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Avon Maitland District School Board

DIRECTOR’S ANNUAL REPORT 2007-2008


cess c u S t n e d u way to St ducation

Path Piloting the

A major goal continues to be piloting the pathways for all students to experience success while building strong individual character. Quality instruction and the creation of environments that are conducive to student learning are the necessary elements in creating successful pathways. This specific focus has been supported by the application of evidence based practices and strong professional networks across our district. Our students are being served well by these efforts.

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Dire Chuck Reid -

educational practices our elementary students, like their secondary counterparts will become provincial achievement leaders.

Addressing serious challenges can create new and innovative opportunities. As a district we continually Director of Education Chuck Reid and retiring Director Geoff Williams address the challenge of aging facilities and upgrades at Upper Thames declining student Elementary School in preparation enrolment. Maintaining aging for its consolidation with Mitchell facilities and supporting empty Provincial testing results Public School. pupil places not only decreases the demonstrate Avon Maitland board’s ability to create optimum District School Board students are Creating strong social environments learning environments, but is experiencing continuous academic is as important as academic beginning to challenge our ability growth as they pass through their achievement. Our commitment to maintain our facilities at their elementary and secondary school to living Character Education has current standard. experiences. We are very proud deepened over 2007-2008 and will that by the end of grade ten, our continue to be a major emphasis Through our 2007-2008 students continually perform well of the board. The integration of Accommodation Reviews there above provincial standard and rank our Character Attributes across the were high levels of community among the top achievers in our curriculum and modeling of these engagement with the goal of province. Moving forward we will attributes by all individuals will be enhancing public education. work on improving performance at Through engagement that promoted a regular monitored expectation. the grade 3 and 6 levels. Although From the trustee board table to all mutual respect, active listening our elementary scores are at regular school activities and events and shared ownership, positive provincial standard or better, we these attributes will be evidenced outcomes were achieved. Two believe through deepening our wonderful new schools in our work. will emerge in the St. Our commitment to piloting the Marys and Goderich pathways for our students has communities, with resulted in a number of positive Ministry funding from outcomes. As a board we are very both Good Places to proud of our system. This pride is Learn (GPL) capital funding and Prohibitive mixed with a belief that embraces continuous improvement in all our to Repair capital efforts to better serve our students funding, facilitating and communities. I invite you to these positive read this year’s Directors Report. outcomes. As well, GPL and regular capital You will observe the results of this pride and deep seeded belief. funding are enabling Director of Education Chuck Reid visits with students at Brookside Public School


tial n e t o p r u o unlock o he Board t t f y o e r k i a e h h C t 8 200 Turning Meg Westley It has been a challenging and rewarding year for the Avon Maitland District School Board. The challenges included accommodation reviews in three parts of the district - two of which morphed into facilities reviews when the Ministry of Education declared schools prohibitive to repair; hiring key members of senior staff, balancing the budget and making progress in achieving our five board goals. Because of the dedication and commitment of trustees, staff and community members throughout the district, we successfully met every one of these challenges. In each community under accommodation/facility review, we held several public meetings. People came out and spoke out. Emotions ran high at times, but the discussions were fruitful and respectful. By working collaboratively with municipalities and community members, we came up with solutions that will unquestionably benefit the students. A brand new K-6

school will be constructed in St. Marys adjacent to the town recreation centre. In Goderich, an addition will be built at Robertson to house all K-6 students. In both towns, grade 7 and 8 students will move into space available at the secondary schools. The overall tone of this round of reviews was much more open and positive than any I have previously experienced. The board has made significant progress in engaging our communities as partners in education. In January 2008, our Director Geoff Williams announced his imminent retirement. We were sad to hear this, as Geoff was a superb director and accomplished a great deal during his time with us. However, we were very pleased to appoint Chuck Reid as his successor. Chuck came to us from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board with a wealth of experience. He has already launched initiatives that are helping achieve our goals. We were sorry to lose

