November 9, 2020 Council Minutes
Dr. Charles Best School Council - MEETING MINUTES
November 9, 2020 @ 7:00pm (VIRTUAL MEETING)
Angela Van Der Merwe
Margo Shuttleworth (Trustee)
Greetings (Margo Shuttleworth)
Mr. Thomson welcomed Margo to the meeting, thanking her for the assistance she provided in the summer when he was transitioning to DCB.
Margo provided an ‘elevator pitch’ about what Trustees in our board do. She shared how trustees are elected and serve a variety of roles including holding the Director of Education accountable, setting the budget and facilitating relationships between the community and the board amongst other roles.
She reminded the group that she’s always available to help with questions - she herself won’t be able to solve the problems, but she can help connect us with those who can and can help facilitate those discussions.
Margo will be holding a Supercouncil meeting three times a year (November, February and May). She hopes to bring together at least one representative from each school council in her region to share an overview of what is happening at the board. She will have the student trustees attend to share an update on their areas of focus for the year, as well as someone from the city (Counsellor Stolte and someone from the youth programming team) and a Superintendent who will provide additional insights on what is happening at the board level. The meetings provide opportunities to network with other school councils. Margo is asking council members to come prepared to share ideas about what you’re doing to inform and engage parents in your school community.
Mr. Thomson started the discussion with a land acknowledgement. He asked that a Council member take on the task of giving this acknowledgement each meeting.
He shared that at DCB this year there is a strong focus on acknowledging our history, and learning about Canada’s indigenous peoples. At least one of the versions of Oh Canada included in the daily announcements each week is from an Indigenous voice. Every Friday the announcements include a land acknowledgement.
Review of previous meeting minutes (Angela)
In order to keep the school community engaged and aware of Council activities there are plans to post the meeting minutes to the school website.
A few edits were suggested to the meeting minutes from the October 2020 council meeting.
Motion was made to accept the minutes as altered. Laura will circulate the updated version of the minutes.
Motion was passed with all in approval.
Confirmation of Roles
Mr. Thomson thanked everyone, on behalf of staff and students, for stepping forward to be on Council this year. As it stands there are 10 voting members plus two non-voting members (Mr. Thomson and Mrs. Mooers).
Meaghan is Council Chair, Darren is Treasurer and Laura is Secretary. As no one else put their name forward for these roles, no election or shared roles is required. We can have up to 15 voting members and 10 people put their names forward, so all Parents/Guardians who were interested in being on Council this year are voting members.
As a reminder, all DCB parents/guardians are welcome and encouraged to attend Council meetings, even if they aren’t voting members.
Group confirmed and agreed that we have 10 voting members and as a result, quorum will be 6 members.
Overview of constitution
The Council Constitution has not been reviewed or modified in many years. Mr. Thomson suggested it would be a good time to review the Constitution to ensure it remains a living document that reflects our values as a council.
To begin this process, Meaghan, Darran, Laura, Jen and Mr. Thomson will review the document and will suggest edits that could be made. The suggested edits will be brought back to council at a future meeting for discussion.
Mr. Thomson highlighted how Student Voice will work - if we were meeting in person they would attend the meeting to learn about how the meetings are structured, etc. Since we’re online, they decided to make a video. The student voice segment of the meeting is intended to allow Council members to hear about how things are unfolding at the school from the student perspective.
Council watched the video. Three Grade 5 students, Blake, Yasmine and Charlotte, talked about their highlights so far from 2020 which included having their own squares in the yard, chromebooks, access to library books, the ability to continue celebrating holidays at school, helping younger students, having their own individual supplies, and being able to do the announcements virtually. They shared thoughts on the use of technology in the school - chromebook carts are shared between 2 - 3 classes, you know which one is yours based on your number (same as the number you stand on in line outside). They use chromebooks to make slideshows, access google docs, etc. They wanted the community to know they like many of the safety features set up at the school (e.g., having their own bathroom times, the painted squares).
Mr. Thomson noted that when talking with the students there was a clear sense of relief around coming back to school - the DCB staff worked very hard to develop COVID safety plans for the school to keep everyone safe (based on Board and Public Health guidelines) and these seem to be appreciated by the students.
Mr. Thomson provided an update on a number of things happening around the school.
