Welcome to HWDSB’s 2017 Director’s Annual Report

HWDSB's New TaglineIn 2016-17, HWDSB implemented its new vision developed with community input through the ambitious HWDSB Reimagined initiative. We embraced as our mission that we empower students to learn and grow to their full potential in a diverse world. We are committed to learning, equity, engagement and innovation.

Our first year of this four-year direction was exciting because it allowed us to deliver on the promise of our new priorities. Our five priorities are: Positive Culture and Well-being, Student Learning and Achievement, Effective Communication, School Renewal and Partnerships.

These priorities provide a structure for our work, and for the report you find here. Please find a summary of our work in 2016-17, our progress toward our goals and examples that put a special emphasis on equity and our work with high-priority schools.

You will also see how the work we did in 2016-17 has helped to shape our Board Annual Plan for 2017-18, and how we have made curiosity, creativity and possibility come alive for our students, staff and community.

Positive Culture and Well-Being

We are committed to building student and staff well-being through positive climate strategies and supportive relationships.

Progress in 2016-17

Goal #1: All HWDSB students and staff feel safe, supported and accepted.
Target: Every school and department will improve the number of staff and students feeling safe, supported and accepted by August 2017.

  • Strategy: Develop a positive culture staff survey to obtain site-specific data. Our revamped 2016-17 Positive Culture Staff Voice Survey had 2,812 responses from staff, thanks to discussions with employee groups, clear communication about its purpose and alignment with Dr. Ken Leithwood’s Strong Districts work. The survey measured staff engagement, personal efficacy, collective efficacy, trust and relationships, feelings of safety at work and more. Sites with more than 15 responses received site-specific date. We implemented this strategy effectively, yielding baseline results for planning and comparison.
  • Strategy: Analyze school/department data (climate surveys, achievement, attendance, safe schools, etc.) to determine strengths and needs. For the first time,a revised Student Positive Climate Survey went to all students in grades 4 to 12. The survey, now annual, helps schools monitor, review and implement their school culture plan by gathering student feedback on bullying, inclusion and demographics. We had 8,678 elementary and 5,084 secondary respondents. Administrators received results to use in their 2017-18 planning. Schools also included positive culture priorities in their continuous learning and improvement process, through measures like student voice, attendance and more. Service Departments engaged in learning on climate and culture.
  • Strategy: Establish a comprehensive positive climate goal as part of Continuous Learning and Improvement School/Department Plans. Support and monitor growth of positive climate goals by August 2017. School superintendents (SOSAs) monitor goals for student learning and achievement as well as positive culture and well-being. Our Positive Culture and Well-Being Workgroup reviewed school plans and made draft recommendations about the need for staff and students to drive this work, the need for clear, inclusive and specific plans, and more. Service Departments made department plans but we did not insist that they focus on staff voice data explicitly.

Goal #2: HWDSB students and staff are engaged in the school and workplace as a learning organization committed to respectful and inclusive working and learning environments.

Target: All Board Work Plans will reflect and model the inclusion of diverse practices to promote respectful and inclusive working and learning environments by August 2017.

  • Strategy: Invest in people by engaging all Supervisors, Managers, System Principals and Executive Council in diversity professional learning to ensure equity and inclusion are reflected in all aspects of our work. HWDSB Supervisors, Managers, System Principals and Executive Council engaged in Deep Diversity learning, focusing on bias, identity, power, emotions, racism, oppression and courageous conversation, then shared with staff. Administrators had an introduction to Deep Diversity focusing on bias, with deeper learning ahead in 2017/18. Learning also focused on a “culturally responsive mindset” and gender identity and expression. An interdisciplinary team from Social Work, Student Success, Mental Health, Engagement, Planning and Accommodation, Trustee Services and Executive Council participated in community engagement learning at McMaster University to ensure engagement reflects inclusive practices with an anti-racism, anti-oppression lens. We applied this learning to an initiative focusing on racialized youth in HWDSB.
  • Strategy: Incorporate mental health and well-being, safety and acceptance, Learning for All and equity and inclusion in all Board Work Plans. Our Leadership and Learning Department formed a structure to guide learning and planning in the department, bringing more diverse perspectives to the table. For example, our Reading Strategy Committee represented 12 areas of HWDSB. Not all Board work plans had the same diverse practices, but this remains a priority for 2017-18.

