The Board of Trustees had an opportunity to hear from staff members Leann Houle-Laframboise and Dan Kipfer, Program Teachers for STAR (Students with Technology Achieving Results)
Currently serving over 200 Grade K to 9 students board-wide, STAR is designed to support students with learning disabilities. Because children with learning disabilities often experience challenges in a text heavy, academic environment, AMDSB’s STAR program works to eradicate the social and emotional barriers that can develop in them by creating positive school experiences, overcoming cycles of failure, creating good habits and focussing on their wide range of abilities.
In practical ways STAR teachers:
- Coach students, staff and administration on creating accessible and supportive learning environments
- Mentor students by discussing issues around coping with their learning disability
- Act as liaisons between students, staff, administration and leaders
- Pilot new and accessible technologies to support students
“It’s been said that ‘if you’ve worked with one child with learning disabilities then you’ve worked with one child with learning disabilities'”, states Kipfer. “In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and we have the challenge and great privilege to tailor our work for each child.”
“And with diligent attention in removing barriers for each child, we are confident that they will be able to follow any pathway and be successful,” adds Houle-Laframboise.
Please see the full presentation.
Superintendent Peggy Blair shared a compelling story about a young girl in Grade 7. Though she was originally issued an iPad 2, teachers noticed she was still having difficulty seeing the screen due to her visual impairment. After receiving word of this, Avon Maitland supplied her with a large screened iPad and now, her teachers cheerfully report, that upon bringing it home she was able, for the very first time in her school career, to do her homework all by herself.
Superintendent Jane Morris brought news that 25 Grade 8 and 9 French students from across the District had just returned from spending 5 days in St. Donat, Quebec. The excursion involved 5 days of workshops and outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, skating and cooperative games all in French. The purpose of the trip was to help students become proficient and confident with the French language.
Student Trustee Zach Misener shared the excitement of students enrolled in My Academy – Avon Maitland’s Arts Academy in partnership with the Stratford Festival. My Academy began this week and will provide Avon Maitland students a once-in-a-lifetime integrated arts opportunity to develop their skills and broaden their knowledge of the performing arts. More can be read about the Academy via the web post.
Superintendent Peggy Blair reported that 14 Syrian newcomers were currently registered with Avon Maitland in the Stratford and Mitchell area with more on the way in Goderich, Exeter and Wingham.
Associate Superintendent Cheri Carter reviewed the report brought forward by the Report of the Finance Committee regarding Revised Estimates for 2015-2016.
The Finance Committee met prior to the Board meeting to review and discuss the draft 2015-2016 Revised Estimates budget. Revised Estimates are required to be filed annually and allows school boards an opportunity to update their initial estimates filed by incorporating current, October 31st student enrolment data and a number of months of financial activity.
“Although school boards are not required to approve Revised Estimates, it is the practice at Avon Maitland to obtain approval,” stated Carter. “This approval also allows us to include the most recent and accurate budget figures in our annual audited Financial Statements.”
Upon receiving the report and hearing the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Board then approved the Operating Revenue and Transfers of Reserves and the Capital allocations and spending for the period September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016.
Student Trustee Update
Student Trustees Zach Misener and Shannon Edwards shared the next project for Student Senators. In response to a Board request to gather a range of student perspectives, Senators will canvas fellow students in the next two weeks with a brief survey regarding their thoughts on the Board’s current Strategic Plan (2012-2016) and will gather their suggestions for the next Strategic Plan (2017-2021). Students will also be encouraged to share their opinions about inclusion at their school and the challenges of life/school balance.
Future Board Meetings
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- Tuesday, February 23, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. Committee of the Whole – Open Session, 7:30 p.m. Student Senate Committee and Trustees, 8:00 p.m. Regular Board Session
- Tuesday, March 22, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. Committee of the Whole – Open Session, 8:00 p.m. Regular Board Session
- Tuesday, April 12, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. Committee of the Whole – Open Session, 8:00 p.m. Regular Board Session
- Tuesday, April 26, 2016 – 8:00 p.m. Regular Board Session
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- Trustees and Senior Staff PD: February 16, 2016 – 4:30 p.m.
- SAL: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 – 9:00 a.m.
- AODA: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 – 4:00 p.m.
- SEAC: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – 4:00 p.m.