AMDSB Students Participate in National Engineering Month Event
Superintendent Baker reported that on March 2nd, more than 75 AMDSB students and parents gathered in Stratford to explore various aspects of engineering at the National Engineering Month (NEM) Exploration Day. This event was organized by Institute for Engineering Technology of Ontario Western Region Councillor for OACETT Michael Mooney and sponsored by AMDSB and HPCDSB in partnership with National Engineering Month (NEM).
In the morning, students participated in a variety of engineering activities, including flying drones, building electrical circuits, and constructing suspension bridges out of two metal stands, masking tape, and a piece of cardboard. Students from Anne Hathaway and Elma Public Schools tied for first place in the afternoon’s Popsicle Stick Bridge Challenge.
Organizer Michael Mooney hopes this event will promote conversations about engineering in elementary schools. He plans to make the event an annual one that will focus on a different engineering topic each year.
St. Marys DCVI Launches new Construction SHSM
Superintendent Baker also mentioned that students at St. Marys DCVI now have the opportunity to expand their experiential learning with a focus on construction engineering through a new Construction Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program.
SHSM sector lead Brian Chalupka, who is a licensed electrician, knows the importance of the trades. “With the average age of the skilled worker in Ontario at around 53, we really need to attract young people into the field. My goal is to give the students a small taste of as many trades as possible that are involved in residential construction. My hope is that students might be inspired and want to pursue one of the trades as a viable career option.” Chalupka says.
Down Syndrome Day Celebrated Across AMDSB
Trustee Geddes reported that World Down Syndrome Day was observed at many of our schools on March 21. Students and staff joined the global awareness movement by wearing funky socks and having special activities to help students #SeeTheAbility. Schools shared pictures of participants “rocking their socks” to social media with the hashtags “#LotsofSocks and #WorldDownSyndromeDay. Why socks? Because chromosomes look like socks and people with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome! March 21st is significant because it symbolizes the “uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome.”
Below is an example of an awareness activity done in a kindergarten class at Bluewater Coast Elementary School. A special guest came in to help children understand “the similarities children have and some of the amazing differences”:
Linda K was a special guest in Kgn. Thank you for helping us understand the similarities children have and some of the amazing differences. Linda created some fun activities to try to help us understand how Down Syndrome might affect a friend #SeeTheAbility @yourschools pic.twitter.com/WdsIZrNqPv
— Bluewater Coast ES (@BCESchool) March 22, 2019
Indigenous Student Pathways Days
Superintendent Baker announced that we are hosting Indigenous Student Pathways Days for the first time. Our board has approximately 65 self-identified Indigenous students, and this year they have the chance to attend one of three full-day Pathways events around our District with a focus on the apprenticeable trade Native Clothing and Crafts Artisan.
On March 21 and 25th, self-identified Indigenous students in grades 9-12 gathered either in Stratford or Goderich, where they learned traditional teachings from Indigenous educators, made moccasins, were served a lunch made by an Indigenous cook, and learned about the apprenticeship pathway.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is supporting self-identified Indigenous students by providing them with exposure to the skilled trades through various workshops. The students that are participating in these workshops will be invited to attend another workshop that focuses on one of the high demand trades in Ontario to further their exposure to the apprenticeship pathway.
This Friday, March 29th, a third event will be held in Listowel.
April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day
On April 2nd, schools have been invited to help raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Ontario’s Raise the Flag campaign.
Autism Ontario has made toolkits available to educators who wish to incorporate autism awareness activities into their lessons.
RE:Action4Inclusion Youth Leadership Summit
Trustee Klassen announced that on March 29 and 30, students from Stratford Northwestern, F.E. Madill and St. Marys DCVI will be attending the RE:Action4Inclusion youth leadership summit in Toronto. Eva Notebomer, a student from Stratford Central, is part of the provincial group and is on the organizing committee.
GDCI Wins Award for Epilepsy Inclusion
Trustee Carmichael shared that GDCI has been awarded the H.O.P.E. (Helping Out People with Epilepsy) award from Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario because of their work to integrate a student with epilepsy into the school. The award will be presented this Friday afternoon at GDCI by a member of the Huron Perth Chapter of Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario.
Screaming Avocado Culinary Club Dinners
Trustee Klassen enticed everyone with a description of last night’s four-course Culinary Club dinner at Stratford Northwestern’s Screaming Avocado. The Culinary Club is student run and made up of students from Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern. Each dinner features a chef from a different restaurant.
