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

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

September 25, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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 www.BurlingtonGreen.org 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

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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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Process of merging the Bateman student population into both M.M. Robinson and Nelson begins: architect appointed, Parent Council reps chosen.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Things are moving along on two different levels: Parents who harbour the hope that somehow the Board of Education decision to close two of the cities seven high schools can be reversed while the Board of Education staff proceeds cautiously in making the changes at Nelson to accommodate the students body currently at Bateman high school who are scheduled to transfer in 2020 and the Lester B. Pearson students who move to M.M. Robinson in September o 2018.

The parents are waiting to learn who the Facilitator (there might be more than one) will be. The province has yet to announce anyone to the task. Senior people at the Board of Education are wondering what is taking so long.
The Board is committed to continuing the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) Implementation plan, while cognizant of the ongoing Administrative Review by the Ministry of Education.

Jean Vanier secondary school

Jean Vanier secondary school: A Snyder design

The School Board appointed the firm of Snyder Architects Inc. to participate on the committees related to school consolidation. The job involves developing a variety of options, preparing the design details and developing the project management process needed to address the Burlington PAR outcomes for M.M. Robinson and Nelson High Schools that will expand and Lester B,Pearson and Bateman that will close.

Terri Blackwell Mar 7-17Terri Blackwell, the Superintendent of Education who is handling the implementation of the decision to merge the Bateman students into both Nelson and M.M. Robinson said: “It’s important that Snyder is involved early in the process, prior to design. They will be participating in the LBP/MMR integration committee and working with Board staff to design a variety of options for both M.M. Robinson and Nelson. As with our other facilities projects the process will also include opportunities for stakeholder feedback. It is important that Snyder is engaged in the conversations regarding the program and student needs in the creation of the two composite schools.

The project has specified timelines that schedule the work over several years. The Steering Committee will undertake a process in consultation with Snyder Architects Inc. to determine the final plans for each school. The timeline will align with the initiation of school integration committees and discussion around program changes, which will necessitate modifications to existing school buildings.

Bateman high school

Bateman high school – due to close in 2020.

Those school integration committee will include representation from the Parent Council’s from Pearson, Bateman, M.M. Robinson and Nelson.

In their media release the Board said: “The planning for and design of these facilities requires thoughtful consideration to meet the needs of our students, and therefore the input of an architect at this initial stage is integral,” said Gerry Cullen, Superintendent of Facilities Service for the Board.

Financing for the entire project has been requested from the Ministry in the 2017 Capital Priorities. The Board has the ability to stop the work at various stages of the project, if required.

Snyder Architects Inc. has successfully completed many projects for the Board, including new school construction (e.g., Martin Street PS, Oodenawi PS, Tiger Jeet Singh PS, P.L. Robertson PS), as well as additions/renovations of our schools; the Alton Village PS, Georgetown District HS.

“As a Board, we are committed to working with the students, staff and the community to support the facilities’ enhancements resulting from the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review,” adds Cullen.

The parent groups are in the process of selecting their representatives. Pearson has chosen:

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Steve Armstrong and Cheryl deLught – Parents on the School Council.

Chair – Steve Armstrong *

Co-Chair – Cheryl DeLugt *

Secretary – Amy DeZouza *

Alternate Secretary – Cassandra Wandham (a local student parent)

Treasurer – Siobhan Duguay

Community Representatives – Tony Brecknock * & George Ward *

Parent Involvement Committee Representative – Cheryl DeLugt *

Asterisks represent Save LB Pearson Committee members

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Three Burlington schools to be adopted by bookstores - purpose is to grow the libraries in those schools.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 23, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Did you know that there are school libraries in Burlington that can only afford to purchase one new book per year for every three children, leaving students without adequate access to resources for literacy development and overall growth.

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has announced their 2017 Indigo Adopt a School program which has named three Burlington schools that will be part of the program

Holy Rosary adopted by Indigo Spirit Mapleview Centre
Kings Road adopted by Chapters Burlington
Paul A. Fisher adopted by Indigo Burlington

The program runs from September 16 – October 8, 2017

There are several parts to the program.

Kids-Reading-on-Floor2-1024x768

There are schools that do not have funds to purchase books for their students.

The Adopt a school program
During the campaign, Indigo, its employees and their communities rally together to raise in-store donations and online donations with each dollar raised going towards transforming their adopted school’s library. The goal of Adopt a School is to add one book for every child to school libraries in high-needs communities and to raise awareness for the literacy challenges facing high- needs elementary schools.

All participating Indigo, Chapters, and Coles stores have “adopted” a local school to fundraise on its behalf during the three-week campaign period. To qualify for the program, all adopted schools must identify as “high-needs” elementary schools, having a library budget of less than $30 per student per year. During the campaign, Indigo employees together with their communities raise in-store donations, with every dollar contributed helping to transform their adopted school’s library.

In addition to in-store support, the Foundation provides a free online fundraising platform to all the schools that have been “adopted” by Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores, as well as over 350 other high-needs elementary schools across Canada. The online platform, adoptaschool.indigo.ca, allows supporters to find a participating school of their choice to support. Each participating school is also eligible to receive up to an additional $1,200 for books through the Foundation’s matching initiatives.

Books - boy reading

Reading at a very early stage sets a foundation for the education needed in a society where information is vital.

