Public school board invites three year old's to the virtual classroom world

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is this a sign of the way education is going to be delivered in the decades ahead?

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has put out a call to all three year olds offering them an opportunity to learn about Kindergarten through a virtual experience.

Families are invited to learn about starting Kindergarten and sign up to receive a welcome package.

Starting school is a big step for children and parents/guardians, and the Halton District School Board wants to make that transition as smooth as possible said the HDSB in a statement released yesterday.

Students at Lincoln Centennial public school. Ontario school boards are struggling to find low-cost options to school additions to accommodate full-day kindergarten. Some options may include bussing kids. Reading are Heyley Ta and Zeynep Coskan-Johnson. Feb 21 2013. Bob TYmczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI AGENCY

Is this model of early education about to disappear ?

This fall, the HDSB is welcoming future students and their families to a virtual Kindergarten experience at kindergarten.hdsb.ca to learn more about making the first school experience a happy one.

Due to current public health restrictions, traditional in-person Kindergarten Open Houses are not possible this year. Instead, the HDSB has created a virtual experience for three-year olds and their families.

At kindergarten.hdsb.ca, three-year olds can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their future classroom might look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids. Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.

screen-time-and-students-banner

Is this the classroom of the future?

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2021 and will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual) through the school your child will attend. Further information will be shared in the new year. To begin Kindergarten in September 2021, children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) and must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Senior Kindergarten (Year 2).

Come September of 2021 the HDSB will have a new Director of Education as well. Stuart Miller advised the Board of Trustees recently that he would be retiring in August.

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Amateur radio is something those looking for a something to keep them occupied might consider

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Figuring out what to do with the time we have on our hands is going to be a bit of a challenge for some people.

The Burlington Amateur Radio Club sent us a note saying – Hello – we’re here!

They report that there is a surging interest in Amateur Radio all over the world.

RADIO IN dUBAI

Yathiraj Chintagunta

Today’s Amateur Radio is not what their grandfather’s ham radio was all about. The Burlington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) offers an on-line course which became particularly interesting to Yathiraj Chintagunta who was stranded in Dubai unable to return to his home in Mississauga. His “handle” is now VE3GYP.

Amateur radio is a fascinating hobby that frequently becomes essential for people in some parts of the world when there is a disaster and normal forms of communication are not available.

If you’re at all interested get in touch with Rod Clifton, ve3iso@gmail.com • 905-335-0267 or Hugh McCully, Education Director.

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Stuart Miller, Director of Education for Halton District School Board resigns

News 100 redBy Staff

November 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At last night’s Board of Trustee meeting (Nov. 18, 2020) Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board, officially announced his retirement, effective Aug. 11, 2021.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of education HDSB resigns – why now?

Miller, who has been the HDSB Director of Education since 2015 says the decision was difficult but he will always look back on his career in Halton with the fondest of memories.

“Although there have been many challenging moments, especially this year as we navigate through the pandemic, they are far outweighed by those times that brought me joy and a sense of purpose,” Miller says. “I only hope that I was able to do the same for all those staff, parents and especially students I have had the pleasure to work with and for. I would very much like to thank the current Board of Trustees and all those former trustees who entrusted me to lead the Board. Your faith in public education and confidence in me will never leave my thoughts.”

In her remarks, Halton District School Board Chair Andréa Grebenc says: “On behalf of all the Trustees, we thank Stuart for all he has done for the students, staff, Halton community and beyond. Stuart has inspired his team to do amazing, innovative things.”

“Stuart has reached into schools to develop personal, encouraging relationships with students and frontline staff. He has been an amazing relationship-builder with a wonderful sense of humour. His fiery oration has energized and galvanized, but it has also invoked empathy and a sense of duty and focus. Stuart looks for ways to both improve the system and himself, and he has accomplished so much in his long career with the Halton District School Board.”

Miller joined the HDSB in 1984 as a secondary school science and math teacher. His teaching career included teaching in Scotland and in Malawi, East Africa. In addition to being a Principal and Vice-principal in the HDSB, he also coached hockey and soccer, coordinated science fairs, and initiated and organized social justice conferences for students.

In 2009, Miller was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Education, and moved into the role of Associate Director in 2014. Prior to becoming the Director of Education, Miller had been instrumental in creating the Welcome Centre for students new to Canada and implementing an expansion of the international student program within the Board.

“I want to thank the senior team, both current and past,” Miller says. “You have been an endless source of inspiration to and for me. Your dedication to the welfare and success of our students and staff are unparalleled.”

The Board of Trustees will begin a comprehensive search process for a new Director of Education in the new year.

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Covid19 and Mother NAture - there is a connection and Burlington Green wants to hear from you and your experiences

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We sometimes wonder how money moves around in this city.

Burlington is a very wealthy city with small pockets of poverty and people who struggle to meet their basic needs.

Rents are very high.

The plus side of wealth is the people that have it in Burlington are very good about sharing it.

The Burlington Foundation handles many of the endowments that families have created. The Foundation is good at spotting where needs are and going back to those who can donate and asking for funds.

One of the recent asks resulted in a Pandemic Response Fund that handed out the second phase of their planned program.

Burl Green nature artBurlington Green was the recipient of one of the grants. They have used the funds they were given to put together a program: Nature Friendly Burlington initiative that will connect more of the community to local green space.

The Nature Friendly Burlington initiative will connect more of the community to stewardship opportunities and to a multitude of benefits nature experiences provide.

