Posts Tagged ‘Halton School Board’

Local Students Perform at Band Extravaganza

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Cassandra, Natalie, Stephanie, Taylor, Alexa, Eboni & MariaHelene

Cassandra, Natalie, Stephanie, Taylor, Alexa, Eboni & Maria Helene

The Halton District School Board invited 1200 Halton grade seven and eight instrumental students from twenty nine elementary schools and two high schools to participate in a most exciting two day Band Extravaganza.

The Halton District School Board commissioned two original concert band compositions specifically for this event; Stormchaser by David Marlatt and Pride and Valour by Ryan Meeboer. Both of these composers are well-known and respected Canadian composers of concert band music and publish with Eighth Note Music Publishers.

Ryan Meeboer is also a teacher at Alexander’s Public School in Halton. The 2 composers were on hand all day to work with the students and then conducted a performance of their compositions with the massed bands in the afternoon. These young musicians from the participating schools performed the world premiers of the compositions. The music will now be sold and distributed all over North America by Eighth Note Publications, a well known and respected Canadian music publisher.

Related: Click here to view more photos of this event.


2011 Report Card on Ontario Elementary Schools

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
St Michaels Choir School

Ontario elementary students overall have scored slightly higher in standardized tests over the past five years, with girls performing better than boys in reading and math for most schools, but there is still room for improvement in cases where children are not meeting provincial standards, according to the Fraser Institute’s 2011 annual report card.

In 2010, 30.1 per cent of exams were below the provincial standard, a modest improvement to 2006’s figure of 33 per cent. The average school rating was 6 out of 10.

“There’s always room for improvement but we’re a long way from getting an A,” says Michael Thomas, associate director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the Report Card on Ontario’s Elementary Schools 2011, in an interview with Our Kids Media.


Halton School Board bussing kids out of neighbourhoods?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Would you be interested in sending your children to a special program like French Immersion if it were offered in your walk-to neighbourhood school? Would it bother you if your children could not attend the public school closest to where you purchased your house and they had to be bussed out of the neighbourhood because the local public school is only available to those who choose special programming? If you answered yes to these questions then you need to read more because the public education system in Oakville has been dividing communities for the past 20 years with a program called Single Track French Immersion (STFI).

Many people who do not choose French Immersion or other special programs for their children often feel they should not concern themselves with how a special program is delivered e.g. single or dual track. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What people in this community often misunderstand is that, even if you don’t choose a special program, how a special program is delivered can, and does, have a substantial impact on your children regardless of which program you choose for them.

Take Forest Trail in Ward 4 as an example, this is a public school in one of the most densely populated areas in Ward 4. Many people bought homes in the area knowing a school would be built as there was a huge sign in a field that declared that it was the future home of one of Halton District School Boards schools. When the Ward 4 Trustee voted to change the plan and open this as a Single Track French Immersion school it became unavailable to anyone in the neighbourhood unless they happened to be eligible to send their children to attend the FI program. The impact: children in the neighbourhood who want access to core English programming, which the Halton District School Board is mandated to provide, no longer have access to the program at their walk-to neighbourhood school and instead have to be bussed out of the area. Meanwhile, children throughout the Ward wanting FI are bussed in from all around the Ward as the boundary for this program is five times larger than the boundary for the neighbourhood English Track school.

This result is a costly model, only available in Oakville, costly in both transportation costs (paid by the public) as there is free transportation (to the students) provided with the program and cost attributed to the accommodation of over capacity English Track schools which now have to rely on huge numbers of portables to house students who have been assigned to them. The portable usage is far higher when the single track model is utilized. The HDSB has paid in excess of $1.7 million in portable relocation per year. This delivery model also reduces access to the FI program as it is offered only in one central location and many parents are unwilling to bus their children when they have a walk-to English public school available in their neighbourhood.

This could happen at the high school level next with the planned build of West Oaks High School (becomes a STFI) or it could happen to Abbey Park High School (become a Dual Track School) unless the HDSB and Trustees change their philosophy in regard to how the FI program is delivered in Oakville. Would it bother you if the next neighbourhood public school opened as a Single Track French Immersion school available only to those who chose a special program? Would it bother you if an English Track High School (Abbey Park High School) became Dual Track necessitating the bussing of more than 50% of the neighbourhood students to another High School? Would it mean your child would have to be bussed to a high school farther away? Is this how you want your tax dollars spent by the HDSB?

