aldershot high school may get a new purpose in life - public has been asked what they would like to see.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 26, 2017



The Halton District Board of Education is always looking for opportunities to make the course offerings more creative and relative to the work force students will be going into when they graduate.

During the PARC discussions members of that committee wanted to see some innovation – they weren’t at all sure that the school board had the same understanding of just what innovation is in the eyes of the public sector and the way it was interpreted by the private sector.

BT YA cheque presentation Aldershot

Small school – they roar when they have to.

The Board had an addition problem – enrollment at the Aldershot high school was low – 358 now with a capacity for 558. One school board Superintendent summed it up pretty well when she said “there are elementary schools in Burlington with higher enrollments”

Aldershot is a grade 7–12 school. It was originally just a high school that had grades 7 and 8 added in 2001 to make use of spare capacity.

Aldershot was at risk during the PAR process – it was spared but the Board knew that it had to do something to increase enrollment.

The community is being asked by the school board what they would like to see added to the school’s curriculum.

Aldershot school for ideas graphicAll kinds of ideas have been floated – an alternative school, an arts school or a school that focused on entrepreneurship. What had become evident was that the school board did not have a clear idea or pedagogical objective – they seemed to be flailing about for the “right idea”.

Given the continued enrollment challenges at Aldershot High School, the School Board decided to explore possible theme/magnet/incubator programs that are in alignment with the Multi-Year Plan, will increase student enrollment, and enhance student choice.

The asking for ideas is being labelled the Aldershot High School Focus Exploration.

The decision to go looking for something that will boost enrollment came out of the Program accommodation Review process – the concern was the possibility of closing yet another high school and have all the Aldershot students bused to Central high school. The political flash back from that was more than anyone wanted to take on.

ADI Masonry - Station West

Early rendering of the Station West development proposed for the Aldershot GO station area.

Aldershot is in the awkward position of having an older population that is going through a process of transition. There are a number of developments that will add significantly to the student population which includes the ADI Station West project next to the Aldershot GO Station; the National Homes project that is being proposed for Brant Street, a project on Plains Road where there is currently a Bingo Hall and then the long term upgrade to the Georgian Court Community.

Add to that the long delayed Eagle Heights project that Paletta interests have been sitting on for more than a decade.

Lots of development in the pipeline – the School Board’s problem is that it has empty seats today and needs to do something.

It will be interesting to see what gets put into the ideas box,

The School Board has said it “will explore (and potentially develop) unique programs that currently exist provincially, nationally and internationally.

Whatever they recommend will align with the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum expectations.

The request to the community for ideas ends on October 20th with the following meeting dates

Exploration Committee Meeting #1 – Oct. 24 (3 – 5 pm) @ Aldershot High School
Open House – Nov. 13 (5 – 7 pm) @ Aldershot High School
Exploration Committee Meeting #2 – Dec. 7 (3 – 5 pm) @ Aldershot High School
Exploration Committee Meeting #3 – Dec. 12 (3 – 5 pm) @ Aldershot High School

All those meetings are in the afternoon – doesn’t exactly encourage parent attendance. There are some really smart people in Aldershot that shouldn’t have to take time off work to participate.

portrait of Terri Blackwell

Superintendent  Terri Blackwell

portrait of Jacqueline Newton

Superintendent  Jacqueline Newton

portrait of Gord Truffen

Superintendent Gord Truffen

The ideas that come in are going to be sorted through by the committee formed to figure out what can be done with Aldershot. Committee members are Superintendent Jacqueline Newton, she handles the innovation file, Superintendent Gord Truffen – he oversees IT, School principal Maria McLellan, Student representation, Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of Education responsible for the Aldershot file and Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons

It will be interesting to see what they find in the Ideas Box.

In an earlier edition of this story we noted that the name of the ward trustee was not on the list.  The staff people we interviewed did not mention the name of the trustee.

They apologize for that error


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Tickets for David Suzuki visit to Burlington in November go on sale Wednesday afternoon.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

September 25, 2017



David Suzuki won’t get to Burlington until November – but if you want a ticket to the event – log into the Performing Arts Centre Wednesday – sometime after the noon hour and get your ticket. – They will move quickly.

vbhy mj

Jane Goodall spent time in Burlington in 2012 – she was a huge hit.

Burlington Green has been very good at bringing top name speakers to the city. Jane Goodall came in 2012 And was a huge success.

You can expect even more from Suzuki.

“We’re expecting tickets to sell very quickly. David Suzuki doesn’t come to this part of the province often,” says BurlingtonGreen executive director Amy Schnurr. “All summer we’ve heard how excited people are to hear him speak.”

“Grassroots people have been organizing in towns and cities like Hamilton and Burlington and asking our politicians to recognize our right to live in a healthy environment,” said David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. “For the first time in Canadian history, our elected members of parliament are coming around to the simple but powerful idea that Canadians deserve to drink safe water, breath fresh air and eat clean food.”

