By Sue Tiffin
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Trillium Lakelands District School Board meeting held at Archie Stouffer Elementary School on May 10.
Tutoring will be offered in-school, after school, and this summer, with support from a grant received through the Reaching Forward Tutoring Program.
Jay McJanet, superintendent of learning, said almost 60 tutors across the board are available to work with students who need support.
Virtual support is also available to be “equitable and accessible,” with teachers signing up to work one-on-one with English language learners and French immersion students, focusing on math from Grades 4 to 8, and in-person literacy learners from kindergarten to Grade 3.
He said there has been “a great response” from students.
Director Wes Hahn said tutoring will be available up until September.
Second quarter results overview
Superintendent of business Tim Ellis said the board is currently projected to be in a surplus position under one million dollars depending on short-term disability usage in the third and fourth quarters; continuing education, virtual learning and alternative education credits; the ability to run professional development sessions; emerging technology needs and transportation recoveries by the Ministry.
The board has approved an operating budget of $225 million for the 2021 – 2022 school year.
“The current school year has been challenging with the pandemic and unexpected increase in enrolment forcing the board to re-configure its operating model,” said a report from Ellis. “The waves of variants have proved challenging with short term disability amounts being unpredictable to forecast.”
The second quarter of the year saw a short-term move to remote learning through provincial and public health restrictions as a result of the ongoing pandemic at the beginning of January.
“Since then, the updated guidance from public health partners has allowed local decision-making on keeping schools or classrooms open. This local decision-making has proven difficult for planning and operations. To date, board spending is lower by $1.7 million compared to last year. The amount expended to Feb. 28 is $116.8 million dollars as opposed to $118.6 million dollars last year. The committed and expended amount reflects approximately 52 per cent of the board’s budget which is less than last year.”
Ellis said notable variances include that education assistant costs are favourable compared to last year as a result of timing of compensation; classroom, school-based technology and elementary supply purchases are lower as a result of the large amount of purchases of Chromebooks since the beginning of the pandemic; transportation is lower due to the cancellation of Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School board’s agreement with TLDSB and facilities supply items are lower due to purchases relating to federal COVID-19 projects no longer attributed to that account.
Intervention teams in place
In September, TLDSB plans to have more teacher staffing and intervention teams that will support directly in schools in place.
“We’ve already made that investment in the last year with our consultants and coaches at the elementary level and secondary level, but our intervention teams, that is a new addition that will be in place in September,” said Wes Hahn, TLDSB director. “They will be teams that will be very mobile and flexible and can move into schools that require extra support, not only to work directly with kids but to support teacher professional development and work directly with teachers.”
Disconnecting from work
Trustees approved a new policy developed to help support employee wellness and be compliant with the new Ontario Working for Workers Act, 2021 which requires employers with more than 25 employees to have a written workplace policy with respect to disconnecting from work. The right to disconnect from work is defined to mean not engaging in work-related communications including emails or phone calls, or sending or reviewing any messages after usual scheduled working hours. The legislation requires the policy to apply to both employees and management.
“The policy, in partnership with the procedure, will hopefully help to encourage all employees to have a healthy life and work balance,” said Traci Hubbert, superintendent of human resources services.
Trustee Judy Saunders and members of the human resource services department wrote the policy in March, which was reviewed by union and federation representatives, elementary and secondary administrators’ and members of the human resources services team.
Next board meeting
The next meeting of the board takes place on May 24 at the Lindsay Education Centre at 6:30 p.m., and is also broadcast live and available for later viewings at tldsb.ca/board-meetings/.