ed 2008 m a N s m a li il f the Year W o ff r o o e t a G r t ’s d is n chool Admin Avon Maitla Canadian S Retiring Director of Education Geoff Williams was named Canada’s top School Administrator by the Canadian and American Associations of School Administrators. Williams was awarded the prestigious honour at the annual conference of CASA this past July in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Geoff will travel in February to San Francisco for the annual American Association of School Administrators to be recognized for his Canadian achievement. According to Geoff, “While I am personally and professionally honoured to have my work recognized, it would not have been possible without the support of the outstanding staff and trustees with whom I had the opportunity to work. I learned a great deal from them, and together with our

communities we were able to overcome challenges, take advantage of new opportunities, and do good things for our students. My years here were the most professionally rewarding of my career.” The School Administrator of the Year Award honours CASA members who have exhibited exemplary leadership ability and who have enhanced school administration. They have brought honour to themselves, their colleagues, and their profession; given exemplary service to their

Marie Parsons as Superintendent of Education to EQAO, but happy to appoint Mike Ash, a seasoned system principal with the board, to the position. I am extremely proud of all our staff at Avon Maitland. Their work is exemplary and they consistently focus on student success. Their contributions and leadership have received both provincial and national recognition. It has been my honour to serve as Chair of the Avon Maitland Board for five of my eight years as trustee. During that time, I have seen the system grow steadily stronger. We may be a small rural board but we are rich in people, ideas and determination.

provincial or national professional association; made significant contributions to the field of education through their service, writings or other activities; and who therefore serves as a role model and teacher to others. As a result of the honour Williams also receives a life membership in CASA. Geoff has been an active member of a number of Provincial and National organizations whose purpose is to continuously work to improve the education of our youth, including organizations such as the Council of Ontario Director’s of Education, the Canadian Association of School Administrators, the Ontario Public Supervisory Officials’ Association, and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. Geoff has also supported, with his service, community organizations such as the Stratford Library Board and the Foundation for Enriching Education in Perth Huron.


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e Pace h t t e S o t ue zed testing in i t d r n a o d C n a s t s t n O in EQA Stude ts Lead n e d u t S 9 e d a Gr

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EQAO – Grade 3, 6, 9 and 10 students write standardized assessments

All grade 3, 6, 9 and 10 students participate in standardized assessments administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). Participation in these assessments provides the Avon Maitland District School Board with data on student performance. All boards in Ontario have their students write the EQAO standardized assessments. Given the diversity of our province with regards to board size and demographics, we recognize that some results may be higher than Avon Maitland’s results, while some may be lower.

Grade 3

The graphs showing the Board’s Grade 3 results in Reading, Writing and Mathematics illustrate an improvement similar to that of the province. For 2007-2008, board results for students achieving at the provincial standard of level 3 or level 4 were at 58% for Reading, 59% for Writing and 70% for Mathematics. This represents an average board improvement of almost 13% since 2003.

Grade 6

The Grade 6 results are even more significant. The Avon Maitland District School Board and the Ministry of Education share the goal that


dents u t S d n la it Avon Ma

e Pace h t t e S o t Continue not only have our schools stayed well above the provincial average, but have steadily improved since 2002-2003. More recently, both groups of students have achieved some of the best results in the province – 52% for Applied, 88% for Academic – an accomplishment that speaks not only to the tremendous students we have in Avon Maitland, but also to the elementary and secondary teachers who have had a hand in their education.

Grade 10

at least 75% of Grade 6 students will achieve the provincial standard of level 3 or level 4. In 2007-2008, 67% of students achieved level 3 or higher in Reading, 64% in Writing and 63% in mathematics. These results represent a similar improvement of 13% points on average from 2003, compared to the province’s improvement of 11%. The performance of the Grade 6 students is even more impressive when one compares their individual results back to the scores when these same students wrote the Grade 3 assessment in 2004-2005. Now, 38% of those students who did not meet the reading standards in Grade 3, met or exceeded the provincial standard in Grade 6. These improvements suggest Avon Maitland students will be able to reach the target for Reading, by 2011. In Writing and Mathematics, though, the trend lines from 2007-2008 suggest we need to incorporate additional measures to reach this ambitious

target (see trend line in chart above).

