13 of the 860 school bus runs didn't have the needed drivers for the first day of school

News 100 redBy Staff

September 5th, 2017



For the most part the students who rely on school buses to get them to the class worked smoothly.

schoolbus-stop-signThe consortium that runs the school bus service for the two school boards reports that: “The vast majority of delays this morning were caused by high traffic around schools, construction  and some mechanical issues with buses which is typical for the first few days in September.

“Minimal delays were a result of school bus drivers not being available.

“Thirteen of the of HSTS’s 860 runs, which include runs for both the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board, that were late this morning (approximately 1.5 %) could be attributed to a shortage of school bus drivers. ”









Return to the Front page

First Canadian Craft Biennial taking place at the Art Gallery

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2017



The Art Gallery of Burlington, in collaboration with Craft Ontario, are presenting the first Canadian Craft Biennial. It is open now and will run until October 29, 2017. The launch of this inaugural event during Canada’s 150th anniversary will serve as a spotlight to celebrate and educate on the importance of contemporary craft throughout Canada’s diverse history and future. Under the theme Can Craft? Craft Can! the Biennial will explore What and Who is ‘Canadian Craft’?; the Biennial will analyze ideas regarding the agency of craft.


This piece needs a slow look – see if you can see what the artists wants you to see.

The Opening Celebrations are being held on Friday, September 15, 2017; 6:00pm-9:00pm in the Lee-Chin Family Gallery at the AGB

This Biennial is made up of several events:

Fat boy 2 BESTA Craft Symposium taking place on Friday, September 15 (Holiday Inn, Burlington) & Saturday, September 16 (OCAD University, Toronto)

Eleven sessions covering a variety of themes and approaches will be presented by forty-four scholars and makers from around the world.

Professional Ceramics Workshop being given by Anton Reijnders.
September 11-14, 2017; 9:00am-5:00pm/day

This event is open to professional ceramists only. Participation is closed at this point. Prospective participants were asked to submit a one-page letter of interest outlining what they intend to gain from their experience.


red pieceNational Craft Exhibition: Can Craft? Craft Can!; August 19-October 29, 2017
Bringing together seventy makers from across Canada, Can Craft? Craft Can! will present works in glass, ceramics, wood, metal and fibre that address three sub-themes exploring ideas of Identity, Sustainability and Materiality.

Craft Ontario Provincial Exhibition: Nothing is Newer than Tradition; August 19-October 29, 2017
Craft Ontario’s Nothing is Newer than Tradition will present the work of emerging Ontario makers that reflect a dedicated engagement with specialized skills and materials. The exhibition will explore how craft materials, tools and processes are creatively reiterated through the hands of a new generation of makers.

canoe + mason jars

Mason jars put to a different use.

AGB Provincial Exhibition – Setting Ontario’s Table: Once Upon a Time; August 19-December 31, 2017
Drawing from the Art Gallery of Burlington’s Permanent Collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics, Once Upon a Time will present a special exhibition exploring functional ware from Ontario ceramists. Each artist selected will be represented through both a piece from their early years, juxtaposed against a recent work to explore the progression in their practice.


Anton Reijnders

International Ceramic Exhibition – Anton Reijnders; September 9-October 29, 2017
Dutch ceramist Anton Reijnders will present his new work in a solo exhibition. Anton Reijnders graduated at the Fine Art Academy in Hertogenbosh in 1981. He participated in exhibitions throughout the world and contributed to conferences and symposia and has given lectures in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA. He has contributed to the creation of what in 1991 was to become the European Ceramic Work Center (EKWC)—Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.

He has been the visiting professor at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University three times.

Return to the Front page

Province wide test results for the grade 6 classes last year show Halton has done quite well. Details later in the month.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 3, 2017



Households throughout the city begin to get into the routines that are part of getting the kids back into the classrooms.

How well did they do last year and how can parents help their children improve?  Just how did your child do last year is a question some parents don’t really know.

White board with math

Are the students in the Halton Region measuring up to the needed standard?

EQAO – the acronym for the Education Quality and Accountability Office has published the provincial-level results of the primary- and junior-division 2016–2017 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics written by students in Grades 3 and 6, and of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

For the second year in a row, 50% of Grade 6 students met the provincial standard in math. Among Grade 3 students, 62% met the provincial standard—a one-percentage-point decrease since last year.

Not quite sure why that 50% seems acceptable – the number has to be a lot closer to 70% if those students are going to get jobs in the world they are going into.

The breakdown of the numbers by Board of Education get released September 20th – we are told by a source that should know that Halton has done very well – which we hope doesn’t get translated into the complacency that tends to prevail in this part of the world.


Results at a glance – are they good enough? Are the best we can do?

Elementary school reading results for Grade 3 students have increased to 74%, an increase of two percentage points since last year, and reading results for Grade 6 students have remained at 81% for the second year in a row.

Those are good numbers; the minimal decline in writing at the elementary level should be noted and then produce different ways to keep the number at the earlier levels.

Achievement results in writing at the elementary school level have declined since last year by one percentage point for both Grades 3 and 6, and stand at 73% and 79% respectively.

Eighty-three percent of Grade 9 students enrolled in the academic course were successful on the assessment, a result that is identical to last year.

Meanwhile, 44% of Grade 9 students enrolled in the applied math course were successful on the math assessment, marking a one-percentage-point decrease since last year, and continuing the trend over the last five years whereby less than half of students enrolled in the applied math course met the provincial standard.

Applied mathematics are critical for many of the jobs that are going to solve the problem we have as a society. The academic course is producing the needed results – someone wants to be looking at what needs to be done at the applied level.

Some facts to worry about and the focus on finding solutions:

In math at the elementary level, 62% (82 928) of Grade 3 students met the provincial standard, compared to the 67% who did on the 2013 assessment. Of Grade 6 students, 50% (64 686) met the provincial math standard, compared to the 57% who did on the 2013 assessment.

Results from EQAO’s student questionnaire show that a large number of students in Grades 3 and 6 (77%) are motivated to do their best when they undertake math activities in class. Despite this high motivation, only 56% of Grade 3 students and 53% of Grade 6 students believe they are good at math. It is encouraging that motivation remains high, now to translate that into better results.

The gap between motivation and results suggests different approaches might be needed by dthe teachers.
The majority of students who had not met the math standard in Grade 3, but who were able to meet it in Grade 6, carried that success forward into Grade 9.

In math at the secondary level, 83% (80 350) of Grade 9 students enrolled in the academic math course met the provincial standard, compared to the 84% who did on the 2013 assessment. Of Grade 9 students enrolled in the applied math course, 44% (15 321) met the standard, the same percentage of students who did in 2013.

In elementary-school reading, 74% (93 130) of Grade 3 students met the provincial standard, compared to the 68% who did in 2013. Of Grade 6 students, 81% (106 135) met the provincial reading standard for the second year in a row, compared to the 77% who did on the 2013 assessment.

In elementary-school writing, 73% (92 372) of Grade 3 students met the provincial writing standard, compared to the 77% who did in 2013. Of Grade 6 students, 79% (103 450) met the provincial writing standard, up from 76% in 2013.

EQAO is an independent agency that creates and administers large-scale assessments to measure Ontario students’ achievement in reading, writing and math at key stages of their education. All EQAO assessments are developed by Ontario educators to align with The Ontario Curriculum.

Grade 9 literacy

Some of the conclusions on the grade 9 literacy testing made by the EQAO researchers

The assessments evaluate student achievement objectively and in relation to a common provincial standard. EQAO is undertaking a multi-year project to move the provincial assessments online.