Equity and inclusivity in education: This is a real focus this year. This was the topic of the staff meeting held the day of the Council meeting. The staff meeting discussions were based on information shared by the Board’s Equity team about harmful and discriminating language. The staff also heard about some upper elementary age and high school students’ experiences related to inclusion and equity at school. Teaching about equity and inclusivity is a focus this year and Mr. Thomson shared that the staff are excited to learn about this alongside the students.
Fundraising: Associate Director Boag sent an update to Mr. Thomson and other school administrators based on the review of the fundraising protocol. There is still a pause on fundraising across the board. This includes all fundraising activities including things like stores providing money to schools based on sales (e.g., you tell Terra you’re shopping on behalf of DCB). The rationale for this is that there isn’t much need for fundraising dollars this year - things like JungleSport, Fun Fairs, Playdays, etc. are not possible so we don’t need money to cover those costs. If schools require funding that they can’t access due to the lack of fundraising they are to bring this forward to the board.
If parents want to contribute in some way they can consider donating to organizations such as the Halton Learning Foundation or Halton Food for Thought which both do great work in our schools.
The decision around fundraising is made at the board level, and thus individual schools need to follow this direction.
Jen asked about school book fairs - this is something that the students look forward to every year - scholastic is offering a virtual book fair. Is this something that we could consider in order to continue the activities the students enjoy in a COVID-safe way? Mr. Thomson believes this would still qualify as fundraising and as a result would not be allowed, but he will confirm with the Board.
School photos: The board has asked that schools not move forward with school photos at this time. Senior team is looking for ways that photos could be done in specific situations (e.g., grad photos). But for now this is on pause.
Change of learning model: Students can switch learning models (from virtual to in-person or from in-person to virtual) on November 30th. The deadline to make that change has passed. While we don’t know for certain the final numbers for DCB in terms of changes, it appears at this stage that there will not be a significant impact on the school. Once this is confirmed Mr. Thomson will share this information with the school. It is understood that if there were big changes (e.g., a large number of students switching from in-person to online or coming back to in-person from virtual schools) then there would likely be a need to reorganize classes in the school.
TV and Chromebooks: TV was delivered and installed on Thursday October 30th, just in time for the Halloween slideshow to be shown on Friday. Students really enjoy having the slideshows and the older students in the school will be involved with building an ongoing slideshow to show on the screen which will include important information (e.g., what class is using the blacktop or running track that day) as well as photos of school life. Chromebooks ordered with Council funds (6) have also arrived.
Remembrance Day: Plans are underway for a full-school outdoor remembrance day ceremony on November 11th. Community members should listen carefully right after 11am to hear the Last Post played live. More information to follow.
Reports and interviews: Student progress reports and interviews are coming later this month. Watch for invitations to virtual student led conferences for students in grades 1 - 5. Mrs. Mooers shared that the kindie classes will be conducting teacher led interviews for SKs and will be sending information separately for JKs (e.g., a slideshow or something similar).
Mr. Thomson wrapped up his update by sharing how wonderful the staff have been when it comes to adapting and finding new ways to do things this year - like the virtual meet the teacher night and these virtual conferences.
Staff synopsis (Mrs. Mooers)
Mrs. Mooers provided a staff update. The virtual open house happened in October and was a great success - the staff were really receptive to the idea and had a good time. Seems to be well received by parents/guardians as well.
Very excited for the plans that are unfolding for remembrance day and the planning of the school wide ceremony. In kindie and other grades they are spending time discussing peace - what is it, what does it feel like.
Darren provided an update on the Council funds.
Main account balance: $8,536
TV and Chromebooks to be paid: $3,403
Available funds: $5,133
Council had budgeted for JungleSport (unlikely to happen this year) and the painting of the lines ($1,000). Mr. Thomson is looking into the costs of the line painting but anticipates it will be higher. The individual who does this work has not gotten back to him yet with a quote. It was noted that it’s likely not feasible to do this work until after COVID restrictions are lifted as the painted lines will interfere with the COVID markings on the blacktop.
Financial Support Discussion
Lottery account: Council has a lottery account. The account is not currently being used. It has been used in the past when Council had a lottery license for specific fundraising activities. The account balance is $92.20. A discussion was held on if this account is needed, or if it could be closed (with the money being transferred into the main Council account).
Mr. Thomson noted that most schools do not have a lottery account and the Board questioned why this account is required during a recent meeting he and Nancy had with them. Benefits of closing the account were noted to be money saved (as we are paying bank fees on the account) and time savings for Nancy (as it would be one less account for her to balance). Some questions were raised about the impact closing the account may have on future fundraising activities (e.g., if we wanted to do a fundraising activity in the future which requires a lottery license).