Action Plan for 2017-18

Goal: All HWDSB students and staff feel safe, supported and accepted.

Target: Every school and department will improve the number of staff and students feeling safe, supported and accepted by August 2017.

  • Strategy: Communities use site specific data from the Positive Culture and Staff Voice Surveys to create their School or Service Department Annual Plans. In fall 2017, school and service leaders will reflect on their site-specific student and/or staff culture data. Schools will make positive culture and well-being a priority in their annual plan and will support schools to engage School Councils in planning, understanding their data and informing next steps. Beyond our student survey, we are investigating the research-based Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI), to gather more data on well-being measures of social and emotional development; physical health and well-being; connectedness; use of after-school time and school experiences. Schools and service departments will examine Staff Voice data; Executive Council will identify themes for system-level action, including a look at High Priority School culture. SOSAs will monitor through school visits and reviews of school and service department plans.
  • Strategy: Continue to engage System Leaders in equity and inclusive professional learning. HWDSB continues to engage in Deep Diversity learning, and we study its impact and application to create inclusive environments. Administrators and office staff will do this learning, helped by online modules initially focused on bias. Additional staff will take the McMaster community engagement course, focusing on anti-racism and anti-oppression. We will continue to work with students on addressing racism in schools. Part of our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation “calls to action,” administrators are learning about Indigenous history, culture, heritage and the Wampum Belt each school received. SOSAs monitor the learning using school visits and annual plan reviews.
  • Strategy: Review and implement the Mental Health Strategy. Aligned with School Mental Health Assist, our 2018-21 Mental Health Strategy will address Organizational Conditions, Capacity Building, Implementation of Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Programming, Supporting Specific Populations and Enhancing System Coordination. We merged mental health leadership with social work leadership, created a Clinical Lead position to support social workers, and are focusing on the conditions for student well-being. We are aligning inclusion, mental health, safe schools, healthy schools and student and staff well-being, in an integrated and strategic way. We will monitor progress through our Mental Health strategy.
  • Strategy: Intensive focus on positive culture and well-being in high priority schools. In our High Priority Schools Strategy, SOSAs will visit these schools more often (every two weeks) to explore their needs and monitor their progress. Staff will create a rubric based on Strong Districts to identify conditions for effective schools and guide next steps. We will focus on Safe and Orderly Environments, Collective Efficacy, Trust and Leadership. Staff are on track to have every school and department improve the number of staff and students feeling safe, supported and accepted by August 2018. In our High Priority Schools Strategy, SOSAs will visit these schools more often (every two weeks) to explore their needs and monitor their progress. Staff will create a rubric based on Strong Districts to identify conditions for effective schools and guide next steps. We will focus on Safe and Orderly Environments, Collective Efficacy, Trust and Leadership. Staff are on track to have every school and department improve the number of staff and students feeling safe, supported and accepted by August 2018.

Student Learning and Achievement

We are committed to improving student learning and achievement through effective instructional strategies.

Progress in 2016-17

Goal #1: All students reading by the end of Grade 1.

Target: At least 75 per cent of Grade 1 students achieving a B (provincial standard) or higher on their June 2017 report card.

  • Strategy: Leverage effective instructional practices on comprehensive literacy and interventions in all Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes. We expected all schools to timetable 100-120-minute literacy blocks in grades 1-8, and to infuse literacy through each kindergarten day. We implemented comprehensive literacy strategies and guided reading, as well as other early reading instructional approaches. We continued Empower Reading with struggling readers past Grade 1. However, most students were not on track for reading at standard and we saw inconsistent strategies in primary grades. We needed a different and more intensified approach.
  • Strategy: Invest in people through professional learning opportunities on comprehensive literacy strategies. We offered job-embedded, after-school and online learning and resources on comprehensive literacy. Learning had an inter disciplinary approach thanks to input from staff in Early Years, Special Education, Speech & Language, English Language Learners, French as a Second Language and Psychological Services. We provided specific Empower Reading training for Learning Resource Teachers. Superintendents monitored participation rates and school visits, finding the strategy was on track.
  • Strategy: Refine our measures of students’ reading comprehension over time. Using assessment based on teachers’ professional judgment, schools established baseline reading levels for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students. This informed the improvement strategies and targets in school plans. Progress through educator-generated evidence as well as achievement levels on report cards was reviewed regularly. After SOSA monitoring through school visits, we found that June report cards were not on track to have 75 per cent of Grade 1 students at provincial standard, suggesting the need for additional support and a revised approach.

