In 2018-2019, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board was clearly focused on providing for the achievement, well-being and dignity of all its students in alignment with Ministry of Education goals for equity and inclusion. As described in our Annual Report released this week, the RCCDSB’s main priorities were to improve mathematics skills and instruction, promote viable pathways for individual student success, and create equitable schools and classrooms.
“We are very proud of the efforts of our students and staff in the past year,” said Director of Education Jaimie Perry. “Our Catholic education system is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity and support to achieve their personal best in a hospitable, healthy environment. We work towards that goal in a variety of ways.”
Among several initiatives aimed at improving mathematics skills and instruction, the Board’s Number Talks program focused on enhancing students’ mental math strategies through classroom discussions. The Assessing Math Concepts project also moved into its second phase, launching in six more elementary schools with professional training and resources to improve how students’ learning gaps are assessed and addressed. The Board also piloted MathUP in eight schools. This program teaches staff how to analyze data and measure success in order to implement sustainable, targeted learning approaches. At the secondary level, four hubs of learning were created to support a professional learning community for Grade 7 to 9 educators to assist students as they move to high school mathematics courses. The community’s goal is to increase educator knowledge by networking about mathematical concepts and curriculum in everyday teaching.
In 2018-2019, the Board also worked to expand pathways for graduating students to transition into their chosen post-secondary destinations through programs such as Dual Credits, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship, Specialist High Skills Majors and Experiential Learning, with a focus on technology advancements in careers. The Specialist High Skills Major area, for instance, offered new options to students, such as Non-Profit, Information, Communication & Technology, and Construction. In Experiential Learning, RCCDSB continued to collaborate with community partners in the forefront of technology, as well as creating a Makerspace cart with a variety of computational thinking activities for all of its elementary schools. RCCDSB staff also conducted outreach to students who would benefit from the Dual Credits program, and was very active in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, working to build community partnerships to promote apprenticeship opportunities for all students.
RCCDSB also worked to ensure equitable school and classroom environments through a range of activities aimed at building resilience, participation and self-esteem, as well as supporting cultural differences, individual needs and strengths. The annual REACH Day event was held at Shaw Woods for Grade 8 students to help prepare them for secondary school and future careers.
Our Indigenous Education Elementary Team introduced a new resource to support revisions to the social studies program for Grades 4 to 8. As well, the Indigenous Education lead visited classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 12 throughout the year to deliver resources to support the Truth and Reconciliation “Calls to Action” around Residential Schools and Treaty Recognition.
The RCCDSB renewed its focus on the “tiered approach” to Special Education, as outlined by the Ministry of Education’s Learning for All document. New provincial funding allowed the addition of a Speech Language Pathologist, Inclusion Special Assignment Teacher and Social Worker to help assess and support students with complex multiple needs. Inclusion Special Assignment Teachers visited Grades 4 to 6 classrooms to work with students and teaching staff on web support provided by Google Read and Write. Autism after-school pilots were also introduced at St. Francis of Assisi and St. John XXIII schools for 4 to 6 students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.
The RCCDSB also offered Grade 12 students in the French as a Second Language (FSL) program the opportunity to write the international Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) test. As well, the FSL program offered several field trips last year and a new action-oriented FSL program was purchased to be introduced in Grades 7 and 8.
The Board has set up self-regulation groups in elementary schools to help students access support for identifying emotions and developing self-regulation skills.
The RCCDSB also worked to support barrier-free hiring processes for staff, by standardizing the interview and debrief process, making accommodations for potential staff in an equitable, fair way and posting jobs on external websites.
Several initiatives for staff development were also offered by the RCCDSB. The Leadership Academy of the Eastern Ontario Development Network provided courses and resources, as well as networking opportunities. RCCDSB staff also participated in an Indigenous Day of Learning in December 2018 at the Makwa Centre in Pikwàkanagàn, as well as Christian Community Day in May 2019, which focused on how we can use technology and social media to make the world a better place.
“RCCDSB accomplished a lot in 2018-2019 in furthering the goals of our Strategic Plan,” said Director Perry. “We aspire to be an inclusive Catholic educational community and I want to thank all those who participated in our spiritual and learning journey. We believe that we are providing a path to success for all of our students in a caring community that reverences the dignity of the whole person.”
The full, printed Director’s Annual Report will be available to the public on December 2nd following the Board’s Inaugural Meeting.
November 25, 2019
For further information, please contact:
Jaimie Perry, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-0191