Darren and Mr. Thomson will look into the impact of closing the account and will report back at the next Council meeting.
Chromebooks: Meaghan suggested Council consider purchasing additional Chromebooks. The initial ask from Mr. Thomson last month was 20 chromebooks. We have already purchased 6. The group discussed purchasing up to 14 more which would cost $4,300. It was determined this may be too many considering our remaining funds and lack of fundraising opportunities this year. The group discussed purchasing 8 ($2,500) instead.
Laura asked about the kindies - they don’t benefit from the Chromebook purchases (until later years) - do the kindie classes need support in the form of technology as well? Mr. Thomson and Mrs. Mooers indicated that if technology is needed iPads can be purchased, but that there were other more pressing needs for kindies (e.g., improving the outdoor classroom space).
Motion: That Council purchase 8 Chromebooks for the school.
All in support. Purchase was approved.
Super Council on Nov 17th 7-8:30pm: Meaghan and Michelle will attend to represent DCB Council. If others want to attend they are welcome and can connect with Meaghan or e-mail Margo directly (email@example.com).
Treaty Recognition Week: Week of Nov 2nd
A week of Remembrance: Week of Nov 8th
Word on the Street
Parking on Michael Cres. - Jen noted that the last few years it’s always been a struggle with people parking in front of the walkway to the school or in the non-parking zones. This makes it dangerous for students and families to cross the street as you can’t see the oncoming traffic. Jen called by-law about this and they are going to be following up and also connected her with the crossing guard department at the City. They are going to be coming out to do an assessment.
Mr. Thomson will add a reminder about parking to the Sunday Summary.
Recess Equipment - Tricia wondered when recess equipment will be available to the students. Mr. Thomson reported that the teachers are putting together lists of equipment they would like for their classes. Staff will spend some time teaching the students how to use the equipment in a safe, inclusive and COVID-responsible way and then it will make its way out into the yard. It’s anticipated this could happen by the end of the week.
Discussed the challenges with outside time during nutrition breaks, especially for the youngest students in the yard, given the need to social distance in a designated area (often end up playing in less COVID-safe ways (e.g., hands on, etc.)). This will be improved through the use of equipment but also through a program where the Grade 5 students are learning games during phys ed with Ms. Lively and then are teaching the younger students (Gr. 1 and 2) these games - a train the trainer model. This has been very successful and gives the Grade 5s another opportunity to be leaders in the school.
Meaghan adjourned the meeting at 8:18pm.
NEXT MEETING DATE: DECEMBER 7, 2020 @ 7pm
December 7, 2020 Council Minutes
Dr. Charles Best School Council - MEETING MINUTES
December 7, 2020 @ 7:00pm (VIRTUAL MEETING)
Angela Van Der Merwe
Farah Qazi (DCB YMCA before and after care)
Review of previous meeting minutes (Laura)
The group reviewed the minutes from November’s meeting.
Motion made to approve minutes as written.
Motion was carried.
Mr. Thomson acknowledged the land that we are on and thanked the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for sharing their traditional territory with us.
Jen will give the land acknowledgement at the January Council meeting.
Review/ Update of constitution (Meaghan)
The constitution review is ongoing. The working group has submitted their initial feedback/thoughts to Meaghan and she is going to consolidate the feedback for the small group to discuss and bring back to council. Anticipates a small group meeting in January, with feedback to council in February.
Two grade 5 students shared their thoughts on what’s happening at the school through a video. They highlighted the Wacky Wednesday plans for December, the door decorating contest and the holiday concert plans. They talked about how much they appreciate the technology in the school and how the grade 4 and 5 classes now have their own chromebook carts.
Principal’s Report (Mr. Thomson)
Chromebooks: DCB has approx. 145 chromebooks now, thanks to funding from the Board and Council. This is almost enough for one chromebook for each student in grades 1 - 5 (Chromebooks aren’t the ideal learning tool for kindies).
Strong push this year to integrate technology into the classroom - the Board expects all classes to use Google Classroom. Now that technology is more readily available to students at school technology will become more infused in lessons. Staff are thinking through how best to do this and we know it will be different depending on the age and stage of the student. Expect to hear more and more from the staff and students about how they are using technology in their classrooms and how they are building proficiency with it.