Goal #2: Improvement in Mathematics.

Target: At least 65 per cent of students achieving at or above provincial standard as measured by 2016-17 EQAO (total number of students in grades 3, 6 and 9).

  • Strategy: Leverage effective instructional practices on comprehensive math strategies in all grades. Grades 1 to 8 classes had math blocks of at least an hour day, focusing on research-informed strategies in the province’s Renewed Math Strategy. Math concepts were also embedded in Kindergarten inquiry-based learning. In secondary grades, teacher assessments helped us focused on identifying and narrowing skill gaps for students in grades 9 and 10, especially in applied-level courses. Key areas of focus were problem solving and communicating mathematical thinking. Monitored through SOSA visits, Semester 1 reports suggested the strategy was on-track, but final results (EQAO Primary/Junior/Grade 9) indicated that it was not. EQAO results were strong for Grade 9 Academic (80%) and overall, cohorts improved in Grade 9 Applied (>30% improved from Grade 6 to Grade 9), results for Primary (Grade 3, 48%) and Junior (Grade 6, 39%) were once again substantially low.
  • Strategy: Invest in people through professional learning opportunities on math concepts, assessment, and instruction. Identified through EQAO math results, under the provincial Renewed Math Strategy, we focused additional and intensive support on some schools. Intensive support included direct support from a Math Facilitator; additional support schools received more days for educator learning and administrative coaching. Professional activity opportunities on math continued for staff, including those in our 21st Century Learning initiatives. SOSA monitoring of participation rates and through school visits found this strategy on-track.
  • Strategy: Refine our measures of students’ math progress over time. Identifying student learning strengths and gaps begins with finding a baseline, done with a variety of assessments based on teachers’ professional judgement. Result inform strategies and targets in each school’s annual plan. Regular reviews occurred of classroom evidence and report card achievement. SOSA monitored through school visits, finding interim results favourable but final results that indicated this strategy was not on track. Staff were not on target to have at least 65 per cent of students at or above provincial standard on 2016-17 EQAO (total number of students in Grades 3, 6 and 9).

Goal #3: All students graduating.

Target: At least 82 per cent of the 2012/13 cohort (staying in HWDSB) will graduate within five years (by August 2017).

  • Strategy: Leverage effective instructional practices to provide diverse opportunities to meet the needs of all students. We focused on practices blending teaching and learning in the physical and digital worlds. Our broader strategy entails initiatives found in our 21st Century Learning Report, as well as 1:1 devices for all Grade 9 students and classroom kits for grades 4 to 6, to support student learning and engagement. We worked to expand experiential learning across secondary schools. SOSA monitoring through participation rates and school visits found this strategy was on-track.
  • Strategy: Invest in people through professional learning on improved learning environments, relationships, and learning opportunities. We provided school staff and administrators opportunities to learn more about teaching and assessment using digital resources and inquiry-based learning, with a continued focus on literacy and math. Learning Services staff provided multiple resources and professional learning opportunities for those working with students in the transition years (grades 7 to 9). This promotes student engagement, programming and outreach support and helps connect each student with at least one staff. Each family of schools formed a student success/transitions network. SOSAs monitoring participation rates and school visits found this strategy was on-track.
  • Strategy: Refine our measures of students’ progress towards graduation over time. Increasing our graduation rate requires a constant eye on student progress, so we had secondary school teams use system and school information to closely monitor student progress. We focused on students in their fifth year (2012-13 cohort), using re-engagement and programming supports tailored for each student. Expanding on this, we began a pilot to define early indicators of challenges faced by students who struggle to graduate. SOSO monitoring through school visits found this strategy on track to have at least 82 per cent of the 2012-2013 cohort (staying in HWDSB) graduate within five years (by August 2017).

Action Plan for 2017-18

Goal #1: All students reading by the end of Grade 1.

Target: At least 75 per cent of Grade 1 students achieving a B (provincial standard or higher on their June 2018 report card).