EQAO provides results to each student who writes an assessment. Its personalized reports help support individual student learning. The agency provides schools and school boards with detailed reports about their students’ achievement, as well as contextual, attitudinal and behavioural information from questionnaires, in an interactive online reporting tool. These data are used to improve school programming and classroom instruction.

EQAO also reports the results of the provincial assessments publicly. This helps keep the public education system accountable to taxpayers.

Return to the Front page

Marvelous collection of chimes at the Art Gallery - in the Dan Lawrie Family Courtyard.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

August 31st, 2017



Things to see and do.

If you overdo it a little at the Ribfest and need to walk some of it off – wander along to the Art Gallery and slip into the Dan Lawrie Family Courtyard and have a look at the collection of chimes that have been set up.

Chimes lawrie garden

Part of the collection of chimes that decorate the Dan Lawrie Family Courtyard.

Visitors are invited to give the chimes a gentle touch.

Chimes - south side lawrie garden

Some of the chimes are nestled into the plants and might be mistaken by some to be a plant.

Just outside the entrance to the Courtyard is a small but impactful exhibit focusing on the Terry Fox epic 143 day, 5,373 kilometer journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Fox exhibitThe exhibit includes a replica of the brace and prosthetic Terry wore as he loped across the country with what was part walk and part skip.

The exhibit explores Canadians’ deep and abiding affection for Terry and examines his unique place in our collective memory. Developed in partnership with the AGB and Terry Fox’s family, the exhibition shows part of the impact Terry Fox has had and continues to have on modern Canadian life.

For younger people who ask: “Who was Terry Fox?” The exhibition is the answer. Closes September 10th, 2017

Return to the Front page

School administrators gear up for what they hope will be a problem free school opening, Busing might be a problem in Oakville - Burlington seems to have hired what is needed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 30th, 2017



The A team in the Administrative offices at the Halton District School Board has been meeting to ensure that everything is in place for the Tuesday re-opening of schools for the approximately 64,000 students, more than 4,200 elementary and secondary teachers and the 221 principals and vice principals who keep order and ensure that the educating gets done.

Miller with students Mar 7-17

Director of Education Stuart Miller listening to students. Bateman parent Denise Davy. who pushed hard to keep the school open, watches how Miller handles himself,

Director of Education Stuart Miller goes through his check list – will there be enough bus drivers in place? Burlington appears to be Ok – Oakville is where the problem exists.

The high school closing decisions made late in June don’t impact the system this year – that’s a bridge to be crossed next year. The Board administration has however begun the process of putting together the team that will oversee the transition from a five high school organization to a five school set up.

Terri Blackwell Mar 7-17

Board of Education Superintendent Terry Blackwell

Miller told the Gazette that Terry Blackwell has been tasked with overseeing the transition from seven to five high schools. That is going to keep her hoping as she deals with what Gerry Cullen comes up with on the building facilities side and what Superintendent Zonnefeld does with the CPP program that Bateman has been running. There are a couple of hundred parents very anxious about what is going to be available to their children and how their integration to a new school is going to get managed.

Zonneveld has said that much of this work is going to be on a case by case basis – there is not that much commonality with these children. Each of those students face challenges that are unique to them.

The people who look after the actual structures have begun their work – figuring out just what is going to be needed at Nelson high school when the bulk of the Bateman students start showing up on September of 2020.

Trustees - fill board +

The trustees are where the buck is supposed to stop –

The trustees appear to have decided they didn’t want to take the opportunity for a retreat during the summer break and take a look at how they did their jobs during the past school year. Many in Burlington expect to solve that problem come the municipal election in 2018.

Organizationally the Board administration has a number of key committee: An Administrative Council; an Executive Council

Superintendents are either corporate or academic; both types participate in the weekly Admin Council meetings. Senior managers are also available for specific issues as required. Miller leads these discussions, as he does with Executive Council.

There is a weekly School Operations committee– Associate Director of Education David Boag runs this show.

The corporate side also has their weekly Business Operations meeting. Whatever comes out of these operating level meetings works its way up the Administrative Council meetings and then on up to the Executive Council
The decisions made at the Executive Council are done within parameters the trustees have set. When the tasks aren’t exactly within the guidelines Miller puts it in front of the trustees for clarification or additional authority.

From time to time a requirement crops up that calls for a change in the work load for a Superintendent.
When the decision was made to form a Program Accommodation Review (PAR), Superintendent Podrebaac was tapped to lead that task.

Unhappy parent

Superintendent Podrebarac strives to hear a parent with a viewpoint.

Scott Podrebaac has a much different view of parent participation than he had before he took on the task.
Miller told the Gazette that Terry Blackwell has been tasked with overseeing the transition from seven to five high schools. That is going to keep her hoping as she deals with what Gerry Cullen comes up with on the building facilities side and what Superintendent Zonnefeld does with the CPP program that Bateman has been running. There are a couple of hundred parents very anxious about what is going to be available to their children and how their integration to a new school is going to get managed.

Zonneveld has said that much of this work is going to be on a case by case basis – there is not that much commonality with these children. Each of those students face challenges that are unique to them.

On top of all this is the request parents from both Bateman and Pearson made to the province for an administrative review of the process that resulted in the decision.

Administrative Reviews seldom result in much in the way of change – however in this situation the province put a halt to all the PAR’s that were taking place 22 days after the HDSB had come out with its decision.

That fact might cause the pooh-bahs at Queen’s Park to stretch the decision to put all the PAR’s on hold and have it include the Halton Board.

McMahon and Gould doing Cogeco interview

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon, centre, is good before a camera.

It is a stretch but the province is gearing up for an election that is ten months away and while the Burlington seat should not be at risk many in the community feel MPP Eleanor McMahon could have been a lot more proactive.

McMahon has not given her views on the decisions made – she certainly has views but the public is never going to hear them. There is a Minister of Education who will do that kind of talking – McMahon is a member of Cabinet and Cabinet solidarity is a must for political party government.

Packed room - New Street Mar 7-17

A room full of parents, many with different agendas pack a room during the public information sessions that resulted in a decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools. Will this many show up to vote in 2018?

Expect either Bateman or Pearson parents to ask some penetrating questions during the public election debates.
There are a lot of balls in the air on the educational front. The bright spot is the hundreds of children who will walk into a school on Tuesday to start grade 1.

Wish them well – they are the people who are going to ensure that you have a decent federal pension.

Return to the Front page

What are the safest cars for new drivers and how do they manage to pay for them?

News 100 yellowBy Stacey Young

August 30th, 2017



There are many different features to look for when buying a car, but one of the most important aspects to consider is the safety of the vehicle. This is something that is particularly relevant for new drivers. Whether you are a new driver yourself or a parent looking to ensure your child has a safe and secure vehicle to begin their driving experience, it is vital that you find an affordable and functional vehicle that meets the needs of a young driver.

The cost of buying a car will have an impact on the buying decision, but the cost of owning and running the car should also be considered. A young driver may not have as much disposable income as they would like, and this can make running a car a difficult task at times. This is why having an economical car that offers a good return on fuel consumption is important for many drivers. You also want to find a car that has a good reputation for reliability because repairs and servicing can be very expensive.

Car - on the open road

A car opens up the world to young people.

Like many areas, Burlington has a good volume of people obtaining their driving license on an annual basis.

There is a sense of freedom and adventure that comes with being able to drive, and getting a car is a major goal for many young people in the local area. While different people have their own preferences and tastes, new drivers will benefit from opting for a reliable, economical and dependable car.