With the program structure in place the folks at Burlington Green want to hear from you

They want to know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.

These are stressful time – there are more questions than answers on the minds of most people.

We are moving into a significant festive season – and it is going to be very different.

How do we cope- what supports are there out there for every demographic.

Burlington Green likes using a contest approach to draw responses from the community. There is a chance to win an eco-prize – you are automatically entered into a draw when you let them know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.
Their core question is: For many of us, 2020 has been a difficult year. And many of us have turned to nature for solace, escape, refuge, and fun too! How have you enjoyed nature during COVID?

You get to the question and the opportunity to tell them what you do by CLICKING here.

 

 

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Art Gallery in the running for a significant award for one of the best events they put on in 2019

artsblue 100x100By Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Art Gallery of Burlington is in the running of a significant award by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries
The Gender Conspiracy, ran from August 31st to December 31st 2019. The event, curated by Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Suzanne CArte 2

Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

AGB was listed as one of three in the Exhibition of the Year Budget under $20,000 category.

Hosted by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, the annual OAAG/AOGA awards celebrates outstanding achievement, artistic merit, and excellence in arts institutions and professionals in the public art gallery sector.

The OAAG/AOGO Awards recognize new exhibitions, publications, programs and community engagements that have been produced and commissioned by Ontario’s public galleries.

Gender Conspiracy Award

The event was something Burlington had never experienced before. It was very well attended.

The Gender Conspiracy is an Open Letter to the Trans and Gender Diverse communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to express allyship in furthering the discourse on gender fluidity and identity, sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, and consent to promote the mental health and safety of all LGBTQI2S* communities.

The AGB is determined to be vigilant and visible in our support of LGBTQI2S people by placing critical conversations on gender diversity back into the public education sphere.

The exhibition hosted a significant public programming stream in collaboration with community partners; The Positive Space Network, EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, JAYU Human Rights Film Festival, Burlington Public Library, McMaster University Department of Gender Studies and Feminist Research, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School Position Space (GSA), and Oakville Galleries.

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Get to know your mask really well - you will be using it when you next put on sun skin care products - Really!

News 100 redBy Staff

November 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We asked the Regional Medical Officer of Health for some detail on masks.

What kind of mask works best and how do you care for the masks that you purchase. And what should one be looking for when they are buying masks on-line.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health

We didn’t get quite the answers we were hoping but what we did get was certainly detailed enough,

This is what your taxes are paying for:

Masks are most effective when they are worn correctly.

Wear a mask made of three layers, including a middle, filter layer for improved protection. Masks should be made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or linen. Two layer masks do not need to be discarded, instead consider making or buying a three-layered mask when it is time to replace your two-layer non-medical mask.

Wear a mask that fits well around your nose and mouth, without gaps at the sides (for example, cloth mask, balaclava, bandana, or scarf).

Clean your hands before putting on, taking off or adjusting your mask.

Touch only the straps when putting on and taking off a mask.

Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contaminating your hands.

mask hold by strings

Hold the mask by the strings

If reusable, store in a clean place and wash regularly.

Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage bin if damp, soiled or damaged, and wash your hands afterwards.

Do not leave discarded masks on the ground or in shopping carts.

Masks or face coverings with an exhalation valve do not filter virus particles when you breathe out. In order to protect others nearby, wear a non-medical mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without leaving a gap between the face and the mask.

mask n95

High end face mask

Medical masks, such as N95 respirators, protect against respiratory droplets from others entering the nose or mouth. Medical masks are needed by healthcare workers for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.

Some employers (that do not provide health care services) may require staff wear medical grade masks in order to meet safety requirements.

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Have you heard of Kid Poker?

sportsgold 100x100By David Burke

November 12, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Have You Heard of ‘Kid Poker’? What it Takes to Become a New Daniel Negreanu

Canadian poker sensation Daniel Negreanu is a phenomenon at the card table. Winning his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) golden bracelet at the tender age of 23 earned him the nickname ‘Kid Poker’ – and many more successes followed that early triumph. He is the third biggest money winner in tournament history, amassing an eye-watering $42,000,000 in winnings across the course of his career.

Early years
Daniel Negreanu was born in Toronto in 1974, the son of Romanian immigrants who moved to Canada to give their kids a better life. At a very young age he started to hustle in pool halls and play poker in his hometown, honing his skills. He found he was blessed with a way with numbers, and excellent probability skills, a crucial attribute for a budding poker star.

He left high school and immediately started playing cards full time, taking money from much older and more experienced players, building a tidy bankroll in the process.

He gravitated towards Las Vegas with his winnings, only to lose everything. After coming back to Toronto and rebuilding he tried his luck again and again, returning from the Vegas Strip empty-handed, until one day his luck changed.

Hours of Practice and Dedication
In 1998 he announced himself to the world stage by winning his first WSOP gold bracelet, the youngest ever to do it at 23 years old. Over the years five more bracelets would be won – including in a bumper 2004 where he made 11 final tables and won almost $4.5 million, becoming the WSOP player of the year. 2013 saw him named WSOP player of the year for the second time, the only player to achieve that feat.

Negreanu puts his success down to more than just luck. After his initial Vegas setbacks, he dedicated himself to the game, studying and playing for hours on end, working on his theory, tactics, gameplay and bluff technique.

Regarding the actual amount of practice and dedication you need to become a good poker player, he once mentioned in his blog – “Yes, you may become the best player in that game, but until you have proven you can be, let’s assume you are still in the learning phase and shouldn’t expect to jump out of the gate and be the best player at the table. Based on what I’ve heard, the best players in that game may make as much as $30 an hour.