  • Strategy: Review and implement the Early Reading Strategy. A precise and clearly defined Early Reading Strategy will support our system’s understanding of effective early reading approaches, including how they are delivered and by whom. The multidisciplinary Early Reading Strategy Committee will develop a formal strategy by February 2018, with working groups on related professional learning. Reading Specialists are a key part of this strategy, and will work with K-Grade 1 students and staff, co-delivering with educators’ appropriate strategies and/or interventions for literacy. We will also develop digital tools to understand K and Grade 1 assessment results, at the school and system level. SOSAs will monitor progress with school visits (more frequently at High Priority Schools) and a review of the assessment screens and report cards.
  • Strategy: Intensive focus on early reading in High Priority Schools. Providing a Reading Specialist to High Priority Schools is a key aspect of in year one of our action plan for High Priority Schools. We will also staff a Designated Early Childhood Educator to support learning and development in all High Priority Schools Kindergarten classes. Overall, High Priority Schools will have smaller Kindergarten classrooms, all of which will see an increased opportunity to work with students, particularly those who are struggling. SOSA visits every two weeks will assess school needs and monitor progress.
  • Strategy: Implement effective comprehensive literacy practices and interventions through the continuous learning and improvement process. Comprehensive literacy programming seeks to provide students with opportunities to develop age and developmentally appropriate reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing skills. Building on the foundation of the early reading strategy, students are expected to continue to read at their grade level throughout elementary school and into secondary school. Students not reading at grade level receive supports and programming; staff can access professional learning such as the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) and an Ontario College of Teachers accredited Additional Qualification course in reading. SOSAs will monitor through school visits and report card grades for reading and writing (grades 2 to 8). Staff are on target to have at least 75 per cent of Grade 1 students achieving a B (provincial standard) or higher on their June 2018 report card.

Goal #2: Improvement in Mathematics

Target: At least 65 per cent of students achieving at or above provincial standard as measured by 2017-18 EQAO (total number of students in primary, junior and Grade 9).

  • Strategy: Review and implement the Renewed Math Strategy (RMS). A clear and focused Renewed Math Strategy (RMS) will help us implement effective math teaching and see improved student outcomes across our district. With Ministry support, we revised our math strategy to focus on two areas for improved staff understanding, instructional practice and student learning: Operational Sense (e.g. when to use addition or multiplication) and Quantity Relationships (i.e. whole number, fraction, decimals and integers). Our strategy will include a 60-minute block of math in elementary, during which learning tasks will develop conceptual and procedural understanding. For example, students will understand the concept of volume, the will practice its calculation. To support our Renewed Math Strategy, learning sessions will be held for administrators, teachers and parents. In secondary schools, the focus will be on improving student achievement in applied Grade 9 and 10 math. We will offer two Additional Qualification courses in mathematics, as well as after-school learning for teaching staff. SOSAs will monitor progress through school visits and review of the school annual plan data, targets, student learning needs, staff learning needs and professional learning plans.
  • Strategy: Intensive focus on mathematics in High Priority Schools. All but two High Priority Schools have been identified as “intense” or “increased” by the Ministry of Education through the RMS process. Intense schools have been assigned a math facilitator to work directly in classrooms with staff to implement the HWDSB-RMS. Increased schools can access the facilitator to support their work within the continuous learning and improvement process. The administrators of high priority schools are provided monthly professional learning to deepen their understanding of operational sense and quantity relationships, as well as effective instructional practices. SOSAs will monitor progress through frequent school visits.
  • Strategy: Implement effective comprehensive mathematics practices and interventions through the continuous learning and improvement process. We embed our math strategy in the Continuous Learning and Improvement (CLI) process, where teaching staff: review student work and data to identify learning needs and skills gaps; engage in professional learning to understand the instructional practices to address the learning needs and gaps; implement the instructional practices; assess the impact of the instructional practices; and, reflect on their learning, student learning, and plan for their next step. SOSAs will monitor progress through school visits and review of the school annual plan data, targets, student learning needs, staff learning needs and professional learning plans. Staff are on target to have at least 65% of students achieving at or above provincial standard as measured by 2017-18 EQAO (total number of students in Grades 3, 6 and 9).

Goal #3: All Students Graduating

Target: At least 83 per cent of the 2013-14 cohort (staying in HWDSB) will graduate within five years (by August 2018).