Both Hamilton and Burlington have passed declarations recognizing their residents’ right to live in a
healthy environment.


David Suzuki is a very engaging person. He dives right in and asks questions – younger audiences love him; adults revere him.

Before the public event, David Suzuki will join 700 Halton youth for a free all-day environmental leadership conference co-hosted by BurlingtonGreen and the David Suzuki Foundation.

“Youth have a vital role to play in the environmental rights movement,” says Peter Wood, national campaign manager for environmental rights at the David Suzuki Foundation. “Two years ago, students at Ancaster High School and Acton District High School self-organized and successfully lobbied their city Councillors to pass a declaration supporting the right to a healthy environment. By inspiring government to do the right thing, the youth of today can become the environmental leaders of tomorrow.”

Event information are available at or through the Burlington Performing Arts Centre box office.  The event doesn’t appear to be on the Performing Arts Centre web site – you might be better served to give them a call – 905-681-6000

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New principal at Gary Allan was named as an Outstanding leader who now manages a four campus school.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

September 25, 2017



The high school education I got – more than 60 years ago, is a lot different than the high school education Andrea Taylor got before she started her university studies at McMaster and then went on to Queen’s to do graduate work in education.

And the high school education that Taylor was responsible for delivering to students at M.M. Robinson high school where she was principal for five years was different yet again.

“It used to be that students had to fit into the mold the classroom teacher created” said Taylor – “now the classroom teacher has to find a way to fit into and work with what the students bring to the classroom. “There is no pigeon holing in schools today. The challenge today is huge and the dynamic is a lot different.”

“How do we prepare our high school students to develop careers in areas that don’t exist today? What are we preparing students for? We often don’t know but we do know that we can give them the tools they will need to grow and prosper.

“The challenges are immense.”

Today’s student has to deal with forces that are new to society. Student mental health was not an issue when Taylor was a high school student; today it is a prime concern for every principal in the system

Andrea Taylor

Andrea Taylor, principal at Gary Allan school.

Taylor was the recipient of a Learning Partnership award and named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2017. She was one of two principals named in Halton. The award is given to high school principals from across the country who are then brought together for a five-day leadership training program at the Rotman School of Management.

Taylor, born in Toronto, spent some time in Vancouver and returned to Toronto.

She is one of four girls in the family.

The system Andrea Taylor became a part of in the early 1990’s when she started out as a classroom teacher was not all that healthy province wide.

In 1998, Michael Fullan and British educator Andy Hargreaves co-authored “What’s Worth Fighting for in Education?” It was the beginning of a much different look at the way we were educating our children.

Fullan was the Dean of the Faculty of Education in 1988; and remained Dean following its amalgamation with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1996.

His work is what brought Ontario’s schools out of the troubled state they were in. “The system had flat lined across the province — results were stagnant year after year. Morale of teachers was low; the schools as a whole could be characterized as ‘loosely-coupled’ and without focus” claimed Fullan.

Fullan served as Special Policy Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario from 2004-2013. His work worked and by 2013, the overall performance of the almost 5,000 schools in the province had dramatically improved on most key measures and continues to improve to the point where Ontario is recognized as and proven to be one of the best school system in the English-speaking world — right up at the top with Finland, Singapore and South Korea.

PARC Andrea Taylor MMR with PARC member

Andrea Taylor in discussion with Steve Armstrong during the PARC meetings.

Taylor was part of that process as she moved from the elementary school level into high school, served as a vice principal and then was made principal of M.M. Robinson were she spent five years until her recent appointment as principal of Gary Allan – a school with four campuses and strong relationships with The Centre, a trade school that operates at arm’s length from the Board of Education, self funds but is tied into School Board policies.

Ontario had developed “from good to great.” The challenge now was to move from great to excellent.

“Greatness is the enemy of excellence because it is easy to be complacent, and take things for granted” claims Fullan.

The challenge now for educators like Taylor is to sustain improvement as well as go beyond it into new levels of learning through focused innovations.

Grade 3 reading

The exceptional improvement of the grade 3 reading scores is seen as a direct result of the introduction of full day kindergarten.

There were significant achievements: Literacy and numeracy improved from 54 per cent to 70 per cent on average across the province’s 4,000 elementary schools as measured by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

Those numbers are even better for 2016.

Graduation rates improved by about two per cent every year, bringing the province’s 900 high schools to an 82 per cent graduation rate from its starting point of 68 per cent.

Fullan tells us that “What really sticks with the external researchers and the numerous site visitors to the province’s schools from all over the world is what they see and hear when they visit schools. They can go into almost any school in the province and they will find consistency of good practice. When they ask teachers or principals to explain what they are doing and why, they get specific. Educators can point to particular actions and show the link to student learning. They know where each and every student is on the learning journey.”