Deduct 30% from that, if all goes well you can target $21 an hour. To make the math easier, let’s just make it $20 flat per hour. Since our goal is to make $100,000 a year, now we can have a rough idea of how many hours we actually need to spend at the table playing poker. That comes to 5000 hours a year playing. If we break down that further, that comes to 417 hours a month, which breaks down to over 100 hours a week!

This is before we even add all of the study hours required to be in line with our vision statement. For every 10 hours of play, you should add at least two hours of study time. Add on another 1000 hours a year of study, which boils down to 14 hours a week.”

Sounds like a lot, right? That was exactly what he did – made his time serve one goal – becoming the best out of best.

For anyone tempted by Negreanu’s success, this time commitment should be seriously thought through. However, if you have made the decision to follow in his footsteps, some professionals suggest practicing online. Websites like LegalBetting go into details on advantages of online poker versus the real-life version and give potential players a choice of online casinos renowned for their focus on poker. The beauty of hubs for online poker like this one, is that they let you practice different variations, for example on Legalbetting there is Texas Holde’m and Omaha, and even information on tournaments.

Following Negeanu’s advice, budding poker professionals should practice on as many poker variations as possible, and could even make use of the tactic and strategy needed or other games available online, such as Baccarat and Blackjack. Anything that serves brushing up your tactique. Negreanu even advises playing chess, as he once said: “Playing chess can make you a better poker player because it forces you to think several moves ahead. That kind of intense mental exercise develops a deeper level of thinking than is typically encountered when playing poker.”

It’s easy for players to practice chess online. There are plenty of spots out there, such as Chess.com, where, other than learning about the game of chess, fans can find Negreanu’s matches as well as watch others playing live.

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Procedural bylaw matters - Clerk is setting out some adjustments

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was a bit of a rumbling and part of the earth that we know as Burlington may have moved just a bit.

The Clerk’s office released a report that will be discussed on Tuesday – changes to the Procedural Bylaw – the document that sets out the rule on how Council has to act.

Some good changes.

We have set out the report and added some editorial comment beneath many of the changes to give just what is being done some context.

In response to the committee review, the Clerk’s department has been working on expanding tools which enable residents to better interact with Council and in the Council process. The proposed amendments stem from an analysis of the committee review survey feedback, conducted in 2019. The survey comments indicated that the processes for communicating with Council were not apparent and that not having that information was a barrier to participation. Staff anticipate that these amendments will help to enhance communication for residents and Council, in creating rules and standards for Council correspondence, and petitions.

Additional amendments are proposed to align the By-law with legislation, and to create a timeline for when the public can reasonably expect when additional information is provided to Council and made available to public.

Addendum Timelines
At present, there is no timeline for how additional information is provided to Council or made available to the public. Staff are proposing to create a timeline for the release of additional meeting materials to ensure that both the Council and public have a reasonable expectation of when they will receive additional information. Staff will ensure that the addendum is posted not less than 24 hours before the hour for holding the meeting.

Finally – all too often addendum items have been added to the agenda at the last minute.

Should Council approve the proposed amendments, the additional items package will be renamed the revised addendum and that it be posted to the website for the public. Staff will ensure that the updated revised addendum is distributed to Council and posted to the City’s website not less than 12 hours before the meeting, to ensure that information is provided to the public.

Special Meetings
Current practice affords the Mayor or the City Manager to call a special meeting, the Clerk is then directed to petition Council to determine if there will be a quorum of Council present at the meeting. In review of the Municipal Act, S.O. 2001, c. 25 (the Act) section 240 the current procedure by-law provisions are incongruent with the Act.

Incongruent is putting it mildly

Council in memory

A majority of Council members could Call a Special meeting of Council. Good move – hobbles the Mayor who has been calling Special Council meetings at the drop of a hat.

The staff are recommending that the Procedure By-law be amended to align with the provisions outlined in the Act. This would allow the Mayor to call a special meeting, and they may be requested by a Council resolution to call a special meeting. In advance staff will poll Council to ensure that a quorum of Council is available before the meeting is called.

In addition, a proposed second clause to the special meeting section aligns with section 240 (b) of the Act. This would allow for the majority of members of Council to request a special meeting by petition. Upon receipt of the petition, the Clerk shall call the special Council meeting. This would allow for a majority of members of Council to request a special meeting.

We were not aware that the City Manager could call a Special Meeting of Council.  The Mayor has used the calling of Special meetings in a manner that this reporter has never seen before in 40 years of covering councils – they were being held at the rate of one a month.

Correspondence and Petitions
Currently, there are no provisions in the Procedure By-law that address how official correspondence, or a civic petition is received. According to the By-law, the only way to participate at a Council or at a standing committee is to do so as a delegation, this is echoed on the City’s website. The Clerk’s department currently allows for correspondence and has a provisional process in place for petitions but there are no resources that are publicly available. The proposed amendments set forth a detailed process and timelines which have been included in the accompanying amending by-law

In drafting the new sections, 42. Correspondence and 43. Petitions, staff have reviewed other procedural by-laws to better understand how other jurisdictions process these documents. Both correspondence and petitions will be handled in a similar fashion, with aligning deadlines. Staff have proposed that only petitions will be received at Council, as they will be ceremonially read into the record. If there are no additional motions regarding a petition or a piece of correspondence it will be received and filed.