  • Strategy: Refine our measures of students’ progress towards graduation over time. Precise measures of student progress towards graduation allow school and system staff to better support students and analyze strategies for progress, and barriers to graduation. Our current practice of SOSAs tracking credit accumulation, community hours and Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test progress of students in their fourth and fifth year has had a positive impact. We will build on this with a data strategy, to create consistent practices and protocols for using data to identify, intervene and track student progress towards graduation. This strategy will help us define indicators of being “on track” in grades 9 to 11. SOSAs will continue to monitor students in year 4 and year 5, during their visits to secondary schools; however, as the work of the Student Information Strategy progresses, the monitoring process may include the data analytics tool and additional indicators of progress towards graduation.
  • Strategy: Identify, monitor and provide differentiated support for in-risk students. HWDSB serves a diverse community of learners with different strengths, needs, interests and post-secondary goals; therefore, it is vital to provide differentiated support to ensure that all HWDSB learners can graduate. As schools monitor and identify in-risk students, supports may be academic (e.g. timetabling or course change), or related to well-being (often supported through community partners). Our secondary schools will also work with their associate schools to create a smooth transition to Grade 9; this may entail purposeful timetabling, scheduling daily time in learning resource, identifying a caring adult, and linking students to extra- curriculars. Monthly Student Success Meetings help secondary student services staff and administrators build capacity in identifying, monitoring and supporting in-risk students. SOSAs monitor this strategy during school visits using the school’s Taking Stock report, which details the number of in-risk students in the school and the supports in place.
  • Strategy: Implement effective instructional practices and interventions through the continuous learning and improvement process. The Continuous Learning and Improvement (CLI) process uses examples of student learning to assist staff in identifying student learning needs and skill gaps, as well as the actions needed to address those gaps and needs. Secondary school departments explore their data and student learning to identify their departmental improvement efforts for the year. With 1:1 iPads for all grades 9 and 10 students, system and school staff are learning how best to leverage technology in instruction. We also provide school and system programs to fill student learning gaps, such as credit recovery for students struggling to gain credits, or programs that move to graduation students from specific populations, like Supporting Hamilton’s Aboriginal Education (SHAE) or the Young and Expectant Parent Program (YEPP). SOSAs will monitor progress through school visits and review of the school annual plan data, targets, student learning needs, staff learning needs and professional learning plans. Staff are on target to have at least 83 per cent of the 2013-2014 cohort (staying in HWDSB) graduate within five years (by August 2018).

Effective Communication

We are committed to improving our communication through comprehensive strategies.

Progress in 2016-17

Goal #1: Improve Internal Communications

Target: Develop an enhanced internal communications plan by December 2016.

  • Strategy: Establish a baseline of internal stakeholder attitudes of effective communication through the communications audit. The National School Public Relations Association completed its Communications Audit Report for HWDSB in spring, 2017. The audit report outlines the internal stakeholder attitudes of effective communication, gathering through focus groups of Elementary Teachers, Secondary Teachers, Paraprofessionals, School Support Staff, School Office Staff, Education Centre Staff, Student Leaders, Elementary Principals, Secondary Principals, Department Managers, Executive Council and the Board of Trustees.
  • Strategy: Create and implement a communications plan that reflects the recommendations of the communications audit. The communications audit was complete in the spring, 2017. As of August 2017, the audit was reviewed but the development of a communication plan was not achieved.
  • Strategy: Inventory and standardize all communication platforms so staff have access to relevant information. An inventory of communication platforms/tools is in progress. Superintendents Sue Dunlop and Jamie Nunn facilitated the inventory in 2016-17 during an ad hoc committee meeting with school administrators. This meeting included representation from administrators who had previously given advice on communications and managers from different departments. The results of the inventory will be a focus as we move forward with the development of the Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan.
  • Staff are below target to develop an enhanced internal communications plan by December 2016.

Goal #2: Improve External Communications

Target: Develop an enhanced external communications plan by June 2017.

