We are thrilled to welcome students back for another year of learning! I sincerely hope that you had a wonderful summer and that your children were excited to return to their classroom on Tuesday.
As we begin a new school year, I wanted to highlight a change that we have implemented in our K-6 and K-8 elementary schools. You will notice new equipment for controlling school front door access. We have always locked other access doors once students are safely inside, but now front doors will be locked as well, during the instructional day. This proactive precaution is another step to ensuring your child’s safety as the school office now has the ability to safely manage who enters the building throughout the day. Schools will continue to provide a welcoming environment but will have an additional security measure. The safety of our students and staff is always a top priority for our Board and this addition will enable us to minimize concerns.
Our school staff are busy making plans for the upcoming year. We have been analyzing data and recently received embargoed results from the provincial EQAO tests and as always, will be using all of this information to make more precise decisions around our literacy and numeracy goals for the coming year. Last year we collected, for the first time, student identity based data, to better understand our students and respond to diverse needs of student populations and communities. This information too, will help us identify and respond to barriers to student success and enhance the creation and distribution of programs and services.
We have also asked students about their experience at school using the “Our Schools” survey so that we can work towards enhancing student well-being and school connectedness. All of this information helps us plan our year ahead and make sure students are at the center of all that we do.
Our priorities and plans for 2019/20 will be posted on our website at amdsb.ca in October.
This is the final year for our four year Strategic Plan. We began the process of developing our new plan by collecting input from parents and students earlier this year and we will continue with our internal and external partners (staff, school board trustees and community partners) shortly. We have begun by using an on-line idea sharing platform called thoughtexchange and the input received will contribute to our new plan which we plan on launching in June 2020.
A number of our collective agreements expired on August 31 so we will renegotiate our contracts and this process will continue behind the scenes throughout the school year. Our hope is that no or little disruption occurs at the school level. We will provide updates as appropriate, as this process moves forward.
We are looking forward to an engaging school year in which your child feels excited about school, a strong sense of belonging and experiences progress, success and fun! As always, if you have any concerns throughout the year, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal. Thank you and welcome back!
Dr. Lisa Walsh, Director of Education,
Avon Maitland District School Board