In March 2022, CDSBEO held the second annual Virtual Science Fair for students in grades 7 and 8. The event continues to spark interest in STEM-related pursuits, and students from across the board had the opportunity to participate. The Science Fair season began with a live webinar with The River Institute, hosted by scientists Stephanie Guernon and Lexy Harquail, a graduate of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School. The webinar was attended by over 800 intermediate students and provided an overview of the scientific process and answered questions regarding post-secondary STEM career opportunities.
Principal of Curriculum Tracy O’Brien, and Curriculum Consultant Meghan Wood, presented details on the success of the Virtual Science Fair to the Board of Trustees.
“The CDSBEO prides itself on offering excellent opportunities for our students to showcase their inquiry in Science and Technology, and this year we were able to gather budding scientists from all corners of the CDSBEO on a day that involved collaboration, sharing, and a love for the scientific process,” explained Principal O’Brien.
The initiative was spearheaded by Meghan Wood, Math and Science Consultant and Liz McCormick, Experiential Learning Consultant.
Following the webinar with the River Institute, students brainstormed experiments and researched ideas to create their own projects. A Science Fair Teams page hosted a bank of resources for both staff and students and served as a medium for frequently asked questions and ultimately a hub to run the virtual fair.
Within the span of six weeks, the grade 7 and 8 students designed their experiments at school and carried out the observations at home.
“We were fortunate to have many different consultants across our departments, as well as secondary science-major students and community partners volunteer to act as Science Fair judges. Throughout the morning on Science Fair Day, students were called into virtual meetings where they were interviewed by two separate panels of judges. Our extended gratitude goes out to the fifteen judges that made the day possible, including Lexy Harquail from the River Institute and eight grade 12 science students from St. John and St. Joseph Catholic Secondary Schools,” noted Wood.
CDSBEO students were also encouraged to participate in regional science fairs such as the United Counties, Rideau St. Lawrence, and Ottawa Science Fairs depending on the students’ home or school location.
Nuala Gibbs of Iona Academy and Holy Trinity CSS students Anya Crispin and Yumna Haque had winning projects at the United Counties Science Fair. Nuala, Anya and Yumna were awarded an all-expenses paid, week-long experience to attend the Virtual Canada-Wide Science Fair after being selected as two of the top three projects at the regional United Counties Science Fair.
“We are especially proud of Nuala who won a bronze medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, competing against students from across Canada, and doing so in French no less! She was also awarded a $1,000 entrance scholarship to Western University,” added Principal O’Brien.
“Thank you so much to our frontline staff and to our team who brought this virtual science fair to fruition. It is wonderful to see our board represented at the regional and national level. Congratulations to all on your success,” concluded Chair Lalonde.
Draft Annual Report on the Provision of Special Education Programs and Services 2022-2023
Superintendent of School Effectiveness, Heather Gerber, presented to Trustees a draft copy of the Annual Report on the Provisions of Special Education Programs and Services, to be submitted to the Ministry of Education later this month.
The Special Education Plan for 2022-2023, as outlined in the Standards for School Boards’ Special Education Plans, has been compiled through consultation with stakeholders and key participants, including the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). The report includes recommendations to be implemented including staffing allocations for schools, professional development, transportation, and parent involvement.
The staffing recommendations in the draft report includes a total of 131.3 Special Education Teachers, 161.95 Educational Assistants, 33.50 Student Support Workers, and an equivalent of 10.00 extra support Educational Assistants funded through the COVID-19 Learning Recovery Fund.
“Along with staffing provided by Ministry of Education funding, we recommend the addition of 7.5 Special Education Teachers funded by the Supports for Students Fund. In addition, it is recommended that we convert the 1.0 Psycho-Educational Consultant to a 1.0 Psychologist.”
“These staffing recommendations are based on the needs observed across our school system to best support our students. We feel strongly that the extra support should be allocated to our most vulnerable students,” noted Superintendent Gerber.
The report will receive its final approval from the Special Education Advisory Committee and will be received by the Board of Trustees on June 21st for consideration and approval. The report will then be submitted to the Ministry of Education.
Chair Lalonde thanked Superintendent Gerber and the Special Education team for the significant work which has been done over the last few months to finalize this very detailed report.
Draft Proposed Budget for 2022-2023
Superintendent of Business Ashley Hutchinson introduced Manager of Finance, Traci Bloomfield, to present details of the draft proposed budget for 2022-2023 to the Board of Trustees. The draft budget includes a total operating and capital expenditures of $205 million, including a capital expenditure budget of $7.4M. On the operating side, salaries and benefits make up 76 per cent of the budget and are expected to cost the board $157M. Other operating costs, including learning materials, professional development, and transportation, will cost a total of $36M. The Board has estimated a balanced and compliant budget for 2022-2023.
“To begin our evening with some very positive news, we are projecting an enrolment increase of 178 FTE for the 2022-2023 school year, mainly in the secondary panel. At this time, our projections are showing that elementary enrolment is showing a slight decrease of 0.9 FTE when compared with 2021-2022,” began Manager of Finance, Traci Bloomfield.
“At this time, our projections are showing staffing changes including a slight reduction in overall teaching positions of 4.86 due to the decrease in primary enrolment and decreased enrolment in the virtual learning school.”
Bloomfield noted that additional staffing had been allocated for the 2022-2023 school year including an increase of 1.0 Behaviour Crisis Coordinator, 1.0 Mental Health Non-Regulated Professional, 1.0 Mental Health Secretary, and a 1.0 Mental Health Strategist offset.
“The new Mental Health positions are funded by Mental Health funding that is now enveloped within the GSN,” noted Bloomfield.
A 1.0 Dual Credit Consultant has also been added to the Consultant group.
Management continues to review the 2022-2023 budget leading up to final budget approval. All expenditure areas will be carefully reviewed for efficiencies and to ensure excellence in Catholic program delivery for students across Eastern Ontario. The budget will be brought back to the Board on June 21, for final review and approval.