  • Strategy: Establish a baseline of external stakeholder attitudes of effective communication through the communications audit. The communications audit was complete in spring, 2017. The report presents the external stakeholder attitudes of effective communication. The focus group sessions were approximately one hour in length and were held November 7-8, 2016, with the following: Parents/School Council Representatives, Parents, Community, Partners, and Board Advisory Committee Representatives.
  • Strategy: Develop communications and an awareness campaign for the new Strategic Directions. HWDSB Reimagined was launched on August 30, 2016. A series of tactics were created without a formal communications plan. The plan included a video, a refresh on the visual identity, a one-pager handout, a poster, media, and social media. The development of an enhanced HWDSB Reimagined communication plan is in progress under the leadership of the new Manager of Communications and Community Engagement.
  • Strategy: Invest in people by developing comprehensive professional learning opportunities to help educators improve their communications to parents about what their children are learning. A survey was administered to principals and service leaders in November 2016 to identify priority areas for communication-related training. There were more than 100 leaders who responded. The data from the survey was used to develop topics for the Summer Institute and will be considered as part of the development of the Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan.
  • Strategy: Continue to pilot portal through The Hub so parents and students have access to relevant information. Parent Place in The Hub was piloted during phase one in one secondary and one elementary school in 2015-16. The Parent Portal allows parents to view attendance, timetable and report card data as well as other school-based information such as morning announcements, Twitter posts and school events. Parents can also access links to School Cash Online, Parent-Teacher Interview scheduling, and Transportation. During the 2016-17 school year, Parent Place was opened to all secondary schools. Raising the profile of Parent Place will be included in the development of the 2017-18 Strategic Communications and Engagement Plan.
  • Staff are below target to develop an enhanced external communications plan by June 2017.

Action Plan for 2017-18

Goal: Improve internal and external communications.

Target: Implement a research-based strategic communication and engagement plan based on the recommendations of the Communication Audit

  • Strategy: Restructure the roles and responsibilities of the Communications and Community Engagement Team to align work with the Board’s five Reimagined priorities. This strategy is based on recommendation No. 4 in the communications audit. The following items were identified as Action Steps within this recommendation and will be explored in 2017-18:
    • Focus on HWDSB’s strategic priorities and proactive response, prioritize internal over external communications and develop clear systems and process for communications efforts.
    • Create the position of Manager of Communications and Community Engagement for communications that assures communication research, planning, implementation and evaluation is a proactive and critical consideration in all leadership decisions.
    • Develop and communicate a process and procedures for internal staff on accessing and using Corporate Communications department services.
    • Transition from acting as a fulfillment department for internal requests to one that proactively shapes the strategic communication priorities of the Board and equips employees to be effective communicators and ambassadors for HWDSB.
    • Turn a critical eye on communication tasks and ask questions.
    • Evaluate and track time on task.
  • Strategy: Review and systemically implement communication systems. This strategy is based on recommendation No. 5 in the communications audit. The following items were identified as Action Steps within this recommendation and will be explored in 2017-18:
    • Make frontline, school-based communication supports a top priority.
    • “Close the loop” on communication.
    • Develop an e-news update for HWDSB employees.
    • Revamp and rethink the Friday Memo.
    • Use employee orientation sessions to remind staff of their communication role.
    • Include school and department frontline staff in the communication loop.
    • Provide communication training and add effective communication to the evaluation process for principals and administrators.
  • Strategy: Develop and implement an integrated digital engagement strategy. This strategy is based on recommendation No. 5 in the communications audit. The following items were identified as Action Steps within this recommendation and will be explored in 2017-18:
    • Create formal, multi-disciplinary governance for all internal and external web-based projects.
    • Develop a promotional plan for HWDSB website, school websites and social media.
    • Enhance HWDSB social media presence to engage and interact with audiences.
    • Use interactive, dynamic content and functionality, and multimedia to engage users.
    • Investigate the possibility of implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support digital communication and relationship building.

Evaluation: The Communications and Community Engagement department, in collaboration with the Research and Analytics (EBEST) department, will use an evaluation framework to determine that our efforts resulted in improvement. The evaluation framework will provide evidence to demonstrate a clear connection between what we did, if we enhanced communication for all stakeholders, and if the HWDSB community is better off due to our efforts. Monitoring and evaluation activities will include, but are not limited to surveys, focus groups, output objectives, outcome objectives and social media analytics.

  • Staff are on target to implement a research-based strategic communication and engagement plan based on the recommendations of the communications audit.

School Renewal

We are committed to optimizing opportunities to invest in improved school facilities.

Progress in 2016-17

Goal: Improve the condition of our schools.