All schools participating in the Adopt a School program receive 100% of the funds raised in-store and online at adoptaschool.indigo.ca. At the end of the campaign, the Foundation will provide each school with their funds as an eGiftcard for the purchase of books. In addition, the schools will receive a 30% discount on books at Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores.

Book Bonus! – For every $20 donation online (adoptaschool.indigo.ca), the equivalent value of two books, made to a participating school, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation will contribute a donation of $10, the equivalent of one extra book, up to $1,000.

Adopt a School Story Contest
Canadians can also get involved by sharing a short story on the online profile of a participating school, with an option to “heart” their favourite stories. In each province, the top five schools with the most “heart” stories will have a chance to win a top prize of $2,500 Indigo eGiftcard to purchase new books. The remaining four schools in each province will receive $500 Indigo eGiftcard for new library resources. The top prize will be selected by random draw.

Tell a Story, Give a Story! – Through adoptaschool.indigo.ca, supporters are able to submit a story in support of a participating school of their choice, with no donation required. For every story shared, the Foundation will donate $10, the equivalent of a book to support the students at that school, up to $200.

Books - Indigo graphicSince its inception in 2004, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has committed over $25 million to support more than 3,000 Canadian high-needs elementary schools. The Foundation has impacted the lives of more than 900,000 students, replenishing school libraries in every Canadian province and territory.

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All 21 Ontario universities will have representatives at Assumption Catholic high school on Wednesday the 27th.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 22, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Representatives from Ontario’s 21 universities will be in Burlington at Assumption Catholic Secondary School on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., for the University Information Program (UIP).

Assumption is located at 3230 Woodward Avenue, Burlington L7N 3P1

Assumption map

Assumption high school location – 3230 Woodward avenue

This free event offers high school students from the surrounding area, and their parents, the opportunity to speak in-person with multiple university representatives. Any high school students in the area are welcome to attend, regardless of which school board their school belongs to.

The UIP offers students who are considering an Ontario university the opportunity to learn more about admission requirements, scholarships, residence, the application process, campus life and much more.

The event is designed to assist graduating high school students in making an informed decision before they apply to university in January 2018. The event also aims to help younger students with high school course selections in order to guide them toward future university programs.

Students and their parents will have the opportunity to learn more about Ontario’s 21 universities in either a fair- or presentation-style format, where they can visit each Ontario university representative individually.

University - UofT

One of the 21 universities that will be in Burlington to tell their story.

The UIP is hosted exclusively by Ontario universities. Each university participates in joint visits to high schools across the province each fall. Each UIP event is organized by the University Information Program Working Group with oversite from the Standing Committee on Student Recruitment, and the Ontario University Registrars’ Association.

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Hayden high school students recognized by Regional police for a video on crime prevention.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 21st, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Students at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School have received an award from the Halton Regional Police Service for their work on a Crime Prevention project.

Earlier this year, members of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau and the 3 District Regional Community Mobilization Bureau challenged local students to produce a video for their community with a crime prevention theme. This is the first year the Halton Regional Police Service has implemented this initiative.

HRPS student video award

From left to right – Christopher Rosser, Suzanne Pierce, Sergeant Stephen Siomra, Lindsay Hepburn, Detective Constable Jacqueline Ross, Olivia Conn, Shawna Johnson, Colin Crawford, Detective Sergeant Ron Hansen, Detective Phil Vandenbeukel.

On September 11, 2017 the winning students attended 30 Division in Burlington to receive an award for their theft awareness video. Halton Regional Police Service would like to congratulate the participating students for their hard work and their help in assisting police in bolstering public safety.

The video – short – less than a minute,  Check it out HERE

Crime prevention is the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of crime risk, and taking action to remove or reduce it.

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Elementary students score very well on their mathematics, reading and writing tests. Board wants to add more oomph to the math side.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 21st, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) results for the elementary students in Halton are the highest the Board has every received.

elementary student examThe Halton District School Board achieved its highest results ever in Grade 3 Reading and Grade 6 Reading and Writing. Halton students continue to perform above the provincial average.

These results are based on assessments completed in the 2016-2017 school year for primary and junior students in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

Grade 3 readingIn Grade 3:
• Reading: Results show a three percentage point gain from the previous year in Reading from 79% to 82% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average is 74%.

• Writing: The results show that 79% of students attained the provincial standard, an increase from 78% last year, while the provincial average is 73%.

• Math: Halton results remain unchanged at 70% compared to the previous year, even though the provincial average dropped one percentage point from last year to 62%.

Grade 6 reading resultsIn Grade 6:
• Reading: Results increased from the previous year by two percentage points to 87% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average remains at 81%. The past five years have seen an overall growth of 5% in Junior Reading.

• Writing: Results show an increase from the previous year from 85% to 86% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average decreased to 79%. In the past five years, there has been an overall increase of 6% in Junior Writing.

• Math: Halton math results increased by one percentage point to 57% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard. The provincial average remains unchanged in Grade 6 Mathematics with 50% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard.

While the Board is pleased with the overall EQAO results, having achieved higher than the provincial results in all six categories of the primary and junior assessments, the Halton District School Board recognizes the need to improve, particularly in the area of math.