It would be nice to see provision for one of the people behind a decision to be at the podium and able to answer questions from Council members.

Correspondence providing commentary on a matter that has been dealt with by Council will be received, circulated to members of Council, and filed, but will not appear on a minute record.

Correspondence that does not correspond to an agenda item, that is addressed to Council and received by the Clerk will be circulated. Petitions that do not correspond with an agenda item will be directed by the website to be sent to a member of Council, as it will require a sponsor. The member of Council who sponsors an item must submit a Municipal Officer’s report, outlining why the item was sponsored and the remedy sought. These items must abide by the deadlines regarding adding items of business on the agenda, the Wednesday, the week the agenda is published.

The requirement that a Petition be sponsored limits this tool.  If Council doesn’t want to hear what Petitioners have to say they could just be mute and ignore the Petition.  The Mayor should be appointed as the Sponsor of last resort or the Chair of the Standing Committee that will hear the petition

Administrative Changes
Staff are recommending the following administrative/housekeeping changes to the by- law.

Section Change
1.2 Italicize Name of Act
14.1 (c) Delete reference to “Citizen” in connection with citizen advisory committees
20.2 Capitalize the word Chair
27.3 Italicize Act name
41 Addition of Header – Public Participation
41.7 Deletion of incorrect references in Planning Act and correction
41.13 Deletion of incorrect section for delegations and correction

Strategy/process
The proposed amendments realign the Procedure By-law closer to legislation and with common meeting practices.

Options Considered
There are other areas in the current Procedure By-law that need review, these will be done over time and be brought back through subsequent amendment packages.

It would have been nice if these “other areas” were set out so that people could think about them and make comments to the Clerk.

Engagement Matters:
A public survey, hosted on the GetInvolvedBurlington.ca webpage open from April 30, 2019, through to June 7, 2019 received 385 respondents. The public survey posed questions to determine barriers to participation, advisory committee experience, and asked for suggestions to improve the system. This information was helpful in determining what services needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents working with Council.

Kudos to the Clerk’s office for determining what services were needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents

Should Council approve the procedure by-law amendments, supplemental materials will be created to help individuals navigate processes such as webpages and tip sheets.

Staff will work with Corporate Communications to ensure that public materials are reviewed to ensure that they are in plain language.

Conclusion:
Creating rules with respect to correspondence and petitions will help residents to understand what is involved and what they can expect. Rules and additional information will also work towards breaking down barriers, which will allow residents to more freely communicate and comment on agenda items that are before Council.

 

 

 

 

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Students will move in the education model within which they will complete the academic year.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The closing date for parents to decide if their child was going to stay in virtual or return to a classroom – or move out of a classroom into virtual within the Halton District School Board – closed on October 27th

Hall full of students

A significant number of high school students have opted for a virtual classroom. Principals and teachers now have to create classes for these students.

The Board of Education now has to rebuild its student allocation set up.

David Boag

David Boag, Associate Director of Education HDSB

David Boag, Associate Director of Education, explains that there is a tremendous amount of work that has to get done at the school level where the principal and the individual teachers re-build the structure and population of a class. Board Superintendents are on hand to pitch in and help.

There are now 1500 high school students being educated in virtual classrooms. The number at the elementary level is low relative to the secondary level. The precise numbers will be available at the HDSB trustee meeting on Wednesday.

The Gazette does not have a break down yet on the distribution between the four Halton municipalities.

The actual move from one model to the other will take place on November 30th.

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Miller on disrupting the systemic Black racism that exists in the Halton District School Board

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For Stuart Miller, Director of Education of the Halton District School Board, it was a problem he really didn’t need but when it landed on his desk – he moved quickly to get to the bottom of it and ensure there was a resolution.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of Education of the Halton District School Board

It took a couple of weeks – he met with the people who were impacted by what Miller called Anti-Black discrimination. “I had to determine where it happened and how it happened.”

A student at Oakville Trafalgar high school felt she had been discriminated against because of the colour of her skin. She posted her views on Instagram – they went viral.

Miller  learned quickly that resolving the issue for a student wasn’t enough.  “I believe our Board has levels of systemic racism that need to be rooted out” said Miller who had all the Halton District School Board teachers take part in a full day of anti-discrimination training during a PD day in September”, adding that there will be a lot more training in the months and years ahead.

“There will be no more excuses or just talking.  I want to disrupt the practices and habits that our teachers have let develop. We owe that to the students who attend our schools.”

The HDSB has always had an Equity department.  When Miller was appointed Director of Education more than six years ago it was headed up by one part time principal.  Today that unit has a full time principal in place – he will be very busy.

“We will be rolling out an Equity Action and Accommodation Plan that will help people realize the biases they have and just what a bias is – they need to learn just what this stuff is” said Miller.  The Equity department has been expanded and Miller has hired Jewel Amoh who holds a doctorate in law to  advise him on equity issues.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis

A number of years ago Miller had put plans in place to have former provincial NDP leader Stephen Lewis speak to teachers across the Board.  The event got cancelled on two occasions – mostly due to conflicts and administrative reasons.

“We are going ahead with that this year” said Miller.  “This time it will be done virtually and I am going to ensure that every student of colour in the HDSB has an opportunity to take part.  There isn’t a more compelling voice than that of Stephen Lewis when it comes to battling discrimination.

Bringing about changes in the way a large organization handles relationship problems is no small matter. The way we behave is ingrained and we often don’t realize the impact we are having.