Grade 9

The grade 9 students of 2007-2008 maintained the impressive results that Avon Maitland schools have enjoyed each year during the EQAO assessment of mathematics. In both Applied and Academic Math,

The grade 10 students participate in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, a requirement of graduation since 1999. Like the EQAO Grade 9 math results, Avon Maitland students have outperformed their peers throughout the province, while improving their own results steadily. In 2007-08, 86% of our grade 10 students who wrote the assessment were successful. Another indicator of success for


EQAO

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our grade 10 students is the percentage achieving at least 16 credits by the end of their second year of high school. Compared to provincial averages of about 66%, over 75% of our grade 10 students have achieved this milestone for the past two years. Using strategies embedded in the philosophy that all students can achieve at a high level, Avon Maitland schools continue to work with individual students who struggle to reach this important level of achievement. Through the work of Student Success Teams in each secondary school, students are provided credit rescue and credit recovery opportunities as needed.


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The reputation and influence of the Avon Maitland District School Board on Ontario’s education continue to be felt across the province. In the 2007-2008 school year a number of Board staff were elevated to Provincial Education Organizations that influence government and schools boards. System Principal of Program Laura Hodgins took over the helm of the Ontario Principals’ Council in July. She is serving a one year term as President of the Ontario Principals’ Council before returning to the Board next summer. Laura has been an educator in Huron and Perth Counties for 23 years. Laura joins Avon Maitland Trustee Colleen Schenk as a leader of a high profile provincial education organization. Trustee Schenk was elected in June to her second term as President of

the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. Colleen is serving in her 5th term as a school board trustee. She has been on the OPSBA Board of Directors for 10 years, 7 of those as a member of the executive. She has served as a chair and vicechair of the Avon Maitland District School Board during her tenure. As a Trustee she represents the Northeast Huron region and makes her home in the Wingham area. Superintendent of Education Marie Parsons left Avon Maitland this past summer to take on a new challenge as the Chief Assessment Officer with EQAO, the Education Quality Accountability Office. Superintendent Parsons led the Avon Maitland District School Board’s Special Education Department since 2001.


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Board and School Improvement Planning The focus for school improvement planning was determined by individual schools through the analysis of their EQAO results - with a focus on literacy or numeracy. All schools set targets based on the Ministry’s goals. Funding provided by The Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat enabled the Board to provide additional support to our low-performing elementary schools. Divisional coaches, selected by the school, engaged in central professional development in literacy or numeracy and coaching skills. Release time was also provided for school based learning related to chosen goals in literacy or numeracy. Secondary schools focused on expanding teacher knowledge and use of differentiated instructional strategies through teacher learning teams. This model was adapted in several ways for the 2008-2009 year. All schools are being supplied with release time to improve student results in non-fiction writing. This ensured that there was a singular focus of literacy throughout the Board. Funding for this project combines Board dollars with Literacy Numeracy Secretariat/Student Success funds. All release time is provided for school-based professional learning communities in order to deliver a consistent message to all staff, build school capacity and ownership. Board personnel support elementary junior divisions in the cycle of instruction and secondary school teachers in teacher inquiry groups. The Board Improvement Plan was developed to include the improved monitoring of specific target groups. All student results in grade 4, 5 and 6 are being monitored; grade 6 students with special needs; and grades 6 and 10 boys.

School Effectiveness Framework The School Effectiveness Framework was introduced to all elementary schools in 2007/2008. All elementary schools participated in the school self-assessment process; analyzing their school’s practices against the four essential components and their indicators. At the end of this process, each school reported three gaps that would guide future school improvement planning. In addition, Board district reviews were completed. The combined results from the selfassessment gaps and district reviews indicated that the Avon Maitland District School Board would need to continue to support schools with the implementation of improved Comprehensive Literacy Programs and Assessment for Learning Strategies (e.g., formative assessments, teaching strategies). This information guided the development of our Board plan.

