The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB) has approved its 2021-2022 budget with investments to address student needs and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education.
“We are excited about the return to some sense of normalcy in the 2021-2022 school year. However, we also recognize that the pandemic itself and subsequent disruptions to the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years caused difficulties for many students, families and school communities,” noted Chair Bob Schreader during the budget presentation.
The budget of over $76 million includes strategies to assist with the transition back to in-person classroom learning, support and re-engage students, and increase their academic success. One of our School Effectiveness Principals will develop and implement a Board-specific reengagement plan for students. We have also appointed a School Effectiveness Principal as the lead for the Learning and Innovation Fund for Teachers (LIFT), whose role will support RCCDSB educators to learn and share in professional learning communities. Student mental health and well-being will continue to be a priority for the Board. The Board’s mental health team has summer programs in place to ease the anxiety and fear many students may feel at this time, noted Schreader. As well, teachers will have access to newly developed material about wellbeing and positive mental health.
Targeted, evidence-based reading intervention strategies will be put in place to improve outcomes for students who are struggling, particularly the youngest readers. Educators will be supported to implement the content of the new elementary math curriculum to ensure students are supported in learning key numeracy concepts. Grade 9 math will focus on the new De-streamed Math curriculum.
As part of its ongoing equity work, the Board plans to implement the Grade 11 Indigenous English course Indigenous Understanding of Contemporary First Nation, Métis and Inuit Voices with an increased budget of $208,000. It will provide the required English credits, address the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and allow students to explore the history and culture of Indigenous people, their contributions and the discrimination they have faced.
Student access to technological devices will continue to be supported, as will investment in technology platforms and instructional programs to strengthen both virtual and blended learning environments. The RCCDSB will also maintain and promote its content-rich digital library that is available to both staff and students, noted Schreader.
The RCCDSB’s virtual school, St. Kateri Tekakwitha will continue to offer online learning for students in kindergarten to Grade 8 supported by Board funding.
“While we expect the majority of students will return to face-to-face classroom learning, we also recognize that some students and their families have thrived in and prefer the virtual setting,” stated Schreader.
Schreader added that the investments and programs outlined in the budget will help to ensure “that students can continue to learn, grow and achieve their best” in RCCDSB schools.
For further information, please contact:
Mark Searson, 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