Taylor was a classroom teacher and a principal during this period of significant change. Chosen as a one of the best principals in the country was recognition that she not only participated in the change but was one of the leaders

Ontario’s full-day kindergarten now has all 250,000 four and five year-olds in full-day kindergarten, the first program of its kind in North America

Instructional strategies have been modified in grades 1 and 2 to match the new capabilities and confidences of the children being served.

The superb, best ever results in Halton for grade 3 reading and writing is a reflection of the full day kindergarten program.

What all of the above means is that teachers, individually and collectively — and the system as a whole — know what they are doing. They are doing it because it works. They are intrinsically motivated to keep on improving.

They are driven not just because they care, but also because they are actually making a measurable difference that affects the lives of their students.

The public has also noticed. Public satisfaction with the education system has moved from 43% in 2004 to the present all-time high of 65 per cent.

Just what the 21st century is going to require of educators was a large part of the week long session Taylor spent at the Rotman School of Business Management University of Toronto where the group of 49 Outstanding Principals met each day with leaders from different professional groups.

Andrea Taylor +

Andre Taylor and Loui Silvestri the two Outstanding Principals in Halton for 2017.

“They explained the changes they saw coming and dialogued with us on how our schools were a critical part of preparing students for a world that is in a constant state of change”, said Taylor

In a paper “Energizing Ontario Education”, three core priorities were established:

• High levels of student achievement — in literacy and numeracy at 75 per cent and in high school graduation at 85 per cent.

• Reduced gaps in school achievement for all subgroups of students.

• Increased public confidence in publicly funded education — greater two- way partnership and confidence with parents, communities and the public at large.

Fullan talks from that 40,000 foot up level when he says “People have been talking about skills for the 21st century for at least a quarter of a century — a conversation marked by superficiality and vague notions of what it means. This is rapidly changing as new pedagogical specificity and powerful technology converge. Ontario now has the capacity to make pedagogy the foundation in learning through the use of technology and new digital resources. What makes this even more exciting is that the new work is already happening in many pockets across the province.”

Taylor is one of those “pockets”. “Teachers have that special relationship with their students” she said. “I never had a student I didn’t like” and quietly recalled a student that was lost due to an accident.

Taylor has hired some of the students she taught in high school and added – as they grow up they do get away from calling me Ms Taylor. Some never do she added with a kind of “perky” smile.

Schools don’t offer cookie cutter programs anymore. There is an almost a limitless list of courses they can take.

“Every student has a gift, the task is to discover that gift with the student and then nurture and grow it”, said Taylor.

“Teachers don’t stand in front of the classroom any more, they partner with their students and prepare them for a world that is confusing, fearful at times and prone to change every 30 days.”

Six c'sThe six Cs that Fullan brought to the table form the agenda: character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, and creativity and imagination.

Fullan explains that “As we delve into the meaning of these concepts, it is important to stress that we should not launch into an abstract discussion. In the next period of development, these core priorities must be defined, operationalized in practice, measured to mark success and to clarify progress. These next steps have to be widely shared because they work. This process of specificity and dissemination is our strength. We must put it to good use for the next phase of success.

“The capacity of educators in Ontario, as noted, is at such a high level as a result of the strategies of the past nine years that much of the leadership — what we might call leading from the middle — is already in the system. It needs to be cultivated and spread throughout the province, including establishing clarity of each of the six clusters and their interrelationships, learning experiences that develop the skills and dispositions in question, and the means of measuring and fostering progression in their development. But the middle cannot lead in a vacuum. Focused leadership from the government will continue to be essential for whole system excellence.”

Teachers use the six C’s which are defined as:

• Character education— honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.

• Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.

• Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with a variety of digital tools; listening skills.

• Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.

• Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.

• Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.

Some distance from the reading, writing and arithmetic – and that rote learning that was used when Taylor was an elementary school student.

Fullan adds that “The fundamental purpose of education in an excellent system is to produce in all of its graduates — as close to 100 per cent as possible — the quality of leadership. By that they mean the capacity and commitment to act for one’s own good and for the common good.”

Robotics NOT canada

Elementary students are taught to think creatively and solve problems.

When the province implemented Full Day Kindergarten it set in place programs that promote the development of self-regulation, social- emotional learning, inquiry skills, and play-based learning that fosters creativity, imagination and problem solving.

It is that vast and significant change that Taylor rode to the point where she now leads a program that wasn’t even thought of when she first became a teacher; heading up a school that has four campuses and a mandate to work with students who are as diverse as it gets and who are on learning curves that can range from catching up or taking a course that wasn’t available elsewhere.

The student body at Gary Allan ranges from late bloomer high school students to adults who are upgrading or getting a high school diploma that wasn’t available to them in their country of birth.

The Gary Allan school is just up the road from what used to be Elgin high school, it got renamed to Bateman when it was merged with what was General Brock. Now Bateman is scheduled to be closed.

It has indeed been a changing world for Andrea Taylor; one wonders what she will do at Gary Allan in the next five years.

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