PIC/PRO Grant: Money left in this account from previous years needed to be spent - put towards the cost of the TV screen for the front hall (this will no longer come from Council’s funds).
We will have our PIC grant money for the 2020-21 school year shortly.The expectation is that this money be spent the year it is received.
Mr. Thomson requested that a Council member take on the role of PIC member. This would involve looking at what other schools have done with this funding (e.g., guest speakers, workshops for parents) and exploring what would work best for DCB families.
Action item: Council members to think about if they would like to take on this role before the next meeting.
Welcome Farah: Farah has joined Council as a Community Representative. She is the supervisor of the YMCA before and after care program at DCB.
Blacktop line painting: The contractor who does blacktop painting for the board came to see the space and has given us a quote. He came up with a plan for adding a number of additional games onto the blacktop (e.g., four square, social distanced circles, conflict circle, etc) and in the Kindie pen (e.g., mirror me game, number snake, social distance circle game, track for the bikes, etc).
Space will be left for the COVID markings (e.g., the lines for the classes) and the contractor will not use any orange paint in his designs, leaving that as the COVID related markings colour.
Longevity of the painting depends on environmental factors (e.g., salt used for ice melting, snow removal practices) but we can expect them to last 5 - 10 years.
The company can also send someone out to teach staff how to play with the various painted games - for example, they have 20 games you can play with the social distanced circles. The goal is to paint games that allow as many kids as possible to be engaged. The kindie team has already provided feedback on the plans.
The cost for the painting is $2,500 plus $250 for the training of the teachers and students on how to use the markings to play a variety of games.
Tricia wondered about adding a buddy bench to the school yard. Mrs. Mooers noted that in the past it had been discussed and decided against because there were concerns that it may centre out those who don’t have friends to play with. Mr. Thomson noted that it wouldn’t be feasible right now due to COVID restrictions (e.g., needing to stay in their designated spaces, not sitting together) but could be looked at for the future.
Action item: Mr. Thomson and Tricia to look into what schools have buddy benches and how they work and to report back to council.
Steve Paquette: DCB is lucky to have Steve Paquette, an Indigenous knowledge leader, to be working with the school. He will be coming in on Thursday to work with Mr. Thomson and some staff. Mr. Thomson has purchased a copy of the book “21 Things You Do Not Know About the Indian Act” for each staff member and they will be working through this together as a staff (a mini book club) as it’s a good starting point for discussions and understanding about truth and reconciliation and learning about the Indigenous reality.
Mr. Thomson will be starting a DCB Parent Lending Library and has ordered a copy of the book for this purpose as well. As other resources are found they will be added to the library. Books can be borrowed and then left for 72 hours upon return at which point they would be available for others to borrow.
Green Screen: A green screen has been purchased for students to use - another way to use technology. They can use it to put themselves into an environment digitally - was used in the Student Voice video and will be used for the holiday concert, which will really start to highlight how students and staff are using technology in their learning. Also being used for the daily announcements which continue to be virtual (and are outstanding and very creative).
Holiday Concert, Holiday Happenings: The holiday concert is going virtual this year - details will be included in the next Sunday Summary. Mrs Metcalf is working her magic to make this happen! Other holiday happenings include Wacky Wednesdays and Door decorating - the staff is really trying to create some normalcy around the holidays and to share the message that regardless of what you celebrate or how you celebrate we’re in this together! The school is very excited about these activities.
There have been some questions from families about recognizing teachers at the holidays through gifts, etc. Mr. Thomson and the staff want it to be clearly known that nothing is expected, especially this year as it’s been so tough for so many. Words, cards and e-mails mean so much to staff - hearing about the impact they are making on the students and families is really appreciated. While nothing is expected at all, if families do want to send gifts that is permitted from a COVID perspective. Any items sent in from home will have to sit for 72 hours before they are opened. No gifts will be opened in front of students this year so that no one feels left out.
Model delivery change - The next time when elementary students can switch from in-person to virtual or virtual to in-person school is March. There was very little change after the last model switch, so DCB did not have to reorganize classes at all. We won’t know if there is a need to reorganize in March until closer to the time (after decisions are made by families regarding any switches). Important to remember that even if your family doesn’t ask to switch models, we could still be impacted by a reorganization if many others in the school community switch to online (or return to in-person).