We are now a society that is much more diverse culturally: adapting to the changes does not happen because a memo was sent out.

Watching how Stuart Miller shifts the way discrimination issues in Burlington, Oakville and Milton are handled and at the same time getting to the point where it just doesn’t happen is going to be interesting.

BLM march June

It was a quiet disciplined march to city hall to say that Black Lives Matter.

Last year there was a march on Burlington’s city hall. A reported 4,000 young people quietly walked along New Street and sat on the street in front of city hall.

The Black Lives Matter signs made it clear that these young people were getting it. Now to spread that understanding throughout all of Halton…

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The anti-Black racism problem is now very front and center in Oakville

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

October 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The issue came to the surface when Medina Jones posted her complaint about the way she had been treated by the Guidance office at her high school, Oakville Trafalgar in Oakville, on her Instagram account

The item went viral.

Oakville Trafalgar HS crestThe Grade 12 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School in the Halton District School Board, has been working her entire high school career with the aim of attending a prestigious British university where she could excel in her selected field of study.

To apply to the U.K., Jones required a letter from her school providing a set of predicted grades based on both her previous achievements and what she and her teachers expected she would achieve in her courses this year.

The British system leaves room for discretion, according to the U.K.-based Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), though it outlines policies to guide educators on how to ensure grades are neither inflated nor suppressed.

“Students should be given the opportunity to discuss their predicted grades with you,” reads UCAS’s recommendations.

“It may be that they can demonstrate progress, and you’re comfortable in changing their prediction. Equally, you may not be aware of extenuating circumstances that have affected their performance to date.”

Yet Jones claimed that the school’s guidance department didn’t consult with her past teachers, nor did it speak to her about her goals. Instead, she was dismayed to find she was provided with several predicted grades that were below what her record indicated she would likely achieve.

From Jones’ perspective, this was just one more example of a pattern of anti-Black racism in which Black and racialized students at the school were discouraged from pursuing ambitious goals.

Instagram_logo

Instagram

She took to Instagram to share her story earlier this month. The video went viral, racking up over 15,000 views, liked and commented on by past and present students, some who shared their own experiences of racism.

In the meantime, her mother Rowda Mohamud wrote to the school and to the board’s Superintendent of Equity and Inclusive Education.

The Superintendent followed up with the school principal. After a frustrating back and forth, Jones eventually received revised predicted grades she felt more fairly reflected her capabilities, though without any further transparency.

The Board superintendent responsible for the school ,Tina Salmini told the family an investigation was underway, saying only that the allegations “are serious and will be responded to accordingly and in conjunction with our policies and procedures.”

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

The Director of Education for the Halton District School Board, which administrates the public schools in Oakville met with Mohamud and Jones, and later tweeted that “although the specific incident that came to light this week has been resolved, the much larger issues both she and the comments illustrated have not yet been fully addressed.

“It is clear from the comments and sentiments expressed by her and the other Black and racialized students of the HDSB that there is much work for us to do to end anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.”

(Jones and Mohamud said they won’t consider their issue “resolved” without an apology and accountability.)

That same day, Jones’ principal sent out a statement to the school community acknowledging concerns around “systemic discrimination” and inviting students to submit experiences through an online form.

Alexsis Morrison, who is Black and currently a second-year college student, said she took the school up on its offer. Back in Grade 10, she was told her 80 per cent average wasn’t good enough for her to transfer to the school by the same guidance counsellor accused of discriminating against Jones. She said her brother, currently in Grade 11, was also treated unfairly and discouraged from pursuing academic-level courses.

In an interview with CBC this morning Miller said the “short term issue circumstances” have been resolved. “We know what happened and how it happened.”

“We now have to be responsive and accountable to this community and that is going to require more work and more time.

“Being accountable is what we now have to focus on. These feelings are real,” said Miller after meeting with parents and students, “and they are going to be addressed and resolved.”

Asked by Ismaila Alfa, on CBC, how he was going to be accountable to the wider community on what happened, Miller didn’t duck the issue nor did he equivocate.

He acknowledged there are problems within the system saying that not only more has to be done to fix the problems, it has to be done faster.

HDSB’s Equity and Inclusive Education department is working hard to address systemic racism and the board will take the experiences of these students seriously and will be held accountable for necessary change.

“We will listen to parent and student feedback of their experiences and will work to eliminate the experiences of systemic racism for our Black and Indigenous students,’ Miller said in the statement.

The issue of colour is not new to Oakville, a prosperous community just to the west of Toronto.

Che-Marvel

Che – Marvel,

In 2016 Che Marvel, a woman of colour ran as a Black Woman in a privileged white community. In a local newspaper she said:

“In Canada we don’t talk much about race, not really. Sometimes an event will ignite public outrage, and then only some of us talk about it with in our own groups. It then disappears into the ether.

“We take great pride and solace knowing that we live in a relatively integrated and diverse society. Our racial gaze is often fixed on our neighbours in the United States, on their spectacle, their violence, their long unresolved racial history as though we don’t have our own. We have more conversations about the “Oscar So White” debate than Islamaphobia or Carding. We seem unable to have our own unique Canadian conversation on race and are unwilling to deliberately delve into the murky water of the politics of race.

“Maybe we are too polite, too uncomfortable, in too much denial, too afraid or perhaps we just don’t know how to really begin. Even in the midst of our own potent examples: the backdrop of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings, Carding, the over representation of First Nations and Afro Canadians in our prisons, and the Niqab firestorm.

