“Kindness Matters” – Blyth Student Wins Lions International Peace Essay Grand Prize
Vice-Chair Robert Hunking shared the story of Mikayla Ansley, a Grade 6 student at Hullett Central Public School who recently won the Lions Club International Peace Essay grand prize for her essay “Kindness Matters.” The contest was created specifically to give visually impaired students between the ages of 11 and 13 the opportunity to express their feelings of peace.
Mikayla has been legally blind since she was two, when a rare ocular cancer called bilateral retinoblastoma resulted in the loss of her left eye and most of the vision in her right. She says in her essay that “[i]t was this tragedy that taught me the lifeline of kindness. How to be thankful for what I have instead of wanting more.”
In March, Mikayla and her family will be travelling to New York city for the official announcement at Lions Day at the United Nations. At that event, she will be presented with a plaque and a $5,000 prize. Her essay will then be read in Milan, Italy this summer.
Congratulations, Mikayla! Your words are an inspiration to us all and a great reminder to always choose kindness.
Read the full essay on our Facebook page
Stratford Secondary Schools Open House
On February 5, students, parents, and staffs of Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern secondary schools gathered for a joint open house. For the 2019-2020 school year, Stratford Central will be closed for renovations and all students will be based out of Stratford Northwestern.
Student Trustee Kristin Vleeming, who attends Stratford Central, commented that she and her fellow students found the open house helpful — the opportunity to see the school and meet staff and SNSS students has students feeling more optimistic about their transition to Northwestern next year.
Superintendent Jodie Baker noted that staff of both schools had black t-shirts made with the words “The best of both worlds” in white letters. Staff wearing these shirts lined the walls of the auditorium during the open house, presenting an impactful visual.
New SHDHS Cosmetology Program
Superintendent Jodie Baker announced that South Huron District High School recently launched a new cosmetology program. After waiting patiently, conducting research and participating in a pilot Dual Credit program at St. Marys DCVI to see if students were genuinely interested, South Huron is now using their new cosmetology lab. They have already filled two sections and have a wait list!
St. Donat 2019 Trip a Success
Superintendent Jane Morris reported that this past February, 50 grades 8 and 9 Core French students from 20 schools across the district had the opportunity to travel to St. Donat, Quebec. This annual 5-day excursion is filled with workshops and outdoor activities, all in French!
One student said, “It was really cool to realize that I could understand so much. During the trip I got used to just speaking French to everyone. Even when we were at the ONroute in Ontario I was ready to say bonjour.”
Milverton Public School Recognized by Bell Let’s Talk Day
Superintendent Jodie Baker highlighted Milverton Public School being recognized by the organizers of Bell Let’s Talk Day (January 30th).
After he posted a photo of Milverton’s “#iAMwell” wall, Principal Jeremy Brock received a card and a package of swag from Bell Let’s Talk. The card read, “Mr. Brock, we noticed your school’s incredible wellness wall photo on Instagram. Thank you for supporting your students’ mental wellness every day of the year.”
Senior Staff Updates
Stratford Public Schools Renovation Project – Construction
Superintendent Janet Baird Jackson gave an update regarding the construction plans for Stratford Central Secondary School. An application for approval to proceed has been submitted to the Capital Branch of the Ministry of Education. They have indicated it is a priority but have not given us a timeframe for approval.
The design has now been finalized and can be put out for tender when approval to proceed is received from the Ministry.
The project scope includes asbestos abatement, the demolition of the 1958 wing and the construction of a new wing in its place, and a new accessible front entrance elevator.
Stratford Public Schools Renovation Project – Vision Update
Following the February 8 update regarding the addition of a 7th option for the Vision phase of the Stratford Public Schools Renovation project, we have received lots of questions and comments via our public feedback form. The themes of the responses range from questions about Option 7 to the culture of each school, from transportation to the impact the various options may have on specialty programming for students.