Laura asked about the kindie classes and if there will be a need to open a new class there as the classes are getting large. Mr. Thomson indicated that we’re at 28 kids now and the max is 30 - we don’t know if we will get to that point or not but the Superintendent and HR are very aware of our numbers. Mrs. Mooers reminded us that reorganization can happen at any time during the year with kindie.
LTO Position - Ms Flaherty has taken on a new position, so Ms Vella has joined as an LTO in the school now.
Staff synopsis (Mrs. Mooers)
Staff are very excited for the holiday concert this year - a fun change is that the kindies will be included in the main concert (usually they have their own concert separate from the rest of the school). The staff are also thrilled about the idea of the outdoor painting - it will give the kids more to do outside, and learning about the games will be fantastic.
Treasurer’s Report (Darren)
The opening balance for the account is $8,536.30
Planned expenses: 14 chromebooks (ordered but not invoiced)
Available funds: $4,288.50
Lottery account: $92.20
Megahan and Mr. Thomson both expressed their appreciation to Darren and Nancy for working through the books and getting everything sorted.
Financial Support Discussion
Lottery account: At the November meeting we discussed closing the lottery account; concerns were raised about what that would mean for future fundraising. Further research into this by Darren and Mr. Thomson found that the Board does not want schools to have lottery accounts. They are also strongly suggesting that schools not run lotteries, but that being said, if a lottery account was needed in the future it would be easy to reopen.
Motion was made to close the lottery account.
Motion was carried. The lottery account will be closed.
Line Painting: Originally Council had budgeted $1,000 for this work. The school can cover half the costs, if Council can cover the other half. Total cost for the painting and teacher training is $2,750.
Motion was made to cover half of the cost of the painting on the blacktop and the teacher training (approx. $1,375)
Motion was carried to cover half the cost of the line painting on the blacktop.
Grade 5 recognition: Each year we’ve put aside $500 for this to help with the cost of a Grade 5 trip/graduation activity. Last year this wasn’t possible due to COVID. In lieu of a class trip/celebration, Council paid for gift cards for each graduating student (total amount to be confirmed). It’s likely that this year a trip won’t be possible either - can we put aside money to do something similar for our 2021 grads?
Action item: Darren to confirm with Nancy how much was spent on the grade 5 grad gifts last year, estimate the cost of doing something similar this year given the size of the grade 5 class and bring this information back to Council in January.
Gift of Giving: Council and the school are supporting the Gift of Giving food drive. There will be local drop off points on December 12th or families can bring their bags to Burlington Centre to drop off.
Word on the Street
Many council members shared that their kids are enjoying being at the school in-person (and the parents are happy with it too). Lots of positive feedback on how well everyone is doing wearing masks, washing their hands, distancing, etc. Members noted how proud they are of DCB students and staff for doing so well with all of this!
A number of members identified their appreciation for the extra fabric masks the school has available for kids who may need them during the school day (e.g., if they forget theirs or it gets dirty).
Megahan wrapped up the meeting thanking everyone for their participation and noting that the virtual meetings seem to be going well but if anyone has feedback or suggestions on how to improve the meetings, they can share that with her directly.
Meaghan adjourned the meeting at 8:03pm.
NEXT MEETING DATE: JANUARY 11, 2021 @ 7pm
March 1, 2021 Council Minutes
DR. CHARLES BEST SCHOOL COUNCIL - MEETING MINUTES
MARCH 1, 2021 @ 7:00PM (VIRTUAL MEETING)
Meaghan Lazenby (Chair); Paul Thomson (Principal): Laura Tripp (Secretary); Christine Mooers (Staff Rep.); Michelle Dewhurst (Member); Jen Gibson (Member); Andrea Gravis (Member); Kerri Nowacki (Member); Angela Van Der Merwe (Member)
Review of previous minutes (Laura)
The group reviewed the minutes from the December meeting including the action items.
Motion made to approve minutes as written.
Motion was carried.
Land Acknowledgement (Jen)
Lily and Sydney, Grade 4 students, provided a student update by video. The Grade 4s completed a project on Black musicians for Black history month and are developing pages of a kindness book for the announcements. Some students in the school are doing things like shovelling and other tasks to help around the school. The Grade 4s moved into a new classroom this week.
Mr. Thomson noted that the Grade 4s have been eager to take on additional leadership roles in the school.