“While the news is good, we do recognize we have work to do, specifically, Junior Mathematics is an area of growth, as it is for school boards across Ontario,” says Tina Salmini, Superintendent of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“The province has initiated a Renewed Math Strategy and our Board’s Mathematics Improvement Plan is aligned with it. This will remain a key focus for our Board over the next several years.”

This work includes:

• A focus on Mathematics leadership across the Board
• Professional learning to support our teachers in mathematics instruction and assessment
• Investment in high quality resources and training for these resources in every school

Boag David

Associate Director of Education, David Boag

“We recognize our staff members make a significant impact on students each and every day,” says David Boag, Associate Director for the Halton District School Board. “We applaud our families and students for their hard work, support and partnership. This partnership is acknowledged when we say, ‘Together, we inspire every student to learn, grow and succeed.’”

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Halton students are doing better than the provincial average in grade 9 math - but the marks at the applied level are nothing to brag about.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 21, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The data gathered province wide by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) shows Halton District School Board students outperforming the province in Grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics, and on the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

Secondary students must write the OSSLT as a requirement of graduation.

For Grade 9 Math, there are different assessments for students in the academic and applied courses. On the Grade 9 Academic Math assessment, 92% of students achieved the provincial standard, which is a 2% increase from the previous year’s result. The provincial average remained the same at 83% of students achieving the provincial standard.

Grade 9 math

Halton students are doing well in the academic mathematics program. There was some slippage in the applied mathematics program. No comment from the Board on where the slippage is taking place or why the slippage is taking place.  While Halton is above the provincial average – grades just above 50% are barely above a pass.

In total, there were 3,484 students enrolled in the Academic Math course in 2016-2017.

For the 619 students in the Applied Math course, 52% attained the provincial standard in 2016-2017, a three percentage point decrease from the previous year. Since last year, the provincial average decreased by one percentage point from 45% to 44%.

Secondary literacyThe OSSLT results for 2016-2017 were also released today. The Halton District School Board’s success rate for students writing the test for the first time decreased by one percentage point to 87%, while the provincial average remained the same as last year at 81%. The overall results for the OSSLT demonstrate that students in Halton continue to have strong literacy skills.

Julie Hunt Gibbons, Superintendent of Education commented that: “We continued to have strong results on the Grade 9 Academic Math and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.”  She added “We will continue to implement our Math strategy with a specific focus for improvement on Grade 9 Applied Math achievement.”

That number of 619 students seems kind of low for a Board of Education that has 18,500 + secondary students. Are enough of our students getting the math proficiency they need?

Wonder too what the gender split is for those 619 students.

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District school board puts its meeting broadcasts on a Facebook page .

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 20, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board has gotten into the broadcasting business.

Their public meetings are web cast live and saved to a Facebook channel.

HDSB Facebook channelThat channel is

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxrQzpKPvwi2QHRhSF4zffA

Book mark it.

For everything BEFORE September 1st, 2017 – videos of Board meetings are at:

https://www.hdsb.ca/our-board/Pages/Board%20of%20Trustees/Board-agenda-and-minutes.aspx

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Parents get to comment on Student Success: Creating a Culture of Equity, Inclusion & Well-Being.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 19th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board’s Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) will be hosting the 10th Annual Parent Engagement Conference on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton (1151 Ferguson Drive). The theme of the conference, held from 8:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m., will be, 21st Century Student Success: Creating a Culture of Equity, Inclusion & Well-Being. Registration is open.

This year’s conference features keynote speaker Candy Palmater (Canadian activist, comedian and award-winning TV and CBC radio personality) on ‘The Road Less Travelled: Educational Leadership in a Diverse World’.

candy palater

Candy Palmater, social activist and a great entertainer. She is worth the drive to Milton

From student council president in a small rural high school and valedictorian of her law school class to obtaining a Master of Education and appearing in a national TV show, Palmater’s accomplishments are unique and inspiring. She has made strides in public service at the federal and provincial level, delving into issues around self-acceptance and diversity in her motivational talks and comedy routines. She will, through words of guidance and personal stories, share her passionate perspective on equity, self- acceptance and inclusivity.

The theme of this year’s PIC conference will provide a variety of engaging workshops that address topics such as mathematics, literacy, promoting positive mental health for students, career pathways, diversity and healthy friendships.

HDSB PIB Milton 2017The Halton District School Board recognizes the important role parents play in the development of their children and in their success at school. The annual PIC conference provides parents/guardians with the opportunity to network, share ideas, offer input and enjoy informative presentations on various education related topics throughout the school year.

No mention in the media release on how parents can protect the schools they have in their neighbourhoods

Registration form

 

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Students who arrive at school with empty stomachs need support.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 19th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Every teacher in the Region realizes that if a student is hungry, if they did not have a breakfast the chances of that student absorbing what is being taught are rather slim

And there are students at high schools in Burlington who get to school without a full breakfast in their stomachs.

halton-learning-foundation

Halton Learning Foundation executive offices.

The Halton Learning Foundation was created to develop a source of funds to fill these gaps in the lives of students.

Nicole, is a high school student who lives with her father who is financially limited.

Her mother lives in a care facility due to her very high medical needs.

Nicole works at a part time job to help support the family financially, while also juggling her school work.

Funds from Halton Learning Foundation help Nicole purchase food for school lunches, as well as toiletries.

Her need was identified by teacher at her school. The request for funding is sent to the Foundation by the school principal.