Upcoming dinners will be held in April and May. For reservations and more information please contact the Screaming Avocado: 519.271.9740 ext. 307
Student Advisory Committee and Student Trustee Updates
Student Senators reported that they have a goal to help foster an environment where students feel empowered and enjoy coming to school. They would like to ask students what they would like and work with teachers and community groups to bring new learning opportunities to each school. They are also interested in implementing sustainable development goals at each school.
Student Trustee Vleeming indicated that she met with Student Senators from Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern to discuss the possibility of a student event in May. The event’s goal would be to help prepare Stratford secondary students for the upcoming school year, also known as Transition Year, where all Northwestern and Central students will be based out of Northwestern while renovations are conducted at Central.
Student Trustees also announced that some of our schools have made it through to the Ontario West Division of the National Theatre School of Canada Regionals, which will be held in Barrie April 8-13.
Trustee Hunking is planning to attend the OPSBA Advocacy Day on April 8 at the Ontario Legislature. The meeting is to be hosted by Minister of Education Lisa Thompson.
Senior Staff Updates
Superintendent Black was happy to announce that an impressive number of teachers have been attending evening meetings to learn to help serve students to a high degree as it pertains to social skills training. This training is a precursor to establishing life-long skills like resiliency in students.
Stratford Public Schools Renovation Project – Transition update
Superintendents Baker and Baird Jackson provided a brief update regarding progress on planning for the Transition Year (2019-2020) for Stratford secondary students (see Stratford section of our website for more information).
Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern staff received a memo on Friday with Q&A regarding the topic of moving, and more memos on relevant topics will be issued as more decisions are made. In the next couple of days, a Transition update in the form of a newsletter will be sent to parents of SC and SN students and parents of grades 6-8 students at Stratford feeder schools.
A meeting was held recently with the City of Stratford regarding parking, traffic control, temporary signage, crosswalks, busing/transit stops and more. More information will be shared as decisions are finalized.
The answers to questions regarding the Transition phase of the Stratford Project can be seen on the Stratford section of our website.
Draft School Calendar to be Posted for Public Consultation
Superintendent Morris indicated that a draft school year calendar for 2019-2020 is soon to be posted for public consultation.
Ministry of Education B Memorandum
Director Walsh summarized the Ministry of Education’s B Memorandum, issued March 15, 2019. It is clear that big decisions and challenges are coming, but the implementation of these changes cannot be fleshed out yet until more details are received.
iAMme Student Identification Survey Re-issued to Parents of K-6 Students
Superintendent Black announced the re-issue of the Student Identification Survey to K-6 parents who did not previously complete it.
A board-wide identity-based data survey was originally conducted in December 2018 and was intended to help us learn about the diversity of our students. Our response rate in elementary schools (K-6) was low — we believe we did not provide enough accessibility to parents/guardians to complete the survey — so we would like to issue it again.
We hope to re-engage as many families as possible. Our goal is to gather a fulsome data set to be able to respond to the diversity of our student population. The survey will come home with K-6 students in a return envelope between March 25 and 29. Parents/guardians are requested to complete the survey and return it to the school sealed in the envelope provided by April 4th. The survey remains voluntary.
Learn more: bit.ly/iammesurvey.
#PhoenixPride – Update From CHSS
Central Huron Secondary School (CHSS) in Clinton, via Superintendent Morris, shared some exciting updates about things that are happening at their school. These updates include: facilities enhancements such as a boiler replacement and cafeteria upgrades, a new sign, a refresh of the Library Commons, a new Agriculture SHSM, Grade 8 days held in December leading to higher Grade 9 enrolment, and a new website! Plus, follow @centralhuronss on Twitter, CHSS Chronicle on Facebook, and @centralhuron_chss on Instagram to see what CHSS students are up to and get excited about #phoenixpride.
Future Board Meetings
(at Education Centre unless otherwise noted)
- April 9, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
- April 23, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.; NOTE the April 23, 2019 meeting will be held at Mornington Public School
- May 7, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
- May 28, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
- June 11, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
- June 25, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
Future Meetings/Events with Trustee Representation
- Joint Health and Safety Committee: Thursday, March 28, 2019 – 1:30 p.m.
- HPSTS: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – 4:00 p.m. Conference Call
- SEAC: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – 4:00 p.m.
- Parent Involvement Committee (PIC): Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – 5:30 p.m.
- SAL: Monday, April 29, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.
- Audit Committee: Tuesday, April 30, 2019