Target: At least 25 per cent fewer schools will be identified as being in poor condition by 2020.

  • Strategy: Develop and implement facility benchmarks for elementary and secondary schools with periodic reviews. In April 2016, our Board approved the multi-year capital strategy framework that allocated funding for secondary and elementary facility benchmarks. It allocated annual spending on facility benchmarks of $11 million for secondary schools and $11 million for elementary schools and elementary program strategy capital costs. Our approved Elementary Program Strategy recommends the following facility benchmarks: gymnasiums, gym floors, learning commons, playfields, science rooms and visual arts rooms. Capital projects related to facility benchmarks are included in quarterly capital updates presented to our Finance and Facilities Committee.
  • Strategy: Ensure all new school builds, additions and renovations meet the facility benchmarks established by the Board. HWDSB has received Ministry approval for six new school builds and is ensuring that each one meets the facility benchmarks established by the Board. These projects include our New North and Nora F. Henderson secondary schools, and new Beverly Central, Greensville, Summit Hill and Eastdale elementary schools.
  • Strategy: Following an Accommodation Review, perform feasibility studies for schools remaining open to determine the needs and costs related to the facility benchmarks established by the Board to inform a plan. All our secondary schools have been through an accommodation review and, where required, we have done feasibility studies to find the costs and timelines of work to achieve secondary facility benchmarks. (This informed our benchmark matrix.) For elementary schools that have been through an accommodation review, feasibility studies will be performed for the gym expansions where required, to help inform timelines and budget in our benchmark strategy.
  • Strategy: Recommend options that address high and urgent needs through the Accommodation Review process. In 2016-17, accommodation reviews in Ancaster and West Hamilton City presented their committees with Facility Condition Index (FCI) data for area schools and considered FCI as a factor in decision making. The final decision for the Ancaster accommodation review includes the rebuilding of C.H. Bray and Rousseau, schools that had FCIs of 131 per cent and 68 per cent respectively. Staff are on target to Align the Long Term Facilities Master Plan with the Elementary and Secondary Program Strategies based on the determined facilities benchmarks and available budget by June 2017.
  • Strategy: Prepare an annual facilities renewal plan that equitably addresses the high and urgent needs of all elementary and secondary schools. The Board’s Multi-Year capital plan includes $8 million annually for school renewal. Each year, Board staff prepare a plan to address high and urgent needs with this amount. In 2016, the Ministry announced additional funding for 2015-16 and 2016-17 to address the significant backlog in school renewal needs. Board staff has also incorporated this funding into its renewal plan. The high dollar renewal work is included in the quarterly capital monitoring reports provided to Trustees.
  • Strategy: Update to Long Term Facilities Master Plan to include an annual repairs and maintenance plan that reduces the future renewal needs of all elementary and secondary schools. HWDSB allocates $3.5 million of its annual operating budget for repairs and maintenance. Annually Board staff plans for the use of this budget. The regular repairs and maintenance of Board assets is part of the long-term strategy of maintaining these assets at the standard determined by the Board. It is the intension of staff that a plan will be incorporated into the Long-Term Facilities Master Plan.
  • Strategy: Work with municipal partners to ensure the Board can proceed with the capital projects for which funding has already been received. All major capital projects require municipal approvals. These approvals include Site Plan Approvals and Building Permits. In the past, these approvals have been time consuming and have resulted in delayed timelines for Board capital projects. Board staff and trustees have been working with city staff and councillors to ensure that the Board receives timely approvals. This includes regular meetings between Board and city staff, meetings with Trustees and Councillors regarding specific projects and identifying any keeping the city up to date on capital projects being undertaken by the Board at the City-Board Relations Meetings.
  • Strategy: Following the Accommodation Review process, submit business cases for School Consolidation Capital funding when appropriate. On June 6, 2016, the Board approved the accommodation review recommendations for East Hamilton City 2 and Lower Stoney Creek. After submissions, a Ministry announcement in June 2017 brought HWDSB a $33.5 million investment for a new 682-pupil elementary school on the Glen Brae/Glen Echo campus, a new 495-pupil elementary school on the Memorial (Stoney Creek) site and an addition to Collegiate Avenue Elementary School to accommodate 213 students.
  • Strategy: Submit business cases for Capital Priorities funding when appropriate. The Province usually requests applications for Capital Priority funding in the Spring/Summer. The criteria for capital priorities funding are: Enrolment pressures, School consolidations, Facility condition and French-language accommodation. Based on these criteria, Boards are required to submit their top eight projects. HWDSB submitted projects on July 15, 2016 and the Ministry approved Summit Hill because of enrolment pressures and Eastdale because of school consolidation. HWDSB will continue to submit business cases when applicable.
  • Staff are on target to have at least 25 per cent fewer schools in poor condition by 2020.