Lesley Mansfield

Halton Learning Foundation Executive Director Lesley Mansfield.

Lesley Mansfield, the Executive Director of the Foundation, is on top of every request for financial support. “If the need is desperate we can have funds in the hands of a student before 3:00 pm if we are made aware of the need by 9:00 am”.

Last school year the Foundation met 780 requests for financial support; the year before that the number was 657 requests – a year over year increase of 17%. Mansfield does not expect the number to decrease.

The Foundation is supported by corporations and the Halton District School Board teachers. They hold an annual Benefit Bash to raise the $800,000 plus that is needed each year.

While the economy of the country and financial conditions in the Region are good – there are some who are not able to participate in the prosperity. They need help – that help comes from people like you.

If this is something you would like to direct your donations to – look at their web site and see if this is something you want to be part of. For more detail – give Lesley Mansfield a call – she is one of those people who somehow makes a work day last more than eight hours.

Related news story:

What the Foundation does on a day to day basis.

Nicole is not the real name of the student; the situation however is very real.

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What if ...

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the near future there will be an announcement on the appointment of a Facilitator who will review the request for an Administrative Review of the Halton District School Board trustee decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

There was a request from the parents at Pearson high school and a request from the parents at Bateman high school for Administrative reviews.

The bar to getting a review was not low – the parents had to show they had wide community support.

The Facilitator will meet with each parent group and meet with the Board of Education staff for reaction from them.

And in the fullness of time there will be a response.

What if – the Facilitator decides there was enough wrong with the process and recommends that the PAR be done again?

PARC with options on the walls

Would another PAR Committee be formed?

The Board would, we think, have to create a new Program Accommodation Review (PAR)  and put a new recommendation forward. Would a new recommendation be any different than the first which was to close Pearson and Central and then revised to close Pearson and Bateman?

Assume all this happens.

Would the current Board of Trustees act any differently?

The power to make a decision exists at the Board of Trustee level and that group does not appear to be in touch with the sentiment in the community.

Unfortunately the Burlington communities are quite fractured – making it difficult for the trustees to make a decision.

Central demo #4

The Central parents were out early and they spared no effort to make sure they told their story.

Central high school parent care only that their school not be closed. They put forward very solid arguments and did a superb job of rallying the parents and focusing the concerns.

The Pearson parents didn’t have anywhere near the resources that Central had and there was a lingering unwillingness to be as bold and as forward as the Central parents were.

The Batman parents failed to read the tea leaves.

The issue the trustees were given was that Burlington has 1800 classroom seats with no students in them. (We appreciate the 1800 number is debatable.) If this was true, it was evident the moment the first map showing where the high schools were located that Batman was at significant risk. They failed to see that until their name was on the list of schools to be closed and while they have done a decent job of getting their story out they have not shown an ability to work with the Pearson parents and create a united front.

PAR presentation - ay Bateman Nov 2 HDSB

That empty room was a damaging and telling statement made by the Bateman parents.

The Bateman grievances are real. They have every reason to feel that they have not been heard. Part of the reason is they didn’t say very much early in the game when it counted.

Given all the turmoil within the different parent groups is it any wonder that the trustees took the safe route and went with the recommendation they were given by the Director of Education?

There was within all the options put before the trustees one that would have given the community the time it needed to take a long hard look at just what Burlington has in the way of high schools and what it needs now and what will be needed ten years from now.

Option 7 - short

Option 7 – close no schools – was on the table but it didn’t get a lot of support from the PARC – this tally was 8 out of 14.

Option number 7 was to not close any schools and take some time to determine just what future needs were going to be. Much of the data the Board staff put forward was suspect and didn’t stand up to the scrutiny the PAR tried to impose.

The public may have expected the trustees to make that kind of decision – the current board of trustees just isn’t up to that task.

Someone is going to have to come forward and pull the parent groups together and hammer out what they collectively want and take whatever consensus they can find to the Board administration and the trustees.

And then begin looking for trustee candidates across the Region to fill those seats with people who are up to the task.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions of the publisher of the Gazette

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Pearson high school parent group meets with the Mayor

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 14, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

“You may have already had some feedback about the meeting with the Mayor, but wanted to provide some initial thoughts” said Steve Armstrong who was part of the four member delegation that spent an hour and a half with the Mayor and his Chief of Staff Mike Greenlee.

“Overall it went very well. Once the initial uncertainties melted away about our agenda we were able to have a productive discussion.

LBP Steve PARC

Steve Armstrong, a Pearson parent who did some of the best analytical work on the enrollment numbers.

“We brought some reasoned perspective to the table, and have promised to follow up with information backing up our talking points.

The Mayor agreed to a follow up discussion after he has had time to digest, and reflect more on the perspectives that he was given by the delegation.

That the meeting went longer then was scheduled, “is testament to a genuine interest.”

LBP George Ward + Rory Nisen

Rory Nissan exchanging contact information with George Ward – both went on to become strong members of the high school group fighting to keep their school open.

Rory Nisan who was also part of the delegation came away with basically the same impression. “The Mayor listened and we felt we were heard. He asked real questions.” The delegation talked about the population changes that are going to take place in the city and who was going to buy the homes that were being sold.

The group of seven were able to give the Mayor information he said he was not aware of. Additional information is to be put together and sent along to the Mayor. What will come out of the meeting? Depends on what and how he Mayor gets back to the Pearson parents with.

