The Carlington Summit
by David Darwin.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is seeking public input on secondary schools and programs.

Secondary students may one day have access to a new array of schools and specialized programs, thanks to a report entitled A New Vision for Secondary Schools - A Leading-edge Look at Programming Choices. The document is a preliminary proposal from the Board that looks at innovative program offerings. The proposal is being presented to the public to assess the level of interest and to gain valued community input.

A New Vision suggests there may be a healthy demand for all-boys or all-girls schools, a school focused on technology, and additional International Baccalaureate, and arts and athletics program offerings throughout the district.

“This is an exciting proposal for our present and future secondary students,” explains Jim Libbey, Chair of the OCDSB. “It's critical that we receive community feedback. That's why we've designed a range of public input opportunities. This will all culminate in a report sometime in June.”

Public forums will be held beginning at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 20 at South Carleton HS, 3673 McBean St., Richmond; Wednesday, March 21 at Lisgar CI, 29 Lisgar St., Ottawa; and Wednesday, March 28 - Bell HS, 40 Cassidy Rd., Nepean.

Anyone who would like to be placed on the agenda should contact Maureen Strittmatter at 596-8254 with their name, phone number or email address, and preferred forum date. The Board is requesting a written summary of each speaker's presentation.

A summary of A New Vision and a brief questionnaire are available on the Board's web site (http://www.ocdsb.edu.on.ca), and from the fax-back line at 596-8204. The deadline for return of the questionnaire is March 16.

2001-2002 budget deliberations

OCDSB budget deliberations for the upcoming school year have been divided into two phases.

The first phase had four Special Purpose Budget Committee meetings devoted to discussion and review of provincial funding allocations and Board expenditures, in addition to question and answer sessions and a discussion on how the basic budget will be constructed. The second phase entails deliberations and final approval of the 2001-02 budget.

The Special Purpose Budget Committee Meetings have now been completed and the second phase is underway. The upcoming meetings, with the main subject of discussion, are as follows.

Tuesday, March 20, Committee of the Whole (Budget) Public 8:30 pm. Presentation of provincial 2001-02 grant information.

Monday, May 7, Committee of the Whole (Budget), 8 pm. Presentation of the staff recommended 2001-02 budget.

Wednesday, May 9/Wednesday, May 16 (7:30 pm) and Tuesday, May 22 (8 pm) Committee of the Whole (Budget). Deliberations and debate.

Monday, May 28 Board Meeting, 8 pm. Final 2001-02 budget approval.

Elementary accommodation issues

The Board approved recently the production, by the end of May 2001, of a detailed set of maps for each family of elementary schools illustrating: i) the location and names of all elementary and secondary schools; ii) the names of all major streets and barriers; iii) the current catchment areas of all existing elementary schools, including the names of streets and barriers; and iv) residency during the 2000-01 school year of all students, the elementary schools in which they are enrolled, and their grade levels and programs.

It also approved the preparation, by early fall 2001, of a revised capacity for each elementary school based on the new ‘on-the-ground' Ministry capacity, and taking into account: i) playground space availability; ii) potential for portable placement; iii) computer labs in K to 6 schools that are not adjacent to libraries; iv) the statistical likelihood of having an uneven number of Kindergarten classes; and v) any other factors judged appropriate, as proposed by staff and confirmed by the Board, or as directed by the Board before the end of June 2001.

JK registration change

The Board has adopted a change in Junior Kindergarten registration for September 2001. A trustee motion was approved to allow students, without need for a student transfer, to register for Junior Kindergarten at the school they will be attending for program reasons in Senior Kindergarten. Any proposed exemptions from this policy are to be brought to the Board for approval.

New policies

Four important new policies were recently approved by the Board to govern: i) the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect where a student is under 16 years of age; ii) alleged/suspected violence within a student's family; iii) crisis prevention and intervention; and iv) confidential communications between students and staff.