Compact sedans have a lot to offer new drivers.
This means that compact sedans, which are hugely popular in Canada, may be the ideal choice for the young driver in Burlington. These cars have several features that make them popular with young drivers and their parents. There are many safety features in these vehicles, they are fuel-efficient and they have front-wheel drive.

There is also the opportunity to choose from a range of trim levels, which means there is scope for an element of individuality if required.

Some of the most popular cars in this field include the Mazda S3, Hyundai Accent, Ford Fusion and Mitsubishi Mirage. These are affordable options that provide safety and functional features, all of which should help a new driver to develop their confidence while driving.

Given the financial implications of buying a first car and the added level of responsibility, it is no surprise to learn that many parents take a hands-on approach when their youngsters buy their first car. Knowing that a vehicle can offer freedom, improved job or educational prospects, and a good chance to develop as a person means that many parents will be keen to assist their child in buying a car and keeping it running.

Consider all of your finance options when buying a new car

Car buying

The buying decision.

It is important to consider the best options that are available when looking to buy a car. The cost of a dependable vehicle might be beyond many people’s ability to cover up front, which is why finding the best standard of financing is a big part of the process. People’s credit scores and history can play a big role in finding suitable finance, and this is why many parents decide to be an active participant in the car buying process. With this in mind, many parents are looking to obtain a car loan without a credit check as a means of helping their child get behind the wheel of their own vehicle.

Owning a car is a huge responsibility at any age, and it can be a daunting challenge for many youngsters. A lot of parents are happy to help out financially if their child shows that they are mature enough to own the vehicle. Whether a parent wishes to place stipulations on the use of the vehicle is up to them, but there is no denying that car ownership, even if it’s part-ownership with the parent, can be a very good life lesson for youngsters.


You own it.

There are many things to consider when buying a car for a new driver, but safety features must be given significant consideration. A safe and affordable car will give a new driver assurance, which should hopefully help them to develop confidence in their own driving skills. Most parents are keen to help their children enjoy the freedom and increased opportunities that come with owning a car, and a safe and dependable vehicle is likely to be the best option for all of the family!



Return to the Front page

Make your mark on this planet of ours - plant a tree.

eventsgreen 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 28th, 2017



There is something about the planting of a tree – no matter what your age the tree you plant is likely to be on this earth longer than you.

Experiences like this are important to young people who are just beginning to fully appreciate the role trees play in the life we live.

The climate change we are experiencing didn’t just happen – our behaviour is what brought it about and it is our behaviour that is going to heal the environment – if we are lucky.

BG tree planting volunteers

A lot of bending when trees are planted.

Students will be back in school on Tuesday – think about making Saturday of next week the day you get them outdoors and planting a tree. They will never forget the experience and many will return to that spot to look at the tree they planted and perhaps show off their work to their children.

Conservation Halton is looking for 100 community volunteers to help plant 500 native trees and shrubs on Saturday, September 9. The Fall Trees for Watershed Health Community Tree Planting is taking place at Courtcliffe Park, 159 Carlisle Road in the village of Carlisle.

Courtcliffe ParkRegistration and check-in will begin at 9 a.m., with planting scheduled to start shortly after 9:30 a.m. A barbeque lunch will be available at the end of the planting. Volunteers are reminded to dress according to the weather, wear waterproof boots and bring a shovel. The event will happen rain or shine, unless conditions are deemed to be unsafe for participants and staff.

We welcome all individuals, families, and small groups to participate. No prior planting experience is required. Space is limited and pre-registration is mandatory, visit www.conservationhalton.ca/trees-for-watershed-health for more details and to find registration information.


Return to the Front page

Not all the summer vacation stories that students tell will be what we like to hear.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 27th, 2017



Students returning to school next week will bring with them stories of their summer holiday experience.

A time that is care free, less demanding than days when classrooms are open – it is a rest time, a time to grow and have new experiences.


Exploring, growing – reflecting – summer vacation.

There will be some really nice stories told about adventures and perhaps some travel.

It will not be this way for all the students that show up for class on the 5th of September.

Some students live lives that are a lot different; sometimes close to tragically different.

Michael, a high school student is being raised by the one parent –his Dad Jim.

Michael’s mom is incarcerated. Jim has to work two jobs to make ends meet so that he and his son will not have to go into a shelter.

Dealing with the emotional fall out of having a parent in jail is tough enough. Keeping a household together is another burden. Jim has not purchased any new clothes or non-essentials for himself for several years so he could ensure Michael was taken care of.

Halton Learning FoundationWhen the school Michael attends became aware of the family situation and the impact it was having on Michael, they were able to turn to the Halton Learning Foundation for help.

Funds from the Foundation will allow Michael to purchase new shoes, gym clothes and school supplies that his Father just isn’t able to provide.

Those Learning Foundation funds come from the generous support of people in the Region who provide the dollars needed to fill in the gaps that some parents can’t manage.

When the Foundation comes looking for financial support – be there for them so that they can be there for others; people like Michael, the high school student going through a very difficult time.

You can help: A click away.

Return to the Front page

Director of education takes the heat - but it is a team that makes the decisions.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 25th, 2017



He has a team of 12 people; all with the title of Superintendent and an Executive Director who heads up the Human Resources department.

While the recommendations that come from the board staff are under the signature of Stuart Miller, Director of Education, these are staff decisions.

Stuart Miller

Director of Education -Stuart Miller

Parents unhappy with the decision to close Bateman and Pearson high schools tend to go after Miller. He doesn’t take to the criticism all that easily; he takes it home with him. But it is for the most part a team decision.
Miller is the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Education Officer and the Secretary to the Board. He doesn’t have a very large personal staff – just two people.

The Board announced earlier this week that Colette Ruddock has been appointed Superintendent and will oversee the north Oakville family of schools with additional responsibility for the student health portfolio.

Colette’s began her career with Halton in 1993 and has worked as a Vice-Principal and Principal in seven different schools. She has also served in the role of Education Officer with the Ministry of Education where she played a key role in Teacher Performance Appraisal processes, New Teacher Induction programs as well as School Board hiring practices.

She is proficient in French with numerous experiences in a French Immersion settings and has taken a leadership role in our recent elementary French Immersion delivery model transition planning. She is a student-focused leader who has strong instructional leadership skills and recently received the EQAO Bette Stephenson Recognition of Achievement Award for the use of data and evidence to improve school achievement at E.J. James Public School.

Ruddock is an addition to the team of Superintendents that deliver on the direction Stuart Miller provides.

She is the newest member of a team that has had a full calendar year – and it isn’t over yet.

portrait of David Boag

David Boag

Miller is backed up by David Boag, who is the Associate Director responsible for Student achievement, School operations and school accommodation and program viability.

Boag is a softer personality than Miller  His task is to ensure that the quality of the programs offered is maintained and grown.  He has to follow the direction given by Miller who is the Chief Educational officer.

The bulk of the team of Superintendents are focused on the academic side with Gerry Cullen handling the physical side of the schools buildings.

Packed room - New Street Mar 7-17

The Board of Education doesn’t get a lot of attention – until there is an issue that reaches into every household – then the public turns out with questions.

The Board of Education doesn’t get a lot of public attention. It is seen as a quiet operation that runs smoothly for the most part. But, Miller will tell you that the Board is the largest employer in the Region and is a part of every community. The Board is literally a part of every household that has children.

Joey Edwardh + Stuart Miller

Joey Edwardh, who holds a doctorate and runs the Community Development Halton organization with Stuart Miller, Director of Education. These two could be collaborating much more than they do

When the weather is iffy – it is Stuart Miller who is up at 5:00 am talking to the team that he works with and deciding if schools are going to open.