Principal’s Report (Mr. Thomson)
Chromebooks: Each class (Grades 1 – 5) now has their own class set of Chromebooks and a charging cart which is wonderful progress. Kindergarten classes don’t have their own class set of Chromebooks (they aren’t required for this age and stage). Mr. Thomson is currently discussing potential next steps for technology in these classes with the kindie team (e.g., additional iPads/Tablets for the classes). The school was able to provide a Chromebook to any students who needed one while learning virtually. Well over 100 Chromebooks were loaned out to students during this time.
Facility Updates: Suspected mould was found behind a baseboard on the wall in the new Green room (previously the Grade 4 room). It was a small spot (size of a quarter) that was only discovered as the room was rearranged for the new class. Out of an abundance of caution the area was professionally remediated and air testing was completed. Everything was successfully repaired, and the room passed all air quality tests. The Facilities Supervisor checked for signs of mould in other parts of the school and didn’t find any – they will check for mould on a regular basis.
Electrical work is underway - all circuit panels have been replaced and upgraded. Light switches are being put into all of the classrooms (currently lighting is managed at the circuit panel). Emergency lighting is also being improved along with some other electrical upgrades.
Green room: DCB has a new kindie class as of March 1st. The Green room is a mix of students from the blue room and yellow room. This class is being taught by Miss O.
The addition of the new class to the school led to some changes in room assignments. The green room class has moved into the classroom that the Grade 4s have been in. The Grade 4s moved into the next largest available room. This was the YMCA before/after care room, so the YMCA has moved back into the Art hall.
Staffing changes: There have been a number of staff changes in kindergarten and Grade 4. Kindergarten staffing changes occurred as a result of the new Green room. Changes were made to allow for as much consistency for as many students as possible. Miss O is the new Green room class teacher. Ms Vella (who has been on staff since November as the ‘floating’ supply teacher) is joining Mrs Mooers in the Blue room to replace Miss O. Ms Malley is the new ‘floating’ supply teacher.
In Grade 4, Mrs Black is back Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Ms. Rados will be teaching the class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now.
Holiday Concert: The holiday concert was a great success. Mr. Thomson thanked everyone for their kind words and emails about the concert and expressed appreciation for all the work Mrs Metcalf and the staff put in to put together the concert. It was certainly different, but wonderful and one to remember!
Stephen Paquette: Indigenous Knowledge Leader for HDSB, Stephen Paquette, spoke with each of the DCB classes while they were learning virtually. Mr. Thomson spoke to how well these sessions went - Mr. Paquette spoke with the students about the relationships that Indigenous peoples have with the natural world and about the fact that it’s okay to be different and to think differently. He answered all of the students’ questions and celebrated their participation in the discussions.
Angela heard the grade 1 class discussion with Mr. Paquette and was impressed. He spoke with the kids at their level, and the students were very engaged.
Mr. Paquette has offered to come back and talk to the students again, and also offered to join a Council meeting. Council agreed it would be wonderful to have him join.
Action item: Mr. Thomson will connect with Mr. Paquette to invite him to the May Council meeting.
DCB staff are in the process of reading and debriefing about the book 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act. An extra copy is available for Council members who may want to read the book. Council members can reach out to Mr. Thomson for more information.
Face to face return with updated protocols: Mr. Thomson acknowledged that he knows the COVID environment is having impacts on all families and appreciates the trust and open, honest communication that is taking place between the school and parents. Students now have to wear masks at nutrition breaks - this is a big change and has a large impact on the students. Classes are taking more mask breaks to help with this.
A reminder that students need to be sent to school with multiple masks to get through the day - they get wet and uncomfortable after being outdoors (and are less effective once wet).
Daily COVID screening - a reminder that students (and staff) need to complete this daily. It has been a successful process for the most part so far. Sometimes students will start to feel ill during the day - when that happens Mr. Thomson will complete the screening with the student. If they do not pass the screening, they need to be sent home to isolate and potentially be tested. While this isn’t an easy phone call to make, the DCB staff have no flexibility here and need to follow the guidelines that have been put in place by the province.
Walkways: The school is doing all that they can to push the snow back to prevent walkways from getting icy. There were issues with the pathways leading to the school last week especially being icy and not cleared. This is the responsibility of the City of Burlington. Calls/e-mails to the city by the school community led to this pathway being cleared after a few days and the support to make this happen was appreciated.
