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2018-2019 ANNUAL DIRECTOR'S REPORT

It is a privilege serving the students, staff and families of the Superior North Catholic District School Board. This annual report provides a brief look at the work and experiences that take place in our schools. It is a reflection not just of our core focus on students but our teachers, senior administration, department managers, trustees, volunteers, families, parish and all our staff that support our student's success.

We are called to be an inclusive and equitable community who promote academic success, well-being, Indigenous culture, leadership and focus on the future. Our upcoming strategic plan Re-Imagine Learning serves to guide us in our board's journey in faith and justice through Catholic Social Teachings.

We are fortunate to belong to such a supportive community which trusts us with educating children in partnership with primary educators – parents. I am part of a strong team, who strive for excellence and compassion in our mission. Our commitment to our students is at the core of what we do.

Thanks to all our stakeholders in helping put our kids first.

Yours in Catholic Education,

Maria Vasanelli, Director of Education

STUDENT LEARNING

Student Achievement and Success is at the core of all professional development and decisions. This year, all Professional Development targeted all the adults that work closely with students in order to continue to bring the learning to the students’ desk.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Faith and justice are integrated into all we do. Curriculum, leadership, and strategies are based on Jesus’ teachings and Catholic Social Teachings. Catholic Education Week was an opportunity to celebrate and highlight who we are as a Catholic school board.

Our faith is also celebrated during many events such as various Catholic Calendar events, students’ sacraments, Net Retreat, Schools monthly Masses and our yearly Faith Day development.

The importance of adult faith formation is key to our students’ understanding of faith. We continue to work in this area by providing more opportunities for teachers and principals.

MENTAL HEALTH & WELL-BEING

The 2018-19 Mental Health one-year plan focused on relationship building within the board and with parents, families, external partners, organizations and community members. We engaged both staff and students in promoting mental health and well-being throughout the academic year.

Some highlights include:
  • The use of evidence based programming within our schools such as Zones of Regulation, the Second Step Program, and Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) School Based Program.
  • Our schools participated in Mental Health Promotion and Awareness events such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, Anti-bully Day, and Child Abuse Prevention Day.
  • A mental health champion team was established within the board.
  • Every school within the board was engaged in a mental health promotion event during Mental Health Week and Catholic Education Week. In some of our schools the activities were entirely planned and facilitated by the students, promoting not only optimal engagements but also leadership opportunities.
  • Professional development opportunities were held such as consultations with child psychologists and child psychiatrists, training in Behaviour Management Systems and Strength Based Resilience Program for students in grade 7/8, Zones of Regulation Live webinar, Face to Face consultation with Dr. Cheng and The Third Path.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

In 2018-2019, all nine of our SNCDSB schools had the opportunity to engage in authentic experiential learning opportunities. Through community partnerships, our students are benefiting from these various opportunities for hands-on learning. On-going projects include opportunities such as creating and placing interpretive signs for community snowshoe and hiking trails that identify plants and animals in their Ojibwe names and traditional uses, study of flight with a college, university and flight field visit, field trips to Pioneer Village and Fort William Historical Park to learn about the way of life early Canadians lived and skiing at Mount Baldy to promote healthy and active living.

INDIGENOUS EDUCATION

SNCDSB continues to focus on learning and experiencing Indigenous history, culture and traditions.Throughout the year, schools brought in community presenters and held school/classroom activities to recognize and celebrate important dates like Treaty Week, National Indigenous Peoples Day and Orange Shirt day. Communities in our district helped support our schools in this learning by offering presenters, purchasing resources or offering learning within the community.

Grade 7/8 youth participated in engagement sessions held at Geraldton Composite High School in the spring and Marathon High School in the fall to help build student confidence and leadership skills. Students also had the opportunity to visit their future high school and meet future classmates from the other elementary schools (Public, Catholic and First Nations schools).

Professional Development for SNCDSB staff is ongoing. Sessions have included We Are All Treaty People - Kelly Crawford, Stolen Lives - Residential Schools, Truth & Reconciliation in Canadian School and Webinars with Dr. Pamela Toulouse and a Boardwide Indigenous Education Professional Development Day for all staff that included learning on Métis Nation of Ontario, Kairos Blanket Exercise, Treaties, Indigenous Math, Pow Wow, Woodland Art, Land-Based Education, Plant & Natural Medicines to name a few.

Professional Development with our Indigenous Community Partners, such as Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Matawa Education and Kinoomaadziwin Education Body, offered SNCDSB staff sessions on Indigenous education best practices, Native Language, resource sharing and learning.

We are so fortunate to have wonderful communities in our SNCDSB area including Red Rock Indian Band, Pays Plat First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Flying Post First Nation, Aroland First Nation, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg and Superior Greenstone District School Board High Schools to support our journey of learning!

Our schools have been invited to many community events such as Biigtigong Youth and Community Gathering (in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg), Fall Harvests, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Pays Plat First Nation - Start of School BBQ, High School Pow Wows, Spring Harvests and more.

Indigenous Education Advisory Committee

The focus of the Superior North Catholic District School Boards' Indigenous Education Advisory Committee is to increase all student and staff awareness, knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture, history, contributions and perspectives.

