In March 2022, the CDSBEO hosted the second annual virtual science fair for grades 7 and 8 students. The event continues to generate interest in STEM-related activities, and students from all walks of life had the opportunity to participate. The science fair season kicked off with a live webinar with The River Institute, hosted by scientists Stephanie Guernon and Holy Trinity Catholic High School graduate Lexy Harquail. The webinar was attended by over 800 intermediate students and provided insight into the scientific process and answered questions regarding post-secondary career opportunities in STEM.
Curriculum Director Tracy O’Brien and Curriculum Consultant Meghan Wood presented details on the success of the Virtual Science Fair to the Board of Directors.
“The CDSBEO is proud to provide excellent opportunities for our students to present their research in science and technology, and this year we were able to bring together budding scientists from all corners of the CDSBEO on a day that involved the collaboration, sharing and love for the scientific process,” explained Principal O’Brien.
The initiative was led by math and science consultant Meghan Wood and experiential learning consultant Liz McCormick.
After the webinar with the River Institute, the students brainstormed experiences and researched ideas to create their own projects. A Science Fair Teams page hosted a resource bank for staff and students and served as a resource for frequently asked questions and ultimately a hub for managing the virtual fair.
Over the course of six weeks, the 7th and 8th graders designed their experiments at school and carried out the observations at home.
“We were fortunate to have many different consultants in our departments, as well as science major high school students and community partners who volunteered to act as science fair judges. Throughout the morning of Science Fair Day, students were called into virtual meetings where they were interviewed by two separate panels of judges. Our deepest gratitude goes to the fifteen judges who made this day possible, including Lexy Harquail of the River Institute and eight grade 12 science students from St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Catholic High Schools,” Wood noted.
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 student’s home or school location.
Iona Academy’s Nuala Gibbs and Holy Trinity CSS students Anya Crispin and Yumna Haque won projects at the United Counties Science Fair. Nuala, Anya and Yumna received a week-long all-expenses-paid experience to attend the Virtual Canada-Wide Science Fair after being selected as two of the top three projects at the United Counties Regional Science Fair.
“We are particularly proud of Nuala who won a bronze medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, competing with students from across Canada, and this, in French no less! She also received a $1,000 entrance scholarship to Western University,” Principal O’Brien added.
“Thank you so much to our front line staff and team who made this virtual science fair a success. It is wonderful to see our Board of Directors represented regionally and nationally. Congratulations to all for your success,” concluded President Lalonde.
Draft Annual Report on the Delivery of Special Education Programs and Services 2022-2023
Superintendent of School Effectiveness Heather Gerber presented administrators with an advance copy of the annual report on the arrangements for special education programs and services, which will be submitted to the Department of Education later this month.
The Special Education Plan for 2022-2023, as outlined in the Standards for School Board Special Education Plans, was compiled in consultation with stakeholders and key participants, including the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). The report includes recommendations to implement, including staff allocations for schools, professional development, transportation and parent involvement.
Staffing recommendations in the draft report include a total of 131.3 special education teachers, 161.95 educational assistants, 33.50 student support workers and the equivalent of 10.00 educational assistants. additional support education funded by the COVID-19 Learning Recovery Fund.
“In addition to the staff provided by Ministry of Education funding, we recommend the addition of 7.5 special education teachers funded by the Student Support Fund. In addition, it is recommended to convert the psycho-educational consultant 1.0 into a psychologist 1.0.
“These staffing recommendations are based on the needs observed in our school system to better support our students. We are convinced that the additional support should be allocated to our most vulnerable students,” Superintendent Gerber noted.
The report will receive final approval from the Special Education Advisory Committee and will be received by the Board of Directors on June 21.st for review and approval. The report will then be submitted to the Ministry of Education.
President Lalonde thanked Superintendent Gerber and the special education team for the important work that has been done over the past few months to finalize this very detailed report.
Preliminary draft budget for 2022-2023
Superintendent of Business Ashley Hutchinson introduced Chief Financial Officer Traci Bloomfield to present details of the draft proposed budget for 2022-23 to the Board. The draft budget includes a total operating and capital expenditures of $205 million, including a capital expenditure budget of $7.4 million. On the operating side, salaries and benefits represent 76% of the budget and are expected to cost the board $157 million. Other operating costs, including learning materials, professional development and transportation, will total $36 million. The Council estimated a balanced and compliant budget for 2022-2023.
“To start our evening with some very positive news, we expect an increase in enrollment of 178 FTEs for the 2022-2023 school year, mainly in the secondary panel. At this time, our projections show primary enrollment showing a slight decrease of 0.9 FTEs from 2021-22,” began Chief Financial Officer Traci Bloomfield.
“Currently, our projections show staffing changes, including a slight reduction in the total number of teaching positions of 4.86 due to lower primary enrollment and lower secondary enrollment. virtual learning school.”
Bloomfield noted that additional staff have been allocated for the 2022-23 school year, including an increase of 1.0 behavioral crisis coordinator, 1.0 unregulated mental health professional, 1.0 mental health secretary and a shift of 1.0 mental health strategist.
“The new mental health positions are funded by the mental health funding that is now wrapped up in the GSN,” Bloomfield noted.
A Dual Credit Consultant 1.0 has also been added to the consultant pool.
Management continues to review the 2022-2023 budget until final budget approval. All areas of spending will be carefully reviewed for efficiencies and to ensure excellence in the delivery of Catholic programs for students in Eastern Ontario. The budget will be presented to Council on June 21 for final review and approval.