Answers have been posted to the Vision FAQs page on the Stratford section of our website, and we continue to add new answers as we can compile them.
Stratford Public Schools Renovation Project – Transition Update
The process of planning the Transition year (2019-2020) where Stratford Central students will be housed at Stratford Northwestern is well underway. All of senior staff is involved, working within their portfolios and with staff at the school level to develop various aspects of the plan. Discussions regarding parking are well underway with the schools and the municipality. Secondary school administrators have been contacting feeder school families to ask about whether they attended the recent joint open house at Northwestern, if they have any questions, and whether they have decided where their children will attend high school next year. This informal survey has provided staff with some useful information they are using as they continue to plan the Transition year.
DELF Assessment 2019
Superintendent Jane Morris mentioned that the DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) dates for this year will be May 6-8. We usually have 150 students doing a French proficiency assessment in the library at Stratford Northwestern each year, and this year should be no exception.
Facilities Work over March Break
Janet Baird Jackson, Superintendent of Corporate Services, reported about facilities work that will be conducted over March Break. Projects include asbestos abatement at Stratford Central, updates to the staff room at Stratford Northwestern, fire alarm inspections, and cleaning out portables that are not currently being used to get ready to move them to the Northwestern site.
Dual Credit Courses Second Semester
Superintendent Baker highlighted the courses that are available for Dual Credit students in second semester this year. Dual credit programs allow senior secondary students the opportunity to earn high school and college credits at the same time. Students typically attend Conestoga, Fanshawe or Lambton College’s campuses once a week for a fifteen week period.
For this upcoming semester, 139 students are currently enrolled in Day Way Dual Credit, where students to go college campuses for classes. Another 40 students are expected to enroll in Team Taught Dual Credit, where college instructors teach courses at the secondary school campus with assistance from an AMDSB teacher.
New Indigenous Education Web Section on Board Website
Superintendent Black presented a new web section on the Board website which is dedicated to Indigenous Education at AMDSB. The new web pages provide information about our Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC), Days of Recognition, and the text of our Acknowledgement of Traditional Lands statement.
Pink Shirt Day February 27 – Bullying Stops Here
Superintendent Jodie Baker talked about Pink Shirt Day, February 27th. Students and staff are encouraged to wear pink to symbolize a lack of tolerance of bullying. The theme these year is cyberbullying.
“In our social media and technology driven society, the likelihood of someone experiencing or partaking in negativity online increases with every photo posted and every message sent. However, we strongly believe in the power that social media has to elicit kindness, compassion, and sincerity, all you have to do is T.H.I.N.K!
Before creating a post, ask if it is: True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and KIND. ” — pinkshirtday.ca
We as a board are focusing on improving the understanding of bullying versus conflict. We know that bullying is repeated, targeted, unwanted and aggressive behaviour where someone is deliberately hurt.
For more information about Pink Shirt Day: pinkshirtday.
Safe and Welcoming Learning Environment and Learning Services Updates
Superintendent Kim Black and Learning Services Coordinator Kristin Frank gave a presentation discussing the importance of transition planning for students with special needs and some next steps to help improve our current supports.
Superintendents Baker and Black gave updates regarding Medical and Recreational Cannabis on school grounds and next steps in the implementation of AP 314 – Prevalent Medical Conditions in Schools.
Future Board Meetings
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- March 26, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Regular Session
- April 9, 2019 – 7:30 Regular Session
- April 23, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Regular Session; NOTE the April 23, 2019 meeting will be held at Mornington Public School
- May 7, 2019 – 7:30 Regular Session
- May 28, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Regular Session
- June 11, 2019 – 7:30 Regular Session
- June 25, 2019 – 7:30 p.m. Regular Session
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
- Parent Involvement Committee (PIC): Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – 5:30 p.m.
- Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC): Thursday, February 28, 2019 – 5:00 p.m.
- Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC): Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – 4:00 p.m.
- SAL: Monday, March 29, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.
- Audit Committee: Tuesday, April 30, 2019