Our committee met several times throughout the school year and continues to build and strengthen meaningful partnerships between SNCDSB and our Indigenous communities and organizations as well as improve academic outcomes and wellbeing for SNCDSB Indigenous students.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

EARLY YEARS

Each of the Kindergarten programs at SNCDSB provides a learning environment in which four and five-year-olds establish a strong foundation of inquiry, critical thinking, and literacy and numeracy skills to begin their path as lifelong learners in our system. Students in our Full-Day Kindergarten classrooms are engaged as learners, immersed in the latest technology, and cared for by dedicated, caring, compassionate and loving professionals.

All Kindergarten educators continued to participate in learning sessions during the 2018-2019 school year to learn about the Pedagogical Approaches to learning in Kindergarten and together they have further explored and developed their understanding of the four frames of the Kindergarten Program. Using classroom videos, we practiced noticing and naming student learning based on the overall expectations in the Kindergarten document. This was done in partnership with OISIE within the University of Toronto with a researcher from their NOW Play project that grounded the focus in "Oral Language Assessment and Teaching Practices in Kindergarten".

Our educators have worked collaboratively to develop programs which foster children’s natural curiosity, often allowing students to direct the learning in their areas of interest, using authentic, hands-on learning opportunities. Our various geographic locations provide our youngest learners with many opportunities to explore the natural environment as an extension of the classroom. Many programs now work in partnership with other educators within the school to create and develop Outdoor Classrooms grounded in experiential learning opportunities.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Our approach to Special Education programs and services is based on the principle of meeting students' needs within the most supportive environment. We actively promote the goal of inclusive education. Inclusion means that students with special needs fully participate in the life of the school community alongside their peers. Our educators work closely with one another and parents to provide the appropriate support for each child. We continue to develop our understanding of and ability to use the Learning for All document to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our students in an environment that is designed to make the curriculum accessible to all.

SNCDSB was pleased to have three schools take part in the After School Skills Development Program during the 2018-2019 school year. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, St. Martin Catholic School and St. Hilary Catholic School all had an “Awesome Afternoon” program four days a week following the dismissal bell. This program offered elementary school-aged students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) an opportunity to engage in activities that focussed on building relationships and social skills alongside their typically developing peers. The integration of physical education, technology, and the arts were all key elements of these successful programs.

The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) continues to be very active and has focused on supporting families and schools in developing an understanding of the various resources available to them and their children within each of our local communities. New resources and recruitment brochures were created for SEAC and were provided to each school and family, and the board is proud to report that the committee is represented by all regional community partners.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT

The Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (CPIC) met four times during the year through teleconference. The teleconference model was requested last year by the Chair of the committee and was supported by all members. The teleconference meeting model was chosen in order to encourage parents’ attendance at the meetings.

Many presentations and information about students’ success and well-being, programming, Board initiatives and policies were shared with our parents during the meetings.

MATH MATTERS

Much effort and focus are put on school-based math training. Teachers, early childhood educators, and educational assistants participated in our annual Achieving Excellence Math PD Day. The introduction of the Prime program to our staff and how to link it to the other programs that are currently utilized in the schools was shared. The program by Nelson Education is researched, developed and validated in Canada. It produces measurable and significant improvement in teacher understanding and student performance.

We provided a survey for staff to complete at the end of the Math PD day in order to get their feedback about the day and future suggestions. The feedback received was positive and the staff provided us with many suggestions that the Math Team will take into consideration.

ADDITIONAL SCHOOL BASED TRAINING:

  • PLC Supports: Despite the geographical challenges we have successfully managed to have a Math Facilitator at most, if not all, of the Professional Learning Communities this year. This has allowed teachers to arrange classroom supports on the spot as learning is taking place.
  • Daily Teaching Supports: One of the Math Facilitators’ primary roles this year has been to offer frequent and rich co-teaching, co-planning, and modeled teaching support for all teachers.
  • Balanced Math Presentations: We continue to work towards our goal of board-wide implementation of a Balanced Math Program
  • IXL Math Online: SNCDSB introduced IXL Math to teachers as part of a balanced math block using technology integration. This online resource has also been made available to all families at home.
  • New Teacher Resources & Opportunities: OAME conference, Nelson Math, Prime Training, Math PD day

FINANCIALS

During the 2018-2019 School Year, we completed our Board office expansion which is attached to the St. Martin Catholic School in Terrace Bay, Ontario. Due to the required changes set out by the Accessibility Act, businesses and public sector organizations must be accessible to all and modernization is required for compliance and safety. Our office is now fully accessible to all members of the North Shore Communities.

Superior North Catholic School Board is proud to be an integral part of the North Shore and will always strive to better serve our schools.

The Superior North Catholic District School Board is a separate school board that has nine Catholic elementary schools in the communities of Longlac, Geraldton, Nakina, Red Rock, Nipigon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Marathon and Manitouwadge with a student population of 655 students - JK to Grade 8.

SNCDSB has 201 Permanent Employees and 145 Casual Employees who are dedicated to supporting each student in achieving excellence in academics, arts, athletics and well being.

"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."