Programs and Courses The 2007-2008 school year saw the introduction of Native Studies courses and an expansion of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and Specialist High Skills Majors in our secondary schools. Seven high schools offered Native Studies courses, with ten courses running across the board. 145 students are enrolled in Native Studies courses across Avon Maitland schools. In the 2008-2009 school year a self identification policy will be developed to assist with the data collection on Aboriginal student achievement. The number of students registering as OYAP apprentices increased to 178 in 2007/08. All secondary schools are involved in OYAP and 6 schools are involved in offering a total of 8 Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs. There have been 262 students identified as SHSM students for the 2008-2009

school year. Both of these programs will be actively pursuing Dual Credit opportunities in the school year 2009/10. Sixty-one students involved in SHSM programs were identified as having an IEP in at least one subject.

Special Education & Learning Services Funding initiatives through the Council of Directors of Education enabled us to provide extensive in-service training to teachers in individual education plan development; differentiated instruction and the effective use of assistive technology in the 2007-2008 school year. Reviews of some special education programs and services were also undertaken, with a view to identifying sources of data to measure student achievement in self-contained classrooms. From that review process a new special education report card was developed and in 2008-2009, we are implementing this report card. Resource documents to support the development of individual and class profiles were also created and in 2008-2009 we are supporting the implementation of class profiles.

Cultivating Character Avon Maitland District School Board schools continue to provide Character Development Education for all students in partnership with the community. As part of the school improvement planning process, school goals were established to focus this work in schools. To support these efforts, the Citizenship Working Group generated monthly Character Bulletins which provide teachers with resources and activities for use in their classrooms. In addition, monthly Seeds for Thought newsletters were made available to schools and families. Literacy links, community stories, resources and tips for parents are included in these newsletters.


Professional Development days continued to have a focus on character development. The highlight occurred on April 23, 2008 when all Board employees heard from Marc Kielburger, chief executive director of Free the Children. Afternoon workshops focused on effective instruction, assessment for learning and maintaining a positive school environment – all of which have strong connections to character development education. Twenty-two schools, elementary and secondary, sent student representatives to the National Me to We student conference at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto in October 2007. At the conference, students heard from many social justice activists including Craig and Marc Kielburger, Mia Farrow, and Romeo Dallaire. As a result, many students are taking action on local, national and international issues.

Student Success Teams Last school year each secondary school formed a Student Success Team comprised of the principal (or viceprincipal), Guidance, Special Education and Student Success Teachers. Student Success Teams develop credit rescue, credit recovery and transitional plans with students. In addition, Student Success Teams ensure enhanced orientation programs are available for students moving from grade 8 to grade 9. Through these programs, students have an increased sense of belonging to their school. Members of the Student Success Team ensure that programs and activities are in place to help all students be successful in school.

Safe Schools and Programs for Suspended Students In 2008, the Ministry of Education amended the legislation dealing with suspension and expulsion of students. Bill 212 required school boards to revisit their Codes of Conduct to reflect the changes. The Board released its revised Code of Conduct on its web site and a copy was distributed to all

students. According to the legislation, school administrators would continue to consider mitigating factors and alternate options to suspension, and there would be short and long-term suspensions. A significant change to the legislation provided a new option for students on long-term suspension: students who are suspended for eleven or more days now require a School Action Plan. Students on an Action Plan can access school-based or community support agencies and will have homework, or alternate schooling options, provided to them in order to support the return to school. Students in the Avon Maitland District School Board are able to access school and program supports at their home school or through alternative means, as determined in consultation with school administration. While most students receive packages of work from their teachers, plans are in place to support to students on long-term suspensions who require alternate work assignments or the use of AMDEC (Avon Maitland Distance Education Centre). When a student commits an act that is deemed to be extremely serious in nature, the school principal will conduct an inquiry and, in consultation with his/her Regional Superintendent of Schools, determine whether the suspension will proceed to an expulsion hearing before the Safe Schools Discipline Committee of the Board. With Safe Schools funding, Avon Maitland District School Board was able to increase support for students through local agencies such as Huron Addictions, Choices for Change, Huron and Perth District Health Units/School-based Public Health Nurses, and Huron Perth Centre for Children and Youth. The Safe Schools Coordinator is the liaison between suspended students and their families, and the various agencies.