He is very much a hands on personality – sometimes to his detriment.

He has been an educator all of his professional life which is one of the problems the Board has to contend with. The administrative offices for the Region wide Board are in Burlington on Guelph Line. Being “in touch” with every community is not a simple matter.

The Halton District school Board has organized its Superintendents so that the workload is spread amongst all of them – when they gather as the team that oversees what happens in the schools there is representation from men and women who are in daily contact with the schools in Halton Hill or Oakville.

Each of the Superintendents came up “through the system” they know the schools they are responsible for like the back of their hands.


portrait of Terri Blackwell

Terri Blackwell

Terri Blackwell is one of the 12 Superintendents of Education. She reports on and oversees the School Councils, Parent Involvement Committee (PIC), Research in schools and is responsible for:

Elementary schools: Alexander’s, Alton Village, Brant Hills, Bruce T. Lindley, Burlington Central Elem, Central, CH Norton, Charles R Beaudoin, Clarksdale, Florence Meares, Kilbride, John T Tuck, John Wm Boich, Lakeshore, Orchard Park, Paul A Fisher, Pauline Johnson, Rolling Meadows, Tom Thomson.

Secondary schools: Burlington Central HS, Dr Frank J Hayden SS, MM Robinson HS, Nelson

portrait of Gerry Cullen

Gerry Cullen

Gerry Cullen is the Superintendent of Facility Services. He isn’t an educator – his role is to ensure that the facilities needed to get the educating done are operational on a daily basis.

Cullen will oversee the merging of the Bateman student body with that of Nelson high school where he will go through a budget of $12 million making changes to Nelson so that school can accommodate the students from Bateman once it closes.

Cullen’s workload includes:
Construction (capital projects including design and construction of new schools, renovations, additions and portable classroom moves); Rental of school space (Community Use of Schools); Maintenance (upkeep of buildings, renewal of large maintenance programs such as roofing, window replacement, energy and environmental conditions of buildings.); Operations (cleaning, cafeterias, security, snow clearing, garbage/recycling, play structures and portable inspection.

portrait of Rob Eatough

Rob Eatough

Rob Eatough is the Superintendent of Education who handles equity programs, Communications (Internal/External)

He oversees:

Elementary schools: Dr Charles Best, Frontenac, Mohawk Garden, Pineland, Ryerson, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Tecumseh.

Secondary schools: Robert Bateman HS, Lester B Pearson HS.

With the planned closing of those two high school in the next two years Eatough will be looking at some re-assignment.

portait of Julie Hunt Gibbons

Julie Hunt Gibbons

Julie Hunt Gibbons, Superintendent of Education oversees Secondary curriculum and school program; Student success and pathways destinations.

That puts the program at Bateman high school on her desk – one of the more delicate tasks this Board now faces.

She is responsible for:

Elementary schools: Brookdale, Eastview, Gladys Speers, Oakwood, Pine Grove, WH Morden.

Secondary schools: TA Blakelock HS

portrait of Jacqueline Newton

Jacqueline Newton

Jacqueline Newton is a Superintendent of Education who opened the Hayden high school in Alton. Her focus is Innovation/Ingenuity in schools.

During the PAR – Program Accommodation Review process the board completed in June, many thought that Newton was going to be a leader in thinking through some of the innovative ideas the PAR committee thought were possible to keep Pearson and Bateman open.

PARC with options on the walls

The PARC wanted to look for innovative ways to keep their schools open – the problem was that the public and the Board staff didn’t see innovation through the same lens. Public sector and private sector people have different perceptions as to just what innovation is.

What the public didn’t understand was that Newton’s focus was on innovation within the educational structure. Her role was not to look for innovative changes to the structure; a significant difference.

Members of the PARC saw innovation from a private sector perspective where the demands for change have an impact on the profitability of a corporation.

Profitability is a foreign concept for educators. Our schools are paid for out of tax dollars that are collected – those tax dollars aren’t earned.

Newton oversees:

Elementary schools: Anne J MacArthur, Boyne, Brookville, Bruce Trail, Chris Hadfield, Escarpment View, EW Foster, Hawthorne Village, Irma Coulson, JM Denyes, Martin Street, PL Robertson, Robert Baldwin, Sam Sherratt, Tiger Jeet Singh, WI Dick.

Secondary schools: Craig Kielburger SS, Milton District HS

portrait of John Pennyfather

John Pennyfather

John Pennyfather, Superintendent of Education oversees School health protocols, Social justice and the Our Kids Network

He is responsible for:

Elementary schools: Abbey Lane, Capt R Wilson, Emily Carr, Falgarwood, Forest Trail, Heritage Glen, Joshua Creek, Montclair, Munn’s, Oodenawi, Palermo, Pilgrim Wood, Post’s Corners, River Oaks, Sheridan, Sunningdale, West Oak.

Secondary schools: Abbey Park HS, Garth Webb SS, Iroquois Ridge HS, White Oaks SS

portrait of Scott Podrebarac

Scott Podrebarac

Scott Podrebarac is a Superintendent of Education and is a different man today than he was when he was asked to lead the PAR last October. He is a very genial man who found himself working with a process that was new and over time found to be flawed. He didn’t create the process – but he had to work with it.

He was given a group of parents that never managed to coalesce into a group working as one. The parents representatives from the seven Burlington high schools chose to defend the turf of the schools they represented.

They were a group that knew very little about each other and brought more agendas into the PARC process than there were schools.

Unhappy parent

This wasn’t what Scott Podrebarac, on the left, expected from the public when he took on the task of shepherding the PAR process.

It would be interesting to see what a report from Podrebaac on the PAR process the Board went through would look like.

The Ministry of Education that created the process came to the realization that the process was flawed and decided that it would not be used going forward. That decision was made 22 days after the Halton trustees decided to close the two high schools.

Podrebarac oversees the Early years/Kindergarten program and the Safe schools programs.

He is responsible for:

Elementary schools: Centennial, Ethel Gardiner, George Kennedy, Glen Williams, Harrison, Joseph Gibbons, Limehouse, McKenzie-Smith Bennett, Park, Pineview, Robert Little, Silver Creek, Stewarttown.

Secondary schools: Acton HS, Georgetown District HS.

portrait of Tina Salmini

Tina Salmini

Tina Salmini is a Superintendent of Education who oversees the Elementary curriculum and school program; New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP), Leadership training and Library Services.

There is a lot more to that work load than meets the eye. The changes in the way libraries work today is massive – technology now drives so much more of it.

Salmini is respobsible for:

Elementary schools: EJ James, James W Hill, Maple Grove, New Central

Secondary schools: Oakville Trafalgar HS

portrait of Gord Truffen

Gord Truffen

Gord Truffen Superintendent of Education oversees Information Services (IT); International students and is responsible for:

Elementary schools: Aldershot (elem), Glenview, King’s Road, Maplehurst

Secondary schools: Aldershot HS.

It doesn’t look like much of a workload – which is a little misleading.

Truffen is probably the Superintendent most in touch with what takes place in the private sector. Given a little more rope and a mandate to pull more private sector practices into a system that lives in a bit of a bubble

Truffen could make the Halton Board considerably different.

portrait of Mark Zonneveld

Mark Zonneveld

Mark Zonneveld is a Superintendent of Education who is responsible for Special Education/Student Services. He oversees the Syl Apps school and Section 23 programs.

Section 23 programs serve students who require their educational needs to be met outside of the regular school system, in specialized settings. A student in a Section 23 Program is a client of an agency funded by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services that provides services in one of the following categories: Care – hospitals, maternity homes; Treatment – children’s mental health centres and group homes. Corrections – open custody and closed custody situations.