Nisan didn’t want to go on the record about some of the conversation other than to say that the group felt they had made their point and that they would be providing the Mayor with additional detail.

LBP George Ward 2

George Ward.

George Ward, another member of the delegation who has some very strong views on the decision to close Pearson high school was expected to be very direct with the Mayor.

He came away impressed, saying it was an excellent meeting and that the Mayor summarized what had been covered very well.

Let’s watch and see how the follow up with the delegation goes.

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Pearson parents meeting with the Mayor - there might be some sparks.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Later today a small delegation from Pearson high school will be meeting with the Mayor during one of the Open Door sessions he holds for citizens who want to meet with him

Girl with T-shirt LBPH

Showing the school colours.

Pretty clear what the Pearson parents want to talk about – they want to know just where the Mayor was when the decision on closing schools was made. Those Pearson parents don’t buy the argument that it was just a school board trustee decision.

The Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process that took place made provision for representation from the city – the Mayor chose to pass that task along to his city manager James Ridge and had the temerity to say at a city council meeting that he, the Mayor, couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to represent the city.

Podrebarac and Ridge

Steve Podrebarac on the left and Burlington city manager James Ridge at a school board PAR meeting.

At the time Ridge had been city manager for about 18 months, was not a native of the city and probably could not have named the seven high schools in the city.

Ridge attended most of the PAR meetings, spoke twice. On one of those occasions he said the school board should not sell any land. The school board isn’t permitted to just sit on land it owns – they have to use it or lose it. When they do sell the land, which a decision the Board makes when they declare the land surplus.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl DeLught and Steve Armstrong – part of the Pearson delegation.

When the Board makes that decision there is a hierarchy of organizations that have the right to purchase the land – the city is on that list. The city could be negotiating with the school board to move some of its staff into Pearson to keep the building until the city has a better view of just what the student population is going to be.

All the Grow BOLD discussion taking place are making mention of a population that is going to climb from the current 186,000 to something in the 215,000 range. Will there not be some students in amongst those new residents?

Hopefully the Pearson people meeting with the Mayor today will be bold and suggest that the city get onside.

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Four Halton residents have tested positive for West Nile virus; threat exists until the first frost.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 11, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Four Halton residents have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These are the first human cases for Halton this year.

wev

wev

“The Halton Region Health Department works diligently to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in our community through both education and preventative programs such as larviciding. Until the fall frost, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites,” said Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region.

“While 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, others will have West Nile fever consisting of fever, headache, muscle ache and a rash. If residents are concerned or experiencing symptoms, I would encourage them to visit their health care professional.”

Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas and in places that hold standing water such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires.

Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

As part of its ongoing West Nile prevention program, Halton Region staff continually monitor areas of standing water, eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and larvicide when mosquito larvae is found.

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Learning Foundation provides a critical front line level of support to students in need - that need rose more than 15% between 2015 and 2016.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are in the classroom and that first week of being back at it is done for the high school students.

The teaching teams have done their updates and gotten caught up and now the getting on with the business of educating them and turning them into responsible, productive and accountable adults can begin.

But for some students – it isn’t going all that well. There will have been some disappointments, perhaps a disaster. A good teacher can spot the kid who is having a tough time with less than a glance.

They will look for a way to give the student a chance to talk – more often than not the teacher is already aware of the problems.

halton-learning-foundation

The Foundation works out of a portable – with the washrooms in a seperate building.

Sometimes it’s a school supplies issue, sometimes the student doesn’t have clothing – shoes are usually an issue for some students. And we aren’t talking about their having the latest fashion – we are talking about shoes that are not bursting at the seams.

Burlington is part of the Halton Learning Foundation, a group of people who are in place to do something about the needs of students who aren’t able to fend for themselves financially.

While Burlington is seen as a wealthy community that tolerates gas prices that are three to four cents higher per litre than in neighbouring communities, there are still a lot of people that live very close to, if not below, the poverty line

The cost of rental housing doesn’t help this part of the population either.

The close to dire financial straits for many households extends to those who are students.

Lesley Mansfield

Lesley Mansfield, Executive Director of the Halton Learning Foundation, presenting to the Board of Education.

The Halton Learning Foundation is headed up by Lesley Mansfield, a woman with solid experience in the private sector and the ability to make the needs known to those who can help.

Mansfield will tell you that if there is a student need and she is made aware of it by 10 am – she can have funds in the hands of a student by 3:00 pm

All the requests that come to her office get there via a call from a school principal.

Mansfield’s job is to administer the requests and then get out into the field and raise the funds. She isn’t at the chicken feed level. The Halton Learning Foundation is edging towards the million dollar operation.

Along with raising and allocating the funds she is also a full time advocate for the Foundation and the people that need help.

Mansfield is a big advocate of thanking people. She doesn’t just say thank you – she does what you would call a “full Monty” thank you.  Every donation to the Foundation is followed up with a report on how the funds were spent.

She looks you in the eye and let’s you know that what you have given is more than appreciated.

In 2015 the Foundation met 657 requests for help

In 2016 the figure was 780 – a 17% increase. Mansfield doesn’t see that number getting smaller.

Her approach is to say yes to every request – she relies on the input from the teachers who know the students better than anyone else.

