News from the Boardroom – March 10, 2020

Walk With A Purpose

St. Augustine School students and staff are working together to focus on Be Community. The school is involved in several community initiatives, including Community Walks throughout their neighbourhood.

The students and staff are committed to building positive relationships with parents, parish, and the broader community through the lens of the Catholic Graduate Expectations. The students are doing much more than a traditional stroll around their neighbourhood. They are actively engaged in Terry Fox Fundraisers, handing out Kindness Letters, and Christmas Caroling.

Students, Addison Neubauer and Derel Muela, told Trustees the walks symbolize inclusion. All 200 students are encouraged to participate. Addison said she liked speaking directly to her neighbours while sharing messages of kindness. While Derel described the monthly walk as a “happy time.”

PRO funding for schools for 2019-2020

Twenty-four thousand eight hundred and ninety-three dollars ($24,893) was allocated to OCSB by the Ministry of Education in place of PRO grants for the 2019-2020 school year. The Parent Involvement Committee recommended each OCSB Family of Schools be eligible to apply for funding of up to $1,500 to host a guest speaker.

Up-coming Speaker Sessions

Dr. David Trantor will be speaking at St. Paul High School on The Third Path on March 31, 2020. Meanwhile, on May 14th, there will be a Healthy Minds/Healthy Bodies evening at St. Paul High School featuring a speaker on Body Positivity and a presentation on bullying.

What is the Continuing and Community Education After School Literacy and Numeracy Program?

The After School Literacy and Numeracy Program for grade 7-10 students offers a safe, inclusive, accepting and engaging learning environment after the “end-of-day bell” rings. The program is available in all OCSB high schools. The after school program improves and enhances.

  • Literacy skills
  • Numeracy skills
  • Learning skills
  • Homework completion
  • Organizational skills
  • Resiliency, self-esteem, motivation and student confidence

Why does it Work?

  • No cost to students
  • Personalized programming based on student data
  • Dedicated staff
  • Classes across the system
  • Typically, two sessions per week and of course;
  • Snacks

The program supports learners through a personalized learning plan that uses student data to establish a customized program based on individual needs. In the past four years, the program has expanded from 722 students to 1256 students.

“This after school class exemplifies deep learning as the teacher creates authentic lessons and an environment where the students are free to take risks and maximize their learning.

Deanna Tremblay, VP, Notre Dame HS

“I really enjoy the after school homework club because I can learn, talk with my friends and talk with my teacher. If I have a question, I know I have someone I can ask for help.”

English Language Learner, Grade 8, Saint Mother Teresa High School

Records Management Update

Records Management staff continue to find efficiencies in our document storage and processes. In the past two years, savings of over 110,000 dollars were achieved in storage savings alone. Many of these initiatives serve to meet our Strategic Commitment to Be Innovative. The Copyright Discovery Federal Production Order is now complete. A total of nine schools were visited, resulting in 3 terabytes of data being sent to the Provincial Coordinator for review.

Implementation of the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), Laserfiche has been successfully completed within the Directorate, Human Resources and Finance (Payroll) departments. Special Education & Student Services and Continuing and Community Education will be the next departments to implement EDMS. All personnel files are now electronic resulting in increased efficiency concerning filing & retrieval times, the accuracy of data as well as increased security of confidential records.

2020/2021 Budget Process and Guidelines

Background

The 2020/2021 budget refers to the Board’s fiscal year September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021. The Ministry of Education is expected to release the Grants for Student Needs in April 2020. The 2020/2021 budget is due to the Ministry of Education by June 30, 2020.

Funding

The Ministry funding is based on Enrolment Projections, Revised Estimates, Grants for Student Needs Regulation, Estimates Forms/Software (anticipated).

Timelines

The Grants for Students Needs (GSN’s) are expected by April 2020. The budget must be approved before the end of June 2020. 

Budget Guidelines

The Ottawa Catholic School Board’s budget is developed each year per specific predetermined budget guidelines. The guidelines include both legislative and regulatory requirements.

Summary

Here is an overview of some of the more important guidelines/requirements the budget must comply with for 2020/2021:

  • Balanced budget;
  • Restrictions on use of accumulated Board surplus funds;
  • Special education spending restrictions;
  • School renewal or major repairs funding restrictions;
  • Rural and Northern Education Fund spending restrictions;
  • Learning Opportunities Student Achievement, Elementary Library Staffing, Mental Health Lead, Indigenous Education, New Teacher
  • Induction Program (NTIP) and Internal Audit spending restrictions;
  • Administration and Governance spending restrictions;
  • Class size requirements (updated as per changes announced March 3, 2020):
  • FDK – Average class size for full-day Kindergarten is 26:1
  • Primary Class Size
  • At least 90 percent of primary classes have 20 or fewer students
  • 100 percent of primary classes have 23 or fewer students
  • 100 percent of combined grades 3/4 classes have 23 or fewer students
  • Intermediate (Grades 4-8) – Average class size is 24.5:1
  • NEW Secondary (Grades 9-12) – Average class size for grades 9-12 is 23:1 subject to attrition phase-in.
  • Incorporates projected enrolment increases of 3.1% elementary and 2.4% secondary, 2.8% overall K-12. (These enrolments are per Ministry submission in November 2019 but will be updated during March 2020 to reflect current data.)

2020/2021 Budget Process and Guidelines

  • Salaries and benefits are to be provided per Ministry Class Size
  • Regulations and collective agreements;
  • Individual fixed costs and contractual obligations (i.e. debenture repayments, transportation costs, and operating costs related to new construction/additions) are to be
  • provided per contractual agreements;
  • Department budgets are adjusted annually for special grants as appropriate.

Staff Wellness Fund

In late 2019 a Staff Wellness Fund was created to promote wellness. The fund was capped at $50,000. Employees were encouraged to submit wellness ideas. One hundred and sixty-four submissions were received from all levels of Board staff. After review, 78 schools were chosen to receive staff wellness funding for various initiatives involving Staff Wellness.

Staff Wellness Ideas

  • Book and Craft Clubs
  • Staff Room/Spaces Upgrades
  • Fitness Sessions & Fitness items
  • Faith Sessions & Wellness Speakers

Elementary Arts in the OCSB

Arts in the OCSB are an integral part of our curriculum. In the Kindergarten program, visual arts, dance, music, and socio-dramatic play contribute in many ways to the development of children’s thinking and communication skills. The study of the Arts allows children to explore who they are and to experience the unique contributions that they make. By the time students reach grades 4-6, there are two strands of the arts taught in English and two are taught in French. There is flexibility at the school level, keeping in mind the strengths and passions of the educators involved.

The Board provides funding (every two years) to ensure all students have access to unique arts programs. Such as Blues in the Schools and RBC Bluesfest BITS program. Students have the opportunity to experience the talents of award-winning musicians through presentations, workshops and hands-on instructional techniques. The Board also celebrates school choirs and dance competitions during Catholic Education Week.

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