“Incredibly, we can still act as though race is not a legitimate topic for public dialogue; and yet it is there. Always, it seems to be someone else’s problem. “

The “problem” is now very front and center in Oakville.

Significant parts of this article were picked up from the Toronto Star and the Oakville News

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Gold is seen by many as a safe investing haven during troubled and uncertain economic times

opinionred 100x100By April Smith

October 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The impact the coronavirus has had on global markets has been significant and sudden. Global and local economies are on the long road to recovery.

The stock market, for instance, experienced a dramatic crash in February which lasted until April. Investors’ immediate reaction to the pandemic was to sell their assets out of fear they would lose value. This of course resulted in prices plummeting. Amidst global panic, investors flocked to what’s long been considered a safe haven: gold.

Why gold is attractive

Gold bars

Gold is regarded as a safe haven because of its inherent value.

Among all the precious metals, gold remains the most traded with the biggest market. It is regarded as a safe haven because of its inherent value that comes with it being a shiny, durable, and rare commodity. Throughout history gold has been used as a standard of value and even used as a medium of exchange. Although countries no longer negotiate using gold, the metal is still highly coveted around the world.

For those reasons, gold is an attractive asset to own in times of economic uncertainty. The value of gold tends to rally in the midst of financial turmoil which is illustrated by its record-setting prices in recent months. Uncertainty from the coronavirus is, of course, the main reason for the surge in gold prices. Other factors that influence the price of gold are supply and demand, economic and geopolitical stability, and investor sentiment. But compared to other securities that perform when a nation is at its best, gold typically has an inverse relationship with stability.

The basics of investing in gold

There’s more than one way of investing in gold but the most direct is to own it. In fact, Canada has experienced a surge in gold jewelry sales not so long ago because of the positive sentiment towards the metal amidst financial hardship. The prices are more competitive and older people who still owned jewelry were able to take advantage of this by trading it. You can also consider purchasing bullion or gold coins to diversify your investment portfolio.

However, owning physical gold is challenging because you will have to authenticate it and find a way to store it securely. That’s why people turn to gold receipts, which are backed by actual gold and can be redeemed later on, or other assets backed by gold such as derivatives. These are investment instruments that allow investors to speculate, invest and trade in the market without owning the underlying asset. The other option is to own shares of assets backed by gold such as with an exchange traded fund or ETF. With gold ETF, you own assets or derivatives that are backed by the metal. Gold mining shares and gold futures are examples of what can be in a gold ETF which can give you the opportunity to profit from the performance of gold without owning it.

When to invest in gold

Experts state that there is no right time to buy gold — every investor should have some in their portfolio. It’s best, though, to buy gold when it’s still inexpensive. Gold prices have been declining recently as the US, which has the most active gold market, rebounds. Now might be a good time to purchase gold or gold-backed assets and store it for the long-term while it rides out many highs and lows.

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CORE gets off to a good fund raising start: pumpkins worked the first time

News 100 greenBy Gord Pinard

October 22, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

There are two things we would like to share with you today.

The first is this: we raised $8140 with our Pumpkin Fundraiser! We are absolutely floored by this number. Never in our most optimistic moments did we imagine that we could raise that much money from the sale of pumpkins. Thank you so very much to all of you who donated in varying amounts to this fundraiser. We are feeling encouraged in the truest sense of the word: your generosity has given us courage to continue this fight to protect our beautiful escarpment from the permanent environmental destruction that will arise if Nelson Aggregate’s application for two more open-pit mines is approved.

Nelson quarry aerial

The existing quarry has a number of years left. Community resident want this to be the end of open pit mines on the Escarpment.

Which brings us to the second thing: CORE Burlington consists of thirteen of your neighbours who have been working our hearts out for a year now, trying in every way we know how to stop this application from succeeding. We’re researching, reading dry reports on subjects that are new to us; we’re communicating to the public via our website, social media and email, in order to educate and update; we’re calling for critical emails-to-officials as required throughout the application process—which is complicated and involves approval from five different agencies!

Quarry map

The shaded areas to the left and at the bottom are where Nelson Aggregates wants to expand

But mostly, lately, we’ve been fundraising. Unquestionably the best shot we have at beating Nelson is to counter the case put forth in the review process by their lawyers and experts, with the case put forward by ours. We’ve raised just over $50,000 thus far, which we think is incredible. But we need to raise another $50K over the next few months and additional funding in 2021/22 in order to continue funding the expert help that has already begun.

Our fundraising team needs more worker-bees. We need help with planning and doing and donating and delivering. We also need some place to store the ‘in-kind’ donations we’ve been accumulating. Our next project is likely to be a pre-order gift basket sale for Christmas. We’d like to do an online silent auction as well, since we’ve had several wonderful silent auction items donated in the past while.

Is there anything you can do to help? Are you willing and able to join the CORE Burlington fundraising team? We’ve been doing our work via phone-calls, zoom meetings, emails and outdoor, distanced meetings. It’s been challenging to do this work during a pandemic, but we’re pretty pleased with our fundraising results so far. And we’re (honestly) having fun. Doing this sort of work is not such a bad way to find light and inspiration in these darkening COVID days.

Related news story:

The CORE argument

Gord Pinard is the spokesperson for Conserving our Rural Ecosystems

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HDSB Chair Points Out That Spending Reserve Funds is Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The flow of information from the Halton District School Board and the parents with children in school could be better.
Parents do get information from teachers, especially for those students who are being taught virtually.