Mansfield tells the Board of Trustees that the Foundation is their charity – “we are here to support your students in your schools”.

Lesley Mansfield

Lesley Mansfield serves as the Executive Director of the Halton Learning Foundation and is a consistent advocate for supporting students while they complete a high school education.

The Foundation is an arm’s length non-profit corporation that is linked with the school board but not a part of it. Her route to the classrooms and the students is through the Board of Education.

The Board provides space for the Foundation – in a portable with the washrooms in a separate building. Technical support and some maintenance is the sum total of what the Foundation gets from the Board of Education.

Mansfield realizes she is part of a larger community initiative. There is the Food4Kids organization that provides lunches for students. A number of churches in Burlington have meal programs; there is also a food banks that can be used.

The work the Halton Poverty Council does and the exceptional work Joey Edwardth does at Community Development Halton support the thinking and strategic planning that is essential for a city like Burlington as it struggles to come to grips with a problems that is growing.

There is a single solution to the poverty issue – give these people an income or the means to earn an income.

And to earn that income people need jobs.

And to get a decent job one needs an education.

HLF logoThe Foundation is the organization that ensures the essentials are available to students in our classrooms which makes HLF close to the critical fulcrum in the process of getting people out of poverty.
The people who work with those who have needs they cannot meet believe there is a single solution to the poverty issue – give these people an income or the means to earn an income.

And that is the level Lesley Mansfield works at. She provides the support for the students in the high schools who are working at getting an education so they can get jobs and earn the income they need to become productive citizens.

Their perspective is that getting an education means being able to go on the field trips; having the glasses they need to be able to see the white board or see the ball in the gymnasium. It means providing fees for being part of an extra-curricular group.

Lesley has dozens of stories about how the help gets to her office.  She gets a new one almost every day of the week.  Last year an organization learned of what the Foundation does – they were clothing manufacturers – and donated 400 good quality winter coats.

hlf-posterThe Foundation holds an annual Benefit Bash in November – it is their prime fund raising event.

Revenue levels have been fairly consistent – over $800,000 annually. Mansfield can see the need rising – it continues to increase in Halton which is why they have embarked upon a campaign to raise $1.6 million in the next four years. They want to continue to be able to say “yes” to every request that comes into HLF from the principals to help a student in need.

sherri-armstrong-hs-hlf

Sherry Armstrong handles marketing and promotion – and anything else that needs doing – for the Foundation

The Foundation is run by three people – their salaries are paid for by the Foundation. There is an opportunity there for the Board of Education to find a way to take on that cost so that there is more money getting into the hands that need it.

There is some lobbying needed to bring that about.

The HLF is part of an eco-system that does what it can to ensure that those with real day to day needs are served with dignity and respect.

This city is fortunate to have these people in place.

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Getting a trustee and a city council member to release the content of their texts during a school board meeting has yet to be productive.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

The original headline on this article has been revised: a reader took exception to the use of the phrase: “pulling teeth from hens” which she felt was sexist.  We didn’t see it that way and that certainly wasn’t our intention.

This is begining to feel like we are trying to pull teeth from hens: just release the documents.

A number of weeks ago the Gazette asked Ward 1 and 2 school board trustee Leah Reynolds if she would send us the complete contents of the texts she sent and received from Marianne Meed Ward during the June 7th Board of Education meeting. That was the meeting at which the trustees decided to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

We asked the same question of Marianne Meed Ward who is member of city council and served on the Program Accommodation Review committee that was not able to arrive at a consensus or send a direction or recommendation to the Director of Education and to the trustees.

Some would argue that writing a direction or recommendation was not part of their mandate. So?

Everyone seems to share the view that the process was flawed – any comment from the members of that PARC would have been welcome – and might have given the trustees a clearer sense as to what was wrong with the process used.

Reynolds replied to our request with the following:

Reynolds with Roberts rules

Trustee Reynolds had a heavy book marked edition of Robert Rules of Order – clearly came to the meeting prepared to fight a procedural battle – with a parents who is also a member of city council “coaching” her from the public gallery.

Thank you for your question, which I would have gladly provided to you earlier if asked.

Before, during and after meetings, I – as do all trustees – receive messages, questions and concerns from constituents and parents. As confirmed by the Chair at the June 7th and the June 21st meetings that communication does not violate any code of conduct nor is it contrary to any Board policy. As elected officials, hearing from our communities is part of the democratic process and the right of constituents to freedom of expression. While I cannot control who or what information parents or constituents send me, it is my job to listen and to take it into consideration to inform my questions and decision.

School closure conversations are difficult and the decisions are not desired by all of the residents of our community. My remarks were recorded on June 7 on why I supported the director’s report. Let me know if you want them.

The question was – would she send the texts that were exchanged by Meed Ward and Reynolds – which she chose not to answer.

We asked the same question of Meed Ward – we copied each of them on the separate message sent which was as follows:

I am putting together an article on how the Board of Trustees arrived at the decision they did to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

The communication between you and Trustee Reynolds during the debate are part of that story. Would you be good enough to send me all of the texts that you sent to Reynolds during the meeting.

If you wish please feel free to add any comment on the context within which the texts were sent.
Thank you – hope you and the family had a great summer.

Meed Ward came back with:

There is nothing to send. There was no communication during debate of the school closure motions.
As has been previously explained, the communication via text was related to a procedural matter prior to any discussion of the motions themselves, specifically a ruling of the chair on what order motions would be heard.