Alternative Programs Avon Maitland District School Board continues to support students who are unable to attend regular school programs. Cooperative Education Providing Opportunities (COPE) offers students

the opportunity to complete secondary school credits, including cooperative education credits, in an alternative setting. In 2007-2008, approximately 280 students were involved in COPE programs and earned 1344 credits. In addition, approximately 60 students were enrolled in the Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils program. Students in SALEP work on elementary and secondary school curriculum from their home.

AMDEC 2007/2008 Across the province there is a significant increase in interest among students wishing to pursue academic goals through online courses. 2007-2008 saw lots of changes at AMDEC. Among the biggest were the changes in funding for elearning courses. This resulted in a marked increase in the number of students registered in secondary schools across Ontario able to access elearning courses through AMDEC. Despite the fact that there was a decrease in the number of class sections, teachers and staff at AMDEC, over the year our student registrations increased significantly as our demographic changed. With the funding change also came the development of new relationships with school boards and schools across the province as we began to share students concurrently in a way that we had not before. During the academic year, over 900 students--both from Avon Maitland District School Board schools and from school across the province--accessed elearning courses through AMDEC’s programme. In the spring of 2008 we began our plans for teacher and staff training in preparation for a migration to the eLearning Ontario written courses by September 2008, with plans to increase this number as more courses become available. In the fall of 2007 AMDEC joined the Ontario eLearning Consortium as an associate member, benefitting from the professional relationships focussed on improving the online learning experience for students. Our goal at AMDEC is to provide students with the best possible elearning experience. Our programme continues to be highly regarded in the eLearning community as it provides a well-rounded educational opportunity for students.


008 2 7 0 0 2 ent m l t Numbers n o e r d u n t S E f o t t n o h e d aps

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Avon Maitland District School Board consists of 44 Elementary Schools and 10 Secondary Schools including an on-line learning school. We have four Adult Learning Sites that serve the communities of Huron and Perth Counties. In the 2007 - 2008 school year the Board served over 17,000 students in its schools. The Avon Maitland District is primarily rural made up of a high percentage of agricultural land. Almost half of the board’s elementary and secondary students travel to and from school each day by bus.

The Board has an extensive English as a Second Language Program designed to serve our growing immigrant population. Currently there are over 530 students attending schools in this district, who’s first language is a language other than English. 38 different languages are listed as the first language of this group of students.

High 200 lights 7-2 of 008

to complete the construction of a Exeter Public “Kids Are Authors” single well. Their efforts attracted Capture National Honour in Scholastic Competition the attention of the local paper and These grade 6 authors have the happy encouraged students at Usborne, smiles of having worked hard and reached Hensall, Stephen their goal of creating a book for the and Exeter Public Avon Maitland Students Scholastic “Kids are Authors” Canada wide Schools, and St. competition. Their book, titled “ What Will Score Big at Skills Competition Boniface School, I Be? - The ABC’s of Choices”, captured the Two Avon Maitland to join Jennifer’s Honour Award as runner up in this national Secondary School Students team. Jennifer’s event. put on an impressive showing leadership Back Row: Laken McArter, Alyssa Keller, Nicole Willis. Front at the 14th Annual Canadian inspired her peers they raised more Row: Kelsey Rothbauer, Ali Heywood, Nicole Hamather Skills Competition in Calgary. than double their goal, enough to Curtis Thomson, a grade build two wells. A Birthday Party 12 student at Stratford Holmes on Homes Visits LDSS Northwestern competed in Precision Machining and placed second, while Adam Mike Holmes, star of the popular home Cressman, a grade 12 student at Listowel DSS renovation television show “Holmes on Homes,” competed in Cabinetmaking and placed fourth. landed his helicopter on the field beside Listowel District Secondary School for a visit in May 2008. Zurich Students