More importantly he is handling the transition of students from Bateman into Nelson and the movement of the International Baccalaureate program from Bateman to Central.

It is a job that calls for compassion and sensitivity – something many of the Bateman parents didn’t feel existed at the Board level.

Zonneveld’s challenge is to show that both exist in the operation he runs.

Superintendent Cullen has to build the space that will be needed at Nelson for the Bateman students; Zonneveld has to tailor programs for those students.


Lucy Veerman

Lucy Veerman is the Superintendent of Business Services. She is the Board’s “bean counter”. The PAR process was a bit of a rude awakening for Veerman. Parents, especially those from Centreal high school were looking at the numbers very closely and they didn’t like a lot of what they saw. Veerman had to defend numbers that make sense to educators but not a lot of sense to parents who are not familiar with public service accounting.

Veerman is responsible for Accounting, Budget, Planning, Purchasing and Transportation.

portrait of Debra McFadden

Debra McFadden

Debra McFadden is the Executive Officer, Human Resources. She oversees the hiring and development of the teachers. She is the Board’s Chief Negotiator and is responsible for all Labour Relations including Human Resources Strategy and Policy

That’s the team that is going to take the system of high schools in Burlington through a very difficult phase in the next two years.

It is a young team – there are not a lot of people who are going to be retiring soon; just a couple.

The strength of the high school system and how well it serves the needs of the public is critical. Good high schools attract families to a community.

There was a time when parents would lie about where they lived to get their children into one of the elementary schools in the south east part of the city – it’s reputation was that good. The leadership of a school can make a huge difference.

The leadership of a Board administration can make a big difference.

And the leadership from the trustees can and should make a difference.

Corporations that are looking for a new location or the setting for an expansion want to know that a community has a solid educational system.

One can’t say that the high school system in Burlington isn’t solid – one has to say that it is going through a process of transition – which we all hope they get right the first time.

The first reaction we are going to see from the public will be in the 2018 election – just over a year away.

Has the Board of trustees understood what the public that put them in office wants? Part of the answer to that question is – which public put them in office? With the voter turnout as low as it has been in Burlington one has to ask – who elected these people?

Return to the Front page

School bus service for Burlington and Oakville might be delayed - not enough drivers.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 23rd, 2017



Oh no – not again.

The Halton District school Board announced that there “may” be some school bus service delays when school resumes on September 5th.

There apparently aren’t enough drivers available.

schoolbus-stop-signThe Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) advises that a shortage of school bus drivers may impact school bus operations in the Burlington and Oakville areas this September. The shortage could negatively impact some schools due to bus delays. At this time, bus operators in Milton and Halton Hills do not anticipate a bus driver shortage.

HSTS is a corporation owned by the Catholic and public school boards.

Parents are encouraged to sign up for delays and cancellation notifications on the HSTS website (haltonbus.ca) before school starts.

School bus delays will be posted on the HSTS website starting the first day of school, Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

In a media release HSTS said they appreciate the important work bus drivers provide for the school community by getting students safely to school each day; apparently not enough to improve on what bus drivers are paid,

“We are grateful for the service the school bus drivers provide to the students in Halton” says Karen Lacroix, General Manager of Halton Student Transportation Services.

Bus companies are focusing their recruitment efforts with advertisements in various newspapers, radio, TV and through employment open houses. Together HSTS and the Halton school boards are promoting school bus driver employment opportunities to parents/guardians and the community.

HSTS has been assisting in this effort by advertising jobs on the HSTS website and through the Halton school boards’ Twitter feeds (@HaltonDSB and @HCDSB).

Return to the Front page

New household schedule with school opening soon - time for a different fitness schedule.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

August 23, 2017



In the Spring the objective is to lose the weight so we can fit into the bathing suit.

Now we are told it is time to get moving and adjust eating habits to get over the end-of-summer blahs during which we appear to have all on on some weight.

Fitness experts have tips to build up a workout routine and adjust eating habits NOW to reset your system for fall.

With the dog days of summer slowly passing by and the reality of September’s routine looming – ideas for getting that refreshed feeling and being full of energy stare us in the face.

Many Canadians find themselves overtired, overfed, and under motivated. A summer spent on patios and at barbeques, staying up late, sleeping in and lounging on the dock tends to catch up with us.

Mo stretching GoodLife

Looks easy – takes practice. Time for a fall fitness routine!

Maureen ‘Mo’ Hagan, vice president of program innovation with GoodLife Fitness, says exercise and healthier habits go a long way to help reset the body’s circadian rhythms after a season of indulgence. And with only a couple of weeks of summer left, this is a perfect chance to set yourself up for success. She has some key considerations to get back into the fall routine more smoothly.

Establish regular sleep patterns: By the end of August, we’re getting up later, staying up later and the thought of waking up early for work and school is not all that welcoming. Don’t wait for the first day back to reset your clock, she advises. Start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier over the remaining days and you’ll find it easier to rise and shine.

Focus on nutrition: It’s OK to enjoy the last of the hamburgers and hotdogs, but start building in some lean proteins, complex carbs and more fruit and veggies to boost your mood, immunity, and energy. Take your remaining summer days to find and try some healthy new recipes, plan nutritious lunch options and even freeze dishes for use when the fall routine is in full swing.

Find time to exercise: Try to build in a workout at the same time each day to reset your internal clock and start building back your energy. It’s also a chance to enjoy the outdoors while it’s still warm and the days remain longer.

Hagan suggests setting realistic goals and then pushing yourself a bit further every few days. Vary your routine with cardio like biking or jogging, strength training for major muscle groups and stretching to build flexibility.

Remember to relax: With parties, camping trips, family reunions and the kids home from school, summer can be hectic. It’s important to find time to be alone and enjoy some peace. Plan a hike, do some yoga on the beach, or just sit on the deck with a book. Quiet time can help you reduce stress and reconnect with your body and mind.

Return to the Front page

Scam artists offering a choice - both came from the same address hours apart.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 22, 2017



They seem to have forgotten me for a couple of weeks – but the scam artists have found my email address and are at it again.

Rule #1 – If it looks too good to be true that’s because it isn’t true.

Rule #2 – Check the address the email came from.

The latest – they came in today push the limits of credulity – if I don’t bite when they dangle Walmart in front of me – maybe Kohls will work.

Kohls survey

If I didn’t get sucked in by this one – they was another that was basically identical except for the name.

Walmart survey

Does Walmart every do anything about scams like this?

These things are like stop lights – when they are red – you stop.

At some point someone will come up with a way to jam all this crap. Maybe there is a GoFund Me angle here.

Ask everyone to send $2 with no fee – and set that amount as a prize for a bunch of the smart whippersnappers to come up with a way to send the junk back out into the universe.

Return to the Front page

Board of trustees in need of some help learning what their jobs are and how to pull together as a team. This isn't a sewing circle.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 22, 2017


This article has had a correction, Pearson will not open in September of 2018

The Going Back to School process has begun – the school supplies are being bought and fresh new clothing is being chosen.

News Analysis

Parents are learning what the fashion trend is going to be this year and the first timers are going to get a chance to learn what it is like to take a bus to school.

All seven high schools will open this year; it will be different next year.

The Board of trustees voted to close two of the city’s seven high schools: Lester B. Pearson will not open in September of 2018 and Bateman high school will not open in September of 2020.

Protesters PARC

At first it was Central high school parents fighting to keep their school open. They put forward very compelling arguments and they were taken off the recommendation list.

Bateman parents

Bateman high school was put on the recommended for closing list when Central high school was taken off the list.