What the parents are not getting is the bigger picture – information that sets out what the Board of Education is up against and the challenges they have to overcome.

It is October and we are hearing of what is called “June burnout” on the part of teachers.

They are being asked to do a job that isn’t the cake walk that a lot of parents talk about – they now have to perform under very different circumstances.

A thicker flow of information would be useful.

Where the parents in Halton are being informed is through the Chair of the Board of trustees. Andrea Grebenc, serving her second term as a trustee, now has a much firmer grip on the job and she is speaking out.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Chair Grebenc listening to Director of Education Stuart Miller

Grebenc has an excellent working relationship with her Director of Education Stuart Miller.

There are issues that Miller can’t say all that much about – but the Chair can.

Over the weekend Chair Grebenc said the funding is not what the province is saying publicly. Her Board decided to use $6.1 million out of the reserve funds to cover pandemic related expenses, “that is $6.1 million that was earmarked for other expenses.

“As an example, if we say OK allocate these reserve funds to hire more teaching staff, then we won’t be able to afford to give this school, this school, and that school the air conditioning they have been begging for for years. That’s the trade-off we are looking at. It’s not just money sitting around doing nothing” Grebenc said.

“It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul” she added.

In Halton about 20% of the students are being taught virtually. There is an opportunity for them to move from being virtual to in-class students. The Board at this point has no idea how many will make the switch.

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MMR High School has yet to experience any COVID infections - principal Proteau supports her teaching staff and is almost a den mother to her students.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When we read about infection reports that are above 500 across the province and read about the severe restrictions being imposed in Quebec – it is reasonable to ask – What do I have to do to be safe?

We were invited out for Thanksgiving and wrote our friends asking if we could at least think about re-scheduling.

We have our own bubble that we are careful to maintain.

It’s just the two of us and a couple of dogs.

The vet was over yesterday – I was surprised about how casual he was – no mask either.

With people returning to their offices and rising up an elevator with five or six people that they don’t know – not something I want to have to do.

mmr the school

M M Robinson High School has not reported any infections.

We are getting reports from schools – there are infections. Nothing serious – not glaring hot spots – yet. Is this because we are all very careful or just lucky?

Ten schools have reported infections, all are secondary schools. None of the schools have been closed and the number reported that could be infected is at the 1 and 2 level.

MMR students 1

Students milling around outside the high school between classes keep a safe distance without supervision.

The province has released a revised approach to screening students before they head for school every day.

Like most government documents it is too long. The list of things to watch for is good and is set out below.

Claire Proteau has a very open respectful relationship with her students.  She reports that about 20% of her school population opted for virtual classes.

One of the biggest issues for Proteau is the level of education her staff is able to deliver with all the COVID precautions in place.

She works closely with the department heads and ensures that they are in very close touch with the classroom teachers.

“But it isn’t the same” she said.  “It is very hard to deliver a quality education under these circumstances.”  Proteau isn’t complaining, she just does her best to ensure that her students are getting the help they need to cope with what everyone has to deal with and at the same time strive to give them the education they deserve.

“I have a great bunch of students, they are a delight to work with and my teachers are giving it everything they have.  If there are problems we will deal with them.”

If we exercise that abundance of caution we will get through this. When we learn of the hundreds that are found to be infected each day we know that some people don’t take the precautions. They are usually the ones that move their lips when they read.

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How to Make Money On Gambling: No Deposit Bonuses

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games. However, the winnings can be obtained only when playing for real money (with the possibility of their further withdrawal to a card or online wallet).

dice 2

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games.

To increase your chances of receiving such a prize, it is worth listening to helpful advice from experienced professionals. If you are just starting your way in gambling, then you should pay attention to the no deposit bonus and the conditions to win without investing your money.

What Is No Deposit Bonus?
This reward is one of the casino promos that provides players with cash when they open an account or try a new game without replenishing it. In fact, there are not too many places where you can get real money with no deposit   So, these bonuses offer a great opportunity to try a new casino or new game with minimal risk.

Gambling platforms may offer two types of such rewards:

1. Cashable: they allow the player to withdraw both the bonus money provided and the winnings;

2. Non-cashable: they cannot be withdrawn, because the casino deducts it from the total winnings.

The main purpose of such gifts is to advertise the brand, as well as quickly increase a client base. Usually, gambling platforms use no deposit bonuses in order to attract new customers or reward regular players.

Dice 1

Understand the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus gambling – then have fun.

Thanks to this offer, players can try something new without risking their own money. Online casinos can also provide free rewards on any new game so that visitors can play it and only then replenish the account.

Pros and Cons of Using No Deposit Bonuses
It should be noted that everything has its positive and negative sides, and all types of free rewards as well. So let’s pay attention to the pros and cons of using no deposit bonuses:
Advantages:

1. Having used these rewards, you will be able to study the whole functionality of the site and make sure that it is worth your trust;

2. You will be able to test the game in the real money mode and understand the principle of its work;

3. The player does not spend his own money and, as a result, he does not have to invest his own funds, if something is wrong with a casino.

Disadvantages:
● Small size. If you think that casinos are giving hundreds of dollars, then you are wrong. Usually, the reward starts from $10-20 free dollars to several dozens of free spins;

● The original bonus will not be allowed to withdraw immediately after the receipt. The withdrawal option appears only after playing a wager;

● These rewards are issued for a small number of games. As a rule, the use of free spins is limited to one or a few video slots.