Action Plan for 2017-18

Goal: Improve the condition of our schools.

Target: At least 25 per cent fewer schools will be identified as being in poor condition by 2020.

  • Strategy: Implement the annual capital plan included in the Long-Term Facilities Master Plan which includes elementary and secondary facility benchmarks, school renewal and repairs and maintenance.
  • Strategy: Ensure all new school builds, additions and renovations meet the facility benchmarks established by the Board.
  • Strategy: Work with municipal partners to ensure that the Board can proceed with the capital projects for which funding has already been received.
  • Strategy: Maximize funding received from Ministry capital funding opportunities.

Partnerships

We are committed to strengthening our collaboration with new and existing community partners to enhance opportunities for students.

Progress in 2016-17

Goal #1: All parents, guardians, caregivers and families are welcome, respected and valued as partners in student learning, achievement and well-being.

Target: At least 75 per cent of parents, guardians and caregivers indicate that they have an awareness of what their children are learning in their classrooms by June 2018.

  • Strategy: Invest in people through professional learning opportunities to enable parents to participate in their child’s learning in the home and at school. Aligned to our strategic directions, we supported principal/parent engagement through a new structure, Principal Parent Engagement Leads, to identify learning needs, share practices, develop tools and support staff learning. We helped administrator work with school councils by creating a Principal Toolkit. Staff met with our Parent Involvement and Special Education Advisory committees to hear how we can share positive school news and information about math. We explored parent engagement with a targeted group of schools through our After-School Scholars Program, which highlighted the need for frequent communications with parents, so they can support their children in literacy and numeracy. We will collect more data to inform our next steps.
  • Strategy: Continue to pilot a parent portal through “The Hub” so parents and students have access to relevant information. We continued work on The Hub parent portal, so parents can go online to access student attendance and marks, and potentially teacher interaction. Piloted in all secondary schools, we are considering elementary expansion. About one quarter of 1,000 parent accounts are active and staff are working to simplify logins. We focused on identified needs, specifically supports around school council. We will explore a mobile Parent Portal application in select schools, which will streamline our safe arrival practices. Goal #1: All parents, guardians, caregivers and families are welcome, respected and valued as partners in student learning, achievement and well-being. Target: At least 75 per cent of parents, guardians and caregivers indicate that they have an awareness of what their children are learning in their classrooms by June 2018. · Strategy: Educators use a variety of approaches to communicate classroom learning to parents/guardians/caregivers. · Strategy: Enhanced focus on families to support high priority schools

Goal #2: All new and existing community partnerships will enhance opportunities for students.

Target: Increase equity of access in community partnerships supporting our two priorities of student learning and achievement and positive culture and well-being by June 2018.

  • Strategy: Launch and use a database to track, analyze and communicate effective school and system partnerships · Strategy: Enhanced focus of community partnerships to support high priority schools
  • HWDSB is not on target to have at least 75 per cent of parents feel they are aware of what their children are learning in class by August 2017. We shifted this timeline due to the need to consult with parents on staff engagement.

Action Plan for 2017-18

Goal #1: All parents, guardians, caregivers and families are welcome, respected and valued as partners in student learning, achievement and well-being.

Target: At least 75 per cent of parents, guardians and caregivers indicate that they have an awareness of what their children are learning in their classrooms by June 2018.

  • Strategy: Educators use a variety of approaches to communicate classroom learning to parents/guardians/caregivers.
  • Strategy: Enhanced focus on families to support high priority schools

Goal #2: All new and existing community partnerships will enhance opportunities for students.

Target: Increase equity of access in community partnerships supporting our two priorities of student learning and achievement and positive culture and well-being by June 2018.

  • Strategy: Launch and use a database to track, analyze and communicate effective school and system partnerships
  • Strategy: Enhanced focus of community partnerships to support high priority schools