Lester Pearson at Upper Middle and Headon

Lester B. Pearson parents were never able to get the kind of traction they needed to change the minds of the trustees. Ward 3 trustee Andrea Grebenc who attended Pearson said she could not find a reason for voting to keep the school open.

Both high school parent groups filed a request for an Administrative Review of the decision the trustees made– that review looks at the process used to make the decision – not the merits of the decision.

The parents had to file a request for the Administrative Review within 30 days of the decision – both met the July 7th deadline; the Board Administration had 30 days to respond to the request for a review – they did that by August 7th. The Ministry of Education now has 30 days to decide if there is any merit in the request for a review and to consider the position taken by the Board.

That gets us to sometime in the middle of September.

It would be a little naïve to expect any changes.

The Halton District school Board has been hit with Administrative Reviews before – the end result then was no change.

There is a very unhappy public in Burlington; parents are unhappy with the way the city failed to take a position on closing schools; many feel that the process used to make the decision was so flawed that the trustees should have taken the option that was available to them – and that was not to close any of the high schools at this time until there has been an opportunity for an in depth look at just what the problem is and if there is any likelihood of a change in the number of students that are going to attend high schools.

Burlington was in a situation where one high school was at 135% capacity (Hayden) while another was at about the 65% (Pearson) capacity level. That situation was the result of the traditional feeder schools for Pearson were filling Hayden instead.

The Program Accommodation Review process was new to the people of Burlington, new to the school board as well and in hindsight many people realize that it should have been done differently.

The school board trustees didn’t really deliver on their mandate – they took a hands off approach to the issue during the PAR process and then got swamped with the more than 50 delegations they had to deal with.

Kelly Amos, the chair of the school board was flummoxed on several occasions when it as clear she was in over her head with the process. At one critical meeting she had legal counsel for the Board giving her one opinion and a parliamentarian who had been brought in to provide advice and direction giving her a different opinion.

Collard and Miller

Ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collard livid with the decision made by the Director of Education wears her feelings.

One parent made the both astute and disturbing observation that the school board gave less time to deciding whether or not to close high schools than the city did on what to do with the Freeman station – which is now doing quite nicely in its new location.

The biggest problem the public has is the quality of the current school board. With the exception of Ward 5 trustee Amy Collard, the Burlington trustees are not delivering on the mandate they were given when they were elected.

Trustees Miller, Amos - Graves

From the right: Vice chair Graves and Chair Amos – who along with the other trustees are expected to hold the Director of Education Stuart Miller on the left accountable – something they don’t appear to know how to do.

They don’t know their jobs; they don’t ask hard questions; they don’t really hold the Board staff or its Director of Education truly accountable.

While the trustees may be nice people their job is to ask the probing questions. They have chosen to be nice and operate as what has become a bit of a clique that has a tremendous opportunity to make a significant difference but instead chose to take a pass.

Expect to see a lot of different names on the Burlington ballot in the October 2018 municipal elections.

Burlington can do better than what we have.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

Leah Reynolds on the right. She gets by with a little help from her friends. City Councillor Meed Ward on the left.

We have a board where a trustee – Leah Reynolds – feels it is acceptable to receive text notes and advice on her computer from a member of the PAR, Marianne Meed Ward, who is also a city Councillor, who many believe expects the trustee to replace her should the council member run for the office of Mayor.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the behaviour of these two women, but Chair Amos pointed out that it was not against the code of conduct.

What the Chair failed to realize is that the letter of the law is important and relevant – it is however the spirit of the law that should prevail.

Of the 11 trustees on the Board of Education – four come from Burlington. Collard was the only one to vote against the closing of Bateman High school. Collard and Papin voted against the closing of Pearson.


From the left- trustees Papin, Reynolds, Ehl Harrison and Grebenc sat in on most of the Program Accommodation Review committee meetings as observers. There was no opportunity or occasion for them to make their views known at that point in the process.

The remaining seven members of the Board voted for the closing of both high schools. It is a little unsettling to realize that it was possible for trustees who do not represent the voters of Burlington to vote for the closing of high schools in Burlington even if the Burlington trustees had voted to keep them open.

There was not much in the way of a common cause between the four Burlington trustees. Three of the four bought into the Director’s recommendation to close the two high schools.

The sense that those trustees are keeping those seats warm while they battle for you is something that belongs in your Santa Clause and Easter Bunny box.

Return to the Front page

School bus orientation day - Saturday August 26th in five locations.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 15th, 2017



Mention school buses and the mind goes to getting ready for school – it is that time of year again.

School buses in Halton Region – Milton, Burlington, Oakville and Halton Hills – are managed by the
Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) who contract with local school bus operators.

Those operators hold a “School Bus Orientation Day” which will be held on SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017 starting at 9:00 a.m.

Tsp service logoSchool Bus Orientation Day is a safety program provided by HSTS and the local school bus operators to assist parents and first time riders in understanding the importance of school bus safety.

Parents of all first time riders are encouraged to bring their children to the free sessions, which will feature a classroom presentation on school bus safety, including Off We Go! a special video on school bus safety and a demonstration on a school bus.

School bus company safety officers and bus drivers will talk to the children and their parents about safely getting on and off of the bus, proper behaviour on a school bus, crossing the street to get to a waiting bus and overall school bus safety. In addition, a handout will be provided to all young riders with tips on school bus safety.

Both HSTS and the school bus operators hope the orientation sessions will help students and their parents feel more comfortable riding a school bus before the first day of school.

The sessions begin at 9 a.m. on August 26, 2017 at the following five locations throughout Halton. To register students and secure a preferred time slot, parents must contact the host bus company at the phone number listed next to the desired location.
Burlington: Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School; 905-333-4047 (Attridge Transportation)
Oakville: Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School; 905-335-7010 (First Student Canada)
Acton: Acton District High School; 519-853-1550 (Tyler Transport Ltd.)
Georgetown: Georgetown District High School; 905-877-2251 (First Student Canada)
Milton: Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School; 905-877-2251 (First Student Canada)

If you need to follow up for additional information, please contact:

Karen Lacroix, General Manager
Halton Student Transportation Services
1-888-803-8660 ext. 259

Return to the Front page

One out of every ten students needs some form of financial support to pay for school supplies.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 10th. 2017



Any day now you can expect to see the Back to School flyers in the print edition of newspapers. It will be a thick package of advertising material.

While many kids look forward to back to school shopping, new clothes and school supplies are unaffordable luxuries for about 1 in 10 students in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

The Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) is on a mission to raise $10,000 by September 1 to ensure those students can start the school year with the basics they need to be successful.

Halton Learning FoundationThe Foundation annually provides more than 1,000 students and their families with emergency funds for clothing, lunches, and other basic necessities, and helps ensure all students can be included in school activities.
Lesley Mansfield, executive director of HLF, says the majority of students who receive support are from families where one or both parents work.

“The high cost of housing in Halton, low‐paid work and unexpected events like illness or accidents can affect a family’s income to the point where they can no longer afford to buy their children new shoes or send them on a school trip,” she says. “We don’t want kids in our community to give up on their education and the opportunity for a better future because they are unable to fully participate in school.”

Mansfield says even small donations can make a difference; for just $20 a student can be included in a class field trip instead of being left behind.

The help is needed to help prepare a child in our community to go back to school.  You can donate on line or give the office a call: 905‐ 335‐3665, ext. 3408 or 3388.

HLF logoThe Halton Learning Foundation helps eliminate financial barriers to education for students of the Halton District School Board by providing emergency help for students in need, post‐secondary scholarships, and funds to assist schools that have classroom needs beyond core education funding.