MMW typing

Marianne Meed Ward texting messages to trustee Leah Reynolds during a Board of Education meeting. Some of the content appeared to be instructions on how to vote on a procedural matter.

There was never a risk of motions not being debated; the issue was simply in what order – simultaneously or sequentially. Getting procedure right protects the outcome of any subsequent vote, thus protecting everyone’s interests including those making this an issue.

The communication had nothing to do with the votes on the school closure motions themselves, and no impact on them.

In the end the chair’s ruling was upheld 7-4 by trustees, the debate and votes on the dual campus and school closures proceeded simultaneously for another three hours. There was no communication during these debates and votes.

My communication is no different than the many emails or texts that were sent by other parents to trustees through the meetings. What makes this different and why it has become a story is because someone read and photographed private correspondence, published it on social media, then misrepresented the substance of the text in a broadcast news story. There was no effort to contact me directly for the truth about the communication, simply a rush to judgment with the aim of social shaming, via the press and social media.

That Ms Meed Ward is precisely the point –part of what you texted was read and it didn’t look all that good. Let the public see every word that was passed between the two of you – they will figure it out.

Some folks have willingly engaged in character assassination as a tactic to save their school. I understand the emotions involved in having your school on the closure list – having lived with it for the previous 6 months. But the ends don’t justify the means. We need to do better than this, especially on difficult issues like school closures. Thankfully the vast majority of citizens have been respectful in sharing their views and making their case throughout this process with facts and evidence, and without personal attacks.

I think there is a splitting of hairs here – the little bit of the texting that the public was able to see appeared to be directions from Meed Ward to trustee Reynolds.

The Bateman community managed to interest CHCH television in the story.  The ran a piece on their newscast – link to that broadcast is HERE.

There is considerable concern within the community on just what happened. We have no idea what the two woman were up to. If there is a public concern both woman have an obligation to release whatever the content of the texts were – with time stamps on them.

Related news stories:

Bateman parents want an investigation.

Parents want trustee suspended.

Parent admits sending message – she wasn’t just any parent either

 

 

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Trustee Reynolds provides her rationale for voting to have Bateman and Pearson high schools closed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette has been communicating electronically with Board of Education trustee Leah Reynolds about the texts that took place between Reynolds and Marianne Meed Ward, a PAR member while it existed. The texts were exchanged during the Board meeting at which the decision was made to close two of the city’s seven high schools. That request for that information has yet to be reported on.

While waiting for the text data, Ward 1 and 2 Halton Board of Education trustee Leah Reynolds sent in the following comment on her controversial vote for the closing of two of the seen high schools in Burlington.

Leah Reynolds with students

Board of Education trustee for \Wards 1 and 2 Leah Reynolds in discussion with students from Central high school.

Reynolds represents Central High school which was on the original list of schools recommended for closure. The Director of Education revised his list of recommendations and removed Central and added Bateman, Pearson was on the original list and remained on that list.

Reynolds provides some background on the decision making process she went through.

“In October of 2016 I did not support engaging a Program Accommodation Review (PAR) . My concern at that time was the recommendation excluded an important stakeholder (representation from grade 7 and 8). Notwithstanding that roughly one third of both schools population receive programming directly within Aldershot and Burlington Central schools, this group had no right to voice opinion on the high school closure at the PAR discussion table.” Reynolds said at the time that “This revised motion does not negatively impact these Grades 7 and 8 students.”

“Through the PAR discussions, I learned the extent in which Burlington students lacked equity of opportunity in program and as pointed out by my trustee peers – also across Halton. Low enrolments at 5 out of 7 high schools meant students can’t get the classes they need. Since the future of our children depends on what they are exposed to having a variety of course selections including skilled trades in every high school is paramount. We know that critical mass is important to allow students voice and choice and to provide multiple pathway options and to graduate. To obtain needed courses, Burlington students are confronted with the prospect of changing schools, taking classes online, attending summer schools or even taking another year of school.”

“This report (the revised recommendation) speaks to the importance of maintaining a community school in each area of Burlington. The overlapping geographical catchment of Bateman and Nelson and MM Robinson and Pearson allows students to receive programming within their local community. It also provides a new state of the art purpose-built composite school in the South and increased programming in the North. This report speaks to the values of delivering education closer to where students live, thus reducing bus ride times. All of the changes are meant to improve the delivery of the mandatory Ontario English curriculum.”

“Currently, we are spending money keeping underutilized buildings open that could be used to improve programming for all students. In light of the information learned throughout the PAR including the many emails and phone calls I have gotten from parents and students, I believe this recommendation puts the best interests of all student first, for the long term.”

“I recognize” said Reynolds that “ some will not be happy I have changed my position on school closures and weighed my decision on sound facts. This is not about me, it’s about what is in the best interest of all HDSB students.”

MMW + Leah Reynolds

City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward at her nomination meeting in 2014 with Leah Reynolds who was nominated at the same time for the Board of trustees

Full disclosure: During 2016 I spent time with Leah Reynolds mentoring her on the role of a city Councillor. Directed her to significant city of Burlington publications: Procedural bylaw, copies of the Operational and Capital budget binders and discussed with her the Standing Committee structure as well as what was entailed in serving as a Regional Councillor.