Model Compassion

Jennifer Lucas of Zurich Public School had an idea. She had heard about projects to help children in Kenya, Africa build a community well so they would have access to clean fresh water. Jennifer recruited some of her friends to help raise funds and set a goal to raise enough

Holmes waived his fees to visit LDSS to help promote a local initiative to increase the profile of skilled trades education. Ken Bailey of the LDSS Technical Department invited Mike to open a “Technical Hall of Fame” and a new techfocused guidance department at LDSS, which is fast becoming a leader in trades education.

The 10th Anniversary of the Avon Maitland District School Board was marked with a commemorative logo and cake for trustees and students. Schools also received special 10th Anniversary flags to mark the occasion.


ts n e m e t a t S ial c n a n i F 07-2008 0 d 2 r a G M P Bo K y Audited b In accordance with Board Policy 10, Committees of the Board, the Finance and Audit Committees met on November 25, 2008 to review the draft audited financial statements with the external auditor. John Leitch, partner of the firm KPMG, presented to the Audit Committee the draft Financial Statements for the full year September 1, 2007 to August 31, 2008. KPMG issued their Audit Report with a scope limitation as KPMG was not able to determine whether adjustments might be necessary to the School Activities Funds. The School Activities Fund includes all funds that have gone through a school’s books, including fundraising activities such as the Terry Fox run, field trips, and regular school activities including pizza days. It also includes the various fundraising activities which a school community undertakes to support its school, for such projects as playground equipment, running track, library resources or other individual school initiatives. Except for the potential effects of adjustments regarding school generated funds, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the board as at August 31, 2008. These Financial Statements were approved by the Board at its regular meeting of November 25, 2008. The complete Financial statement for 2007-2008 are available on the Board`s website at www.yourschools.ca. Board Honours 2008 Key Contribution Award Recipients The Key Contribution Awards are presented annually by the Trustees of the Avon Maitland District School Board to individuals or groups who make or have made outstanding contributions to the achievement of the Board’s goals. These annual awards are a public celebration of the extraordinary work and effort of individuals involved in education across the District. The following is a list of the award recipients by goals: Goal # 1. To improve student achievement AMDEC Tech Support Staff Nick Armstrong - Stratford Central S.S. Linda Finlayson - Holmesville & Victoria P.S. Laura Hodgins - Education Centre Deborah McNair - Stratford Northwestern S.S. Gloria Roe - Elma Township P.S. Nancy Roe - Blyth Public School Strawbridge Machine and Tool - Stratford

Goals # 2. To develop positive citizenship qualities in our students. Jana Henry - Victoria P.S. Stephanie Gratton - North Perth Community Jacob McGavin - Brussels P.S. Stefanie Webster - Listowel DSS Martin Kuske - Listowel DSS Goal # 3. To attract and retain quality staff. Mark Norman - Education Centre Jeff Reaburn - South Huron DHS Marjorie Woolham - Listowel DSS Goal #4. To engage our community as partners in public education. Heidi Holdsworth - Stratford Central Geoff Williams - Education Centre

Goal #5. To use Board resources efficiently and effectively. Barb Crawford - Education Centre Kerry McManus - Stratford Central S.S. Cheryl Peach - Seaforth P.S. KCA Andrea Stevenson - Education Centre Win

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Giving our students the keys to our world, and unlocking the potential within all of our learners

Avon Maitland DSB Director's Annual Report 2007-2008  

This is the Director's Annual Report for the Avon Maitland District School Board covering the school year 2007-2008

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