Return to the Front page

Art Gallery releases its fall program -

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 2nd, 2017



The Art Gallery of Burlington has released their program for the fall.

Family Saturday Sessions
AGB kids withj artChildren Ages 8 to 14: $5
Adult Member: $7.50 | Adult Non-Member: $10
Family of 4 (Member): $20 | Family of 4 (Non-Member): $25
Saturdays | 1:00 – 3:00pm

There will be sessions on:

Sept 23: Rug Hooking
with Lisa Meecham – Register Now

Oct 14: Printmaking
with Kevin Willson – Register Now

AGB darkroomOct 28: Metal Embossing
with Heather Kuzyk – Register Now

Nov 4: Darkroom Photograms
with Deborah Kanfer – Register Now

Nov 18: Clay Masks
with Dawn Hackett-Burns – Register Now

Dec 9: Embroidered Felt Buttons
with Samantha Goeree – Register Now

Kids Classes

AGB print makingJunior Guild – Mini Makers (8 classes)

Age: 4-12 years Member: $175 | Non-Member: $200
Saturdays | 10:00am – 12:00pm | Sept. 23 – Nov. 18

Creative Playdates (10 classes)
Ages: 2-5 years + grown-ups
Member: $100 | Non-Member: $125
Fridays | 10:00 – 11:00am | Sept. 8 – Nov. 17

Home School Art Immersion (12 classes)
Age: 6-10 years
Member: $200 | Non-Member: $225
Mondays | 9:30am – 11:30am | Sept. 11 – Dec. 4

Teen Classes

Teen Potters (8 classes)
Age: 13+
Member: $175 | Non-Member: $200
Saturdays | 10:00am – 12:00pm | Sept. 23 – Nov. 18

Artist and Curator: Parade Float (9 classes)
Ages: 14+
Member and Non-Members: $25
Saturdays | 1:00-3:00pm | Sept. 23 – Nov.18 and Sunday, Dec. 3

AGB PA daysP.A. Days

Member: $30 | Non-Member: $40
Monday, September 25 & Friday, October 6

NEWOpen Studio Drop-in

Community Drop-in Studio

Fine Arts (13 weeks)

For Adults 16+ who need a studio space to work in – drop by and work on your own independent projects. The onsite facilitator will show you how to use the equipment.

Member and Non-Member: $10 for 4 hours or 10 visits for $90
Students (Valid Student ID): 10 visits for $75
Tuesdays | 1:00 – 9:00pm | Sept. 5 – Nov. 28

Pottery (13 weeks)
For Adults 16+ who need a studio space to work in – drop by and work on your own independent projects. The onsite facilitator will show you how to use the equipment.

Member and Non-Member: $10 for 4 hours or 10 visits for $90
Students (Valid Student ID): 10 visits for $75
Wednesdays | 7:00-10:00pm | Sept. 6 – Nov. 29

Adult Classes
Beginning in September

AGB Adult classesClay Date (1 class)

Pottery by Hand (6 classes)

The Foundation of Painting (10 classes)

Painting the Canadian Landscape (10 classes)

The Foundation of Drawing (10 classes)

Pottery Your Way (10 classes)

Beginners Throwing Workshop (9 classes)

Intro to Stained Glass (1 class)

Sip & Paint Social (1 class)

For a full description of each Adult Class including date, time, cost and instructor please see the course outline on our website.

Beginning in October

AGB Starting in OctoberWeaving Basics and Beyond (10 classes)

Intro to Stained Glass (1 class)

Stained Glass Panel Original Design and Fabrication (6 classes)

Clay Date (1 class)

Hooked on the Maple Leaf (4 classes)

Encaustic Painting Techniques: The Whole Ball of Wax (2 classes)

Basic Watercolour (8 classes)

For a full description of each Adult Class including date, time, cost and instructor please see the course outline on our website .

Beginning in November

AGB starting in NovemberPottery Decorating Techniques (6 classes)

Sip & Paint Social (1 class)

Enamel Buttons are Back (4 classes)

Handmade Statement Ring (4 classes)

Clay Date (1 class)

For a full description of each Adult Class including date, time, cost and instructor please see the course outline on our website.

The Art Gallery of Burlington is funded by an annual grant from the city of Burlington, fees charged for events and additional financial support it gets from the provincial government, provincial agencies and private sector sponsors.

Return to the Front page

Centre for Skills Development & Training gets $1,931,884 over three years to help students become part of the middle class.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 28th, 2017



It was MP Karina Gould’s job to fill in for her Cabinet colleague The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and deliver the announcement that The Centre for Skills Development & Training (“The Centre”) in Burlington was going to be given $1,931,884 over a three year period.

Centre - Gould - Rizatto - student

From the left: Burlington MP Karina Gould, Lisa Rizatto, Centre CAO and a Get in Gear student during the funding presentation.

The funds are to be used to assist youth in determining a career path, introducing the skilled trades, building confidence and getting a paid work experience are the hallmarks of Get In Gear (GIG) – a program funded by Skills Link, part of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy, and delivered by The Centre for Skills Development & Training.

Skills Link supports projects that help young people who face more barriers to employment than others develop employability skills and gain valuable job experience. This helps them in making a successful transition into the workforce or to return to school. These youth could include those who have not completed high school, those who are unemployed or underemployed, low-income single parents, Indigenous youth, young persons with disabilities, youth living in rural or remote areas, or newcomers.

In a media the federal government explained that “Developing Canada’s youth is a priority. This project is a concrete example of what we can achieve for youth by working in partnership with organizations across the country. Projects like this one can help put regular paycheques into the reach of those who need it. But more than that, they give young Canadians the chance to change their future.”

Lisa Rizatto - The Centre’s CAO,

Lisa Rizatto – The Centre’s CAO,

The Centre’s CAO, Lisa Rizatto said the “program is a solid stepping stone. The three-year funding represents a strong investment in our youth. It provides them with choices to gain valuable real-world experience and to make informed decisions to positively impact their future, which not only improves their lives but also gives life to the economy.”

The working title for the program is Getting in Gear (GiG); it is free with a limit of 15 seats per session. Participants interested in the 10-week, in-class program which is followed by a 10-week paid work placement, can call 905-333-3499 x182 to find out more about the application procedure, or visit thecentre.on.ca/SkilledTrades/GetInGear/

Get in Gear logo


Eligibility requirements for Get in Gear participants include:
· Between 17-30 years old
· Legally entitled to work in Canada
· Not attending full-time school, work or training
· Not in receipt (or never have been in receipt) of Employment Insurance benefits
· Motivated to succeed
· Looking for help to overcome difficulties finding and keeping a job

Graduates of the GIG program have many options from pursuing full-time employment to undergoing formal training such as The Centre’s pre-apprenticeship skilled trades programs. The next GIG session will run from September 25.

The Centre for Skills Development & Training is a not-for-profit incorporated affiliate of the Halton District School Board with locations in Burlington, Milton, Oakville and Mississauga. The Centre helps people at all stages of life get on a path to career success—from youth just starting out, to older workers who have been laid off; from newcomers to Canada who need to improve their workplace English, to people interested in the trades who need to build their technical skills; and from small business owners looking to hire staff, to large companies who need help developing and transitioning their workforce.

Return to the Front page

Burlington Air Cadet chosen for six weeks of intensive training.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 26, 2017


Becoming a pilot is more than just learning how to fly. It also takes hard work in learning and understanding how the aircraft works and is put together.

Air Cadet Alexander Lundy from 715 Mohawk Squadron in Burlington, Ontario has been selected for the Advanced Aviation Technology – Aircraft Maintenance Course at Canadore Cadet Training Centre.