Staff Update (Mrs. Mooers)
Mr. Thomson captured most of the school updates. The return from virtual learning went very smoothly. The students remembered the COVID protocols and seemed happy to be back.
PIC Update (Andrea)
Andrea attended the PIC meeting in January. The meeting was focused primarily on the Discriminatory and Harmful Language Protocol which was first released in 2018 and updated in 2020. There is a video outlining this protocol on the HDSB website.
Each school can apply for a $500 PIC grant. During the meeting many attendees provided suggestions and ideas on how their schools had used the money in the past. Mr. Thomson applied for these funds for DCB and our application was approved. Meaghan, Andrea and Mr. Thomson have met to discuss how these funds could be used and will finalize this plan over the next few weeks. It is more challenging to use the funding this year as all activities need to be virtual.
ACTION ITEM: Andrea, Meaghan and Mr. Thomson will bring a plan for the PIC funds to the next meeting.
Treasurer’s Report (Meaghan)
The opening balance for the account is about $8,500. Revenue included the PIC funds and some money from Mabel’s Labels fundraising. We have planned expenses for the Chromebooks, grade 5 graduation ($500 – which Nancy has confirmed will be enough for this year) and the line painting (which will be completed before the end of the year, weather permitting). After accounting for the planned expenses, we have just under $3000 remaining.
The lottery account has been closed and the money from that account was moved over to the main Council account.
School Council Constitution and By-Laws Review (Meaghan)
Meaghan updated the group on the review of the Council Constitution and By-Laws. A small working group (Meaghan, Laura, Jen and Mr. Thomson) have reviewed and made revisions to these documents. The aim of the revisions was to ensure that the documents were accurate and up-to-date and that they were as inclusive as possible. The key revisions were:
Updating contact information and the school motto to “calm, caring and creative”
Updating information about the student handbook. As we no longer have paper agendas for students, this information will be available on the school website moving forward (Mr. Thomson will be sharing the student handbook with Council at a later date)
Revising language to ensure inclusivity (e.g., parents and guardians instead of just parents; educators or staff instead of just teachers)
Revising the Council attendance policy. The previous policy stated executive members would be removed from Council after missing 3 meetings. This was revised to say they will be removed if they miss 3 meetings without prior notice/explanation.
Being clear that virtual meetings are acceptable
Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws can be brought forward at the Annual General Meeting. A motion was made to present the revised Constitution and By-Laws for vote at the next annual general meeting (September 2021).
Upcoming Events/Other Action Items
Year End Event: We will not be able to have an in-person year end event this year (e.g., the BBQ). The group discussed finding an alternative activity to create a sense of community and celebration. Suggestions included a virtual event or an art scavenger hunt where families place an image in their window for others to find during walks etc (similar to the rainbows that were put in windows in Spring 2020). The group discussed how the staff could support this at school as well (e.g., potentially creating the art at school to put in windows at home). Laura and Mrs. Mooers will collaborate and discuss this further and bring ideas back to council.
Action Item: Consider what type of (virtual/not in-person) community-building activity could be planned for the end of the year
Kerri: MacMillan has started to highlight a student who is doing things for the community in their monthly newsletter. She appreciates this as it’s a good way to get to know the students, especially this year as parents are not allowed in schools. Kerri wondered if DCB could do something similar.
Action Item: Mr. Thomson to connect with the Macmillan principal to learn more about this initiative.
Word on the Street
Kerri wondered how the Grade 4s are doing now that they have moved to a new classroom? Mr. Thomson thinks things are going well - they have had a lot of changes (rooms, teachers, coming back from virtual learning) and they are doing well adjusting to those changes. The classroom they are in now is smaller, so they are using strategies like breakout groups to help with this - smaller groups of kids work in different areas of the school so they can have more space and less noise. It’s working well.
Laura acknowledged all the work the staff put into making the Kindie transitions smooth this week. The kids were excited and felt supported.
Andrea asked about the play zones for recess. Given all the melting snow, some of the zones are getting quite wet and muddy – what is the plan for this going forward? Mr. Thomson agreed there will be a need for creativity given the limited space on the blacktop and how wet the field will be during this transition from Winter to Spring. He’s really trying to avoid indoor recesses but will do that if needed. He’s looking at a variety of options to deal with this issue. He’s also investigating the possibility of getting a dryer for the school which could help in those cases where students get very wet during recess.
Meaghan adjourned the meeting at 8:12pm.