Having considered the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus, you are ready to start. Good luck!

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Set out as a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shoe strike 1a

A silent protest.

There they were.

Set out ever so neatly within Civic Square – more than 230 pairs of shoes.

They were part of a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

It was billed as a climate strike inviting everyone in Burlington to join in demanding that all levels of government act immediately on the urgent climate crisis.

The social distancing rules had to be respected. How do you do that?

The people who organized the event identified two places where the shoes could be dropped off. The Rolling Horse Community Cycle in Aldershot and a private home in Millcroft.

Participants were invited to insert a note inside their shoes to convey their message about why urgent action on climate change is important to them.

This was a silent protest. There were no opportunities for speeches or public announcements or political leader photo ops.

After the silent protest the shoes were collected and returned to hosts or donated to a local charity that will distribute them to those in need.

Shoe striike 1 b

Many of the shoes had notes in them – setting out the wish, hope, aspirations and dreams of those who had walked in those shoes earlier.

Similar Shoe Strikes were to take in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills; those situations didn’t work out very well.

Oakville found that their plans were upset with the COVID-19 rules on how many people could gather in a group.

Milton ran into bureaucratic problems – the need for a permit and the need for insurance.

Fridays for Future will be co-coordinating similar Climate Strikes throughout Canada. Locally, organizers come from a cross-section of groups: Burlington Biodiversity Team, Students for Change Halton, BurlingtonGreen Youth Network, Burlington Citizens Concerned about Climate Change (BC4), and local residents.

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The provincial government is going to have to take very strong measures to lower the rate of new infection. Another lock-down will be very painful

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

‘Did someone at Queen’s Park teach the Premier and his colleagues that song about “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”?

Money is flying out of the government coffers.

A million here; ten million there – yesterday it was $1 billion.

All for good reasons – this time it was to Expand COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing.

That we have to test so much is really the problem. We now know what we have to do to keep COVID-19 under control – create a safe bubble and stay in it.

The Prime Minister put it in language we could all understand. “There will be no Thanksgiving Dinners with extended family – but if we do the right things we have a shot at Christmas”.

No mask 2

A Canadian city with a diverse population.

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management.

The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

To date, Ontario has maintained adherence to public health measures and established a strong foundation for testing and case and contact management by:

covid virus

Smaller than microscopic – this virus needs you to become its home so that it can replicate itself.

• Establishing a provincial COVID-19 lab network with capacity for more than 40,000 daily tests;
• Establishing over 150 assessment centres;
• Testing long-term care home residents and staff in addition to the ongoing testing of staff and homes in outbreak;
• Providing up to 1,700 more contact tracers to support public health units in contact follow-ups through an agreement with the federal government;
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system to improve data quality and timeliness and eliminate the use of the multiple tools being used across the province and the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) for COVID-19;
• Launching COVID Alert, the country’s made-in-Ontario exposure notification app; and
• Launching a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public on how to keep them and their families safe, including targeted campaigns to young Ontarians.

Many people have heard all this before – it is the ones who haven’t heard, or don’t want to hear, that are the problem.

No masks - less than 8 days ago.

Less than 8 days ago in a Canadian city – near a university campus

Massive minimum fines is a start – something to catch their attention.

The rest of us can remind those who choose not to wear masks to start now.

The Regional Police have a program that allows the driver of a car who spots someone driving erratically to dial 911.

Amazing how many of these dangerous drivers get pulled over very quickly and charged with a Highway Traffic Offence.

The Provincial Medical Officer of Health has the power to take action along those lines.

Do it – use the billion dollars to swear in constables with the power to take people into custody if they are not wearing a mask.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Telephone Town Hall on Covid19 issues - panel of experts to take part

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There will be another Telephone Town Hall hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward this evening from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

The Mayor will be joined by a panel of local leaders to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca.

Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls (held on March 26, April 14, June 4 or July 16), you are not required to register your phone number again. To remove a name from the call list, email getinvolved@burlington.ca.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-779-0904 just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised that more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

Many of the questions not answered during the call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at burlington.ca/townhall, along with an audio file and full transcript of the call after Sept. 23.

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COVID-19 infections have been identified in three Halton elementary schools; nothing in Burlington

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board started their second week of having students in the schools – and no serious COVID-19 infections.

As of this morning there were 4 people in three schools who were sent home due to a suspected infection.

Emily Carr, Sunningdale (2 people) and Maple Grove reported people that were sent home. No detail on whether these were all students or if any teachers were involved.

None of the schools were closed.

Miller July 22

Director of Education, Stuart Miller on a ZOOM cal with the Board of Trustees

Director of Education Stuart Miller reports that the classes being delivered virtually are working their way through the early stages.

“We had some experience with the software last April, May and part of June when all that was available to students was the virtual classroom.

Now something in excess of 20% of the student population opted for a virtual education. Miller said that a bit of a sense of the new normal was beginning to take shape. The students are back in the classroom and learning new rules and procedures they have to follow.
“Perfect, it isn’t”, said Miller – but then there is no such thing as a perfect classroom situation.

Most of the schools are located in Oakville where all the data matrices are high. Miller was not able to say why the Oakville numbers are consistently high other than that perhaps more Oakville people have returned to work and are using some form of public transit.

Everyone from the Board administration, the trustees , parents, and everyone at the Public Health Unit, are watching the daily numbers very closely.

Toronto and Peel are the dangerous hot spots – the Premier talks loudly about putting parts of the province in another lock-down.

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