The program runs from July 9th to August 18th in North Bay where Lundy will install and remove rivets used in aircraft metal structures, performing a landing gear retraction test on a fixed wing aircraft and assemble an input driveshaft from a turbine powered helicopter.

Air cadet Lundy Alexander

Air cadet Alexander Lundy. Photo credit: FSgt Kendra Gardner

Cadet Lundy’s favourite part about the training so far has been, “learning about the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) trade. I want to be able to teach younger cadets at my home squadron.”

There are approximately 60 air cadets who complete the program in a setting that Lundy describes as just fine – “the rooms are air conditioned and the beds are hotel quality; it’s an excellent training centre”

Canadore Cadet Training has provided this elite training since 2007 where hundreds of cadets have completed their training. They bring their new skills back to their local squadrons to share with their peers and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

The cadet program is open to all youth between the ages of 12-18 years old with a focus on leadership, citizenship and healthy living. Anyone who feels they are ready for the challenge, visit www.cadets.ca and click on “Find Us” and visit our Facebook page to see their adventures! www.facebook.com/centralregioncadets


Return to the Front page

Bateman parent leadership decide they don't want their reasons for seeking an Administrative Review widely known or understood. Figure that one out.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2017



School is out and not for just the students.

Much of the staff at the Board of Education are taking their vacations, however there is work that has to be done – one of those tasks is responding to the requests for an Administrative Review made by parents from both Lester B. Pearson and Bateman high school.

Bateman parents

It took Bateman some time to organize themselves – were demonstrations like this effective?

Each parent group is preparing their requests separately and when completed they file the request with the Ministry of Education. That was dine early in July.

The Ministry sends a copy to the Board of Education and gives them 30 days to prepare the Board staff response to the parent request for the review.

Board communications people advise use that the task of responding was assigned to a number of senior staff.
That document is due in the hands on the Ministry during the first half of August.

When the Ministry has both sets of documents they sit down and do a review to determine if they, the Ministry, should appoint a facilitator who will be given the task of reviewing the documents and making a decision.

The facilitator can decide that there was nothing wrong with the Program Accommodation Review that took place or he can decide that there were flaws and order the Board to hold another Review. There is a considerable amount of latitude for the facilitator

Halton District School Board has been told in the past that the process they used to decide to close a school was not acceptable.

Sometime in September the public should learn what is come to come out of the request for the Reviews.

The Gazette recently published the request that was made by the parents at Lester B. Pearson. It is a strong document and has merit. 

We were not as fortunate with our request for a copy of the document prepared by the Bateman high school parents.

Responding to our request, Lisa Bull, a Bateman parent and a member of the Program Accommodation Review committee, who was a strong and very vocal advocate for more innovation in the thinking from the Board staff, said the following:

You continue to call out/blame the parents of Bateman for not getting into the ‘fight’ soon enough. This is problematic for several reasons. First, it ignores the fact that few parents from any schools other than Central and Pearson attended the first public meeting. How about blaming the HDSB for not adequately or competently explaining WHAT the PSR process was and how it could potentially impact schools and communities? I am an engaged and informed parent and I wasn’t at that first meeting. I did not understand, at that point in time, what PAR was about or why I should care. As you know, the more I learned the more active I became as was the case with many in our community. I blame the HDSB for their lack of competence in community engagement. Not the parents who have proven that they can and will show up when needed.

Ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collard told the Gazette that “communications to parents come directly from the HDSB. All Burlington parents with an email address in our system would have gotten the emails through our synrevoice email system.

Ms Bull, the excuse you give just doesn’t hold water.

For many of the parents of special needs students at Bateman, getting to additional meetings is incredibly difficult. Many of these parents are exhausted by the daily challenges of caring for their kids. To blame them for not getting into this sooner is victim blaming and is behavior that is just as shameful as that of the HDSB.

I know that you believe that our Admin Review document should be made public and that this should be done via the Gazette. This is your opinion and desire but is not a requirement. Given the position that you have taken and the opinions you have published about the Bateman community, our Committee will not be sending our report at this time.

Responses like this are often described as “shooting the messenger”

Bateman parents have struggled with getting their response out which is unfortunate – they have a very strong case but instead of making their case they fell back on emotional arguments and claimed that the Central parents had ‘thrown them under the bus’.

Bateman school rep - confirm

Sharon Picken, a PARC member – never gave as much as an inch in her argument to keep Bateman open.

The Central parents fully understood the risk and pulled together as a team, raised $14,000 in a silent auction to ensure they had any funds they might need and then dug deep and pulled out all kinds facts that the Board staff had missed.

The Central case was so compelling that the Director, with the support of his staff, decided to change the recommendation and ask the trustees to close Bateman and send some of the students to Central and others to Bateman.

Bateman parents weren’t prepared to accept that the Director of Education did what any intelligent person would do – review new information and if the information was valid and relevant change the decision.

The Bateman parents had only to look at the map that showed the distance between Nelson and Bateman to realize that they were at risk for closure.

When the Director of Education revised his decision the Bateman parents began to say that it was because Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, who had a child at Central high school and was made one of the Central high school representatives on the PARC, had undue influence with the Director.

They alluded to meetings Meed Ward had with the Director of Education and all the communications tools she had as a city Councillor.

What Meed Ward had going for her was her skill as a community organizer.  She worked hard with a dedicated team that was focused and supported by a community that was going to do whatever it took.

Lisa Bull shocked

PARC member Lisa Bull who was one of the better thinkers on that committee.

Bateman had skills of its own.  Lisa Bull was also a member of the PARC and she was consistent in her drive to get the Board staff and the trustees to look at the problem the Board faced with fresh eyes and not take a simple solution: – too many schools – close a school or two and the problem is solved.

The Bateman parents know it is n’t quite that simple and the tragedy for this city is that the trustees were not able to see a solution within the more than 50 delegations made.

Bateman was fortunate in that they had the best trustee there is on the Board.  Amy Collard bust her buns to sway her fellow trustees and gave the Director of Education more than one uncomfortable moment when she did her level best to get her motion on the table and ensure that it was properly and fully debated.

Collard, serving her second term as a trustee, was acclaimed on both occasions.  She should be acclaimed a third time.

When Bateman realized it had a fight on its hands they did some superb community grass roots work.  They got excellent television coverage but they were not able to catch the ears of a majority of the trustees.

It was at this point that the public began to get a glimpse of just what the Community Pathways Program was really about and how unfortunate the impact was going to be on the parents who had children in those programs.

We don’t know what the Bateman parents chose to say in their request for an Administrative Review. The document is public and the Gazette will use the provincial Freedom of Information process to get a copy and publish the details.

Collard Amy

Ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collard.

The tragedy in all this is that there are several hundred students who will experience significant upset and turmoil in their lives.  There are parents who believed they had finally found a school that met the needs of their children.  All that is at risk.

The Board staff has said they will provide the Bateman parents and their children with facilities and a level of service that will be better than what they currently have.

The saving grace in all this is that the Bateman parents have a trustee who will be watching very closely to ensure that the students don’t go without.

What Collard is not going to be able to change is the social environment in the school they are being transferred to – that is the real challenge for everyone.


Return to the Front page

Just over a minute of pure raw energy - fascinating!

eventsred 100x100By Staff

July 20, 2017




That is something to watch. All that energy.

Quite a show. Video lasts just over a minute.

Runs for just over a minute – astounding, CLICK HERE


Lightning - Sussex

Lightning display over Sussex in the UK yesterday evening

Return to the Front page