Reynolds was interested in moving from her role as a trustee to that of a city Councillor. We met on five or six occasions – always in a coffee shop for several hours on each occasion.

Those mentoring meetings ended when the PAR process began.

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Experiencing how a community rallies to support a devastated family.

One of the younger runners enters the home stretch of the Terry Fox 5k run. Many his age did a second go around to make it a 10k run.

One of the younger runners enters the home stretch of the Terry Fox 5k run. Many his age did a second go around to make it a 10k run.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Par

September 9th 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The way in which a community comes together to support a family that has been devastated is something to behold.

Hundreds upon hundreds of people in Burlington and those involved in any way with what Casey Cosgrove did in and for Burlington, have rallied and moved in to support the family during a very hard time.

Daughter Kate, who now wants to be called XXX, on the lft with wife Bryana centre and Casey on the right figuring out which streets in Alton were covered.

Casey with his wife and daughter out on the streets in the Alton community distributing flyers door to door for the Terry Fox run – this was in 2013.

One group has taken on the task of preparing meals.

Another has set up a Gofundme campaign to raise funds to ensure that the three children are able to complete their education.

Last week the lineup of people at the Wave Twin Rinks, Pub 21 wound down the stairs and outside the building; an amazing turnout.

One can only guess at how many people are going to show up at the annual Terry Fox run on Sunday the 17th – everyone will be a Team Casey participant.

A few hours after the run there will be a celebration of Casey’s life at the Burlington Convention Centre on Burloak between 4 and 6 pm.

The people who set up the Gofundme account described what they were setting out to the with the Memorial Education Fund.

“After being diagnosed in 2010 with stage 4 Lung Cancer and enduring a courageous 7 year battle against all odds, our dear Casey has left us to battle on without him. Ever optimistic and ready to push headlong into the next trial, Casey showed us all the true meaning of courage, bravery, positivity, spirit, and strength. Casey always donated his time and energy to several community causes and was ever present as a Champion for the Terry Fox Foundation, working tirelessly to help bring the Terry Fox Mile Marker to Burlington. He touched hundreds of people, leaving a lasting impression of what a true Hero is. Any contributions that can be made to help with educational costs for his three loving children Evan, Jack and Kate would be greatly appreciated.

The Casey Cosgrove Memorial Education fund web site is HERE

Our last interview with Casey Cosgrove.

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Some detail on the school closing Administrative Review are becoming clearer.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 8th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There isn’t going to be just the one Administrative Review – there will be separate reviews for each of the two high schools that took exception to the Board of Education to close them.

A response from the Ministry said they have “approved two separate requests for administrative reviews of the Halton DSB’s Burlington Secondary Program and Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) involving Robert Bateman High School and Lester B. Pearson High School.

“The ministry reviewed the requests and determined that both met the criteria for the appointment of a facilitator to undertake an administrative review.

Protest outside board office

Pearson was at risk from the very beginning.

They further advised that the “selection process for the facilitator to lead this review is underway and the successful candidate will be appointed as soon as possible. Once appointed, the ministry informs the lead petitioner and the board.

“The facilitator will be focused on reviewing the board’s accommodation review process and its consistency with the board’s accommodation review policy. Upon selection, it will be up to the facilitator to determine the overall course and structure of the review.

Timelines will depend on the circumstances in each review and the findings of the reviewers.

PAR HDSB Parents at Bateman

Bateman high school had a very tough time overcoming the time they lost during the early stages of the PAR –  Program Accommodation Review. They had a strong story – it just wasn’t being told.

Sources within the Board of Education said that their role is to comply with the direction from the facilitator and that from past experience that person is usually wither a former Director of Education or a lawyer with experience in administrative law.

There are no public hearings – the facilitator will meet with the parent group from each school and the appropriate people at the Board level.

The facilitator chosen has a considerable amount of leeway in deciding how to proceed.
We are told that these reviews “tend to be paper heavy.

The report prepared usually has two parts: A recommendation as to what if any action should be taken and some commentary on what the facilitator believes actually happened.

One of the concerns coming out of the Board of Education is that the Ministry of Education may be dealing with bigger issues and that the Halton matter might get tangled up in those political machinations.

McMahon - First public as Minister

Few parents feel the Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon did all that much to advance their cause – something that might be regretted come next June.

The Ministry has put a pause on any future PAR’s until there is an internal review of that process which is seen as “fundamentally flawed”. The pause was put in place 22 days after the Halton decision was made.

The timing of the Administrative Reviews could become a concern with a provincial election due in June.

The last Administrative Review hat Halton had to deal with was referred to as a “truncated” event which took just the months.

The Burlington situation is not going to get resolved in two months – six to eight is seen as the more likely time frame which gets perilously close to the election date.

The Ministry might choose to let the election take place and then deliver whatever there is going to be in the way of a recommendation.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen's Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen’s Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

There are parents that like that idea – hoping they will be able to impact the provincial election in June to change the provincial member for Burlington – which is a very wild stretch of imagination – except that the Premier is in the middle of two rather messy criminal trials that have the potential to change the way the wind blows.

There are parents who believe that if a decision can be put off until the municipal election in October of 2018 they can elect different trustees who could theoretically reverse the decision.

There are people who have already decided to contest several of the Board of Trustee seats.

Sticky wickets indeed.

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