Here is a synopsis of information which may be of interest to Carlington Summit readers, gleaned from the websites of the local school boards.
Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board
Meeting Challenges Ahead
A.J.M. (Art) Lamarche has been elected Chairperson of the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board for the coming year, and Ms. Th_r_se Maloney Cousineau has been elected Vice-Chairperson. This is Mr. Lamarche's second term as Chairperson of the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board, having served in that capacity in 1999. Mr. Lamarche is the Trustee for Zone 20 (Rideau-Vanier, Rideau-Rockcliffe, Somerset), was Vice-Chairperson of the Board in 1998.
At the annual meeting of the Board in December, Mr. Lamarche thanked his fellow Trustees and Board staff for their hard work. Mr. Lamarche said there are challenges ahead, but he is confident the Board will be able to work together to successfully meet those challenges. Ms Maloney Cousineau said she is honoured to serve as Vice-Chairperson, pointing out the Board has made great strides in working together for the students' benefit.
Phil Rocco, Director of Education, presented the 2000 Annual Report. He said the report outlines some of the many accomplishments the Board has made over the past year and “identifies priorities for the future.” Some of those priorities include a commitment to Professional Development for all Board employees and a continued focus on the arts and improving technology. He added that the Board must continue to pressure the Ontario government to change the funding formula, “which does not work well in Ottawa-Carleton.”
Teachers ratify new contract
The Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) have ratified a new two-year agreement, retroactive to September 1, 2000.
The agreement, which covers approximately 2,200 elementary and secondary teachers at the Board's 78 schools in Ottawa-Carleton, provides salary increases of 5.5 per cent over the length of the contract, as well as improvements to the benefits package.
“I'm very pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement that is fair to our teachers while being within the financial resources of the Board,” said Board Chairperson Lamarche.
“We are extremely pleased to have an agreement with the Board,” said Donna Marie Kennedy, president of the Ottawa-Carleton Unit of OECTA. “It is fair and equitable, offers stability and labour peace for the next two years and maintains the positive working relationship the teachers have with the Board.”
Phil Rocco, Director of Education, congratulated everyone involved on both sides of the negotiations. He said everyone kept the best interests of the students in the forefront through out the process. He said these successful contract negotiations are an indication of the value the Board and the Administration place on their teaching staff. “We hold our teachers in high regard,” said Mr. Rocco.
Interest expressed in former French schools
The Board has expressed an interest in two schools that have been closed and declared surplus by the French Catholic Board. One of the schools is in Carlington, that being St. Bonaventure School located on Coldrey Avenue. The school may offer an opportunity to meet future accommodation needs.
After notifying the French Catholic Board of its interest in the schools, Board administration will initiate public consultation on accommodation alternatives with the Catholic School Council and the parents of St. Elizabeth School and St. Daniel School. Staff will return with recommendations, if any, at a later date.
Ottawa Carleton District School Board
Program change at Laurentian
Late last year the Board announced that Laurentian HS will offer a French Immersion program starting September 2001. The change is to be phased in over four years beginning with grade 9. The school will also adopt a partially semestered timetable. Under this timetable, while most students will take semestered courses, some core academic courses will remain non-semestered at grades 9 and 10 to meet the educational needs of students.
Student transfer policy changed
Amendments to the policy covering student transfers will now permit students to enter a secondary school at grade 9 if a program they intend to enter at grade 10 is not offered at their designated school. Ease of access may also be cited as a reason for transfer, on the understanding that transportation will not be provided by the Board.
In November, the Board approved in principle a policy of school choice. Staff was directed to bring draft revisions of pertinent existing policies and to provide an impact analysis to a Business Services Committee meeting in December if the policy is implemented using the following criteria:
Cross-boundary transfers approved on first come, first served basis
Approval of application is subject to class capacity and impact on class organization
Where approval would trigger an increase in teacher allocation at the receiving school, then the application will be subject to the staffing timelines in existence at that time.
New vision for secondary schoolsThe report entitled New Vision for Secondary Schools in the Board will be distributed to staff and partner groups for feedback. An analysis of the feedback will be completed by February 28, 2001. The report includes a list of current secondary school course offerings, and special programs, as well as information related to semestering, magnet schools, single-focus high schools and all male/all female classes and schools.
School closure fallout
In December, the Board voted to:
work with the new City of Ottawa Council and other community leaders to develop a joint approach to the province to obtain changes to the accommodation formula;
continue discussions with coterminous boards to determine the possibility of shared use of administrative and school space; and
undertake reviews with a view to:
(i) rationalizing boundaries;
(ii) determining optimum locations for system programs;
(iii) determining a realistic functional capacity for each school; and then
(iv) rationalizing and consolidating space.
Terms of reference, timelines and methodology for these reviews are to be brought forward for decision by the end of February 2001.
The Board will establish a new OCDSB Foundation to collect, manage and disburse funds for ‘unique and innovative projects which enrich the educational experiences of students who are considered at risk, and who often, but not always, attend the Board's Beacon Schools'.
The Foundation will provide funding for projects, resources or services which are not funded by the province. A Task Group to be made up of the Director, a Superintendent of Schools, the Chair of the Board and a principal will bring a proposed agreement between the Community Foundation of Ottawa and the OCDSB to a future Education Committee meeting, for recommendation to the Board for approval.
Protecting special needs children
The Board voted in December to have the Director of Education write to all principals asking them to ensure that: a) schools do not use Special Education Learning Centre (SELC) or Special Education Resource Teachers (SERT) teachers to replace absent non-SELC and non-SERT staff members; and b) every effort is made to replace absent SELC and SERT teachers to ensure continuity in program for special needs children.