The feedback from the Accommodation Review Process last year indicated that the majority in the Ward would prefer FI being delivered in dual-track schools where both French and English programming are available in a neighbourhood school, consistent with the remainder of the HDSB. The Research Report conducted by the HDSB in 2009 concluded that there was no difference between the Dual Track School and the STFI, in terms of the provision of education to students or in terms of how the students felt about the programs available at the schools or their interactions with other students attending.

Dual Track Schools allow people more choice, better access to program, reduces bussing costs significantly and also portable usage. It maintains that our neighbourhood schools remain accessible to all students wanting to attend the core English program and, if a child needs to switch back to an English program in the event they are not thriving in FI, it gives the child the ability to do so without having to leave their school and their friends and siblings.

However the community is divided. The majority of those currently in the FI program (approx 18% of our community) indicate they prefer the STFI delivery model. Despite the feedback from the community at large, our Ward 4 Trustee still voted to continue the Single Track model when Palermo opened, reflecting feedback from the FI community and with disregard to the majority of the Ward 4 constituents. Ward 4 needs a Trustee that will listen to all constituents and make choices that reflect the interests of all our children. We all need to be interested in this election. Only you can decide whether it is important to you for our Ward to retain walk-to neighbourhood schools. Let your voice be heard. Your vote, or failure to vote, will have a real impact on our schools and our children.

- Concerned Oakville Resident

Halton District School Board Trustee responds

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The Rumour Mill is active as are Politics in Oakville. There is a high school planned to open in Ward 4 on West Oak Trails Boulevard in 2012. The announcement has conjured controversy, not celebration. It is being built to accommodate the future population growth in Oakville and to relieve the overcrowding at Abbey Park High School and White Oaks Secondary School. Somehow it has become about French Immersion?

Education and trusteeship is not about French Immersion. While it is important to some Ward 4 families, it is but one issue among many more significant issues in Education and Halton. It’s time to refocus and move on to the issues that matter most, to most: The health, safety, well being and inclusivity of each and every one of our children and families; the quality of education our children receive when they arrive at school; the stability resulting from pro-active, accurate short and long term planning; fiscal responsibility; transportation, our community and Ministry cut backs and initiatives.

Don’t be fooled by ridiculous, poorly thought out rumours. To criticize a trustee or trustee candidate for soliciting feedback is ludicrous. How else might a trustee or candidate understand and represent community opinion if it has not been received?

To help you understand:

- One trustee cannot make a final decision; Decisions are made via the democratic process by eleven trustees at the board table.
- A single-track French Immersion (FI) elementary school in Halton is one that houses French Immersion students only.
- A dual-track school in Halton is an elementary school that houses both FI and English stream students.
- We do not typically refer to a high school as dual or single track.

Diversity in programming is exceptionally important for the engagement and success of many of our students. Specialization in 2010 is common and High schools provide a wide scope of program and course options throughout Oakville, Halton and Ontario. There are two main categories of courses offered to students in high school; compulsory/mandatory and elective. To graduate students must successfully complete 30 credits. See ministry link for details:

It’s no lie. I believe in specialized programming and choice; students are successful when programs are specific to their educational strengths, interests and needs. Principals offer course options based on interest and enrolment. Principals cancel courses when enrolment is insufficient. At no time will English Programming be affected at a high school containing a French immersion program. Most French Immersion students will have completed their required courses in French by grade 10, they too require choice.

Students choose to attend high school out of area to participate in specialized programs such as, Specialist High Skill Major, (SHSM), French Immersion, Apprenticeship Training, International Baccalaureate (IB) and others. These programs and courses are subjected to the same enrolment guidelines as any other course.

Oakville has a total of 821 students participating in F I programming at the Secondary School level. Those 821 students are at four schools in Oakville. We build high schools to accommodate at least 1200 students so that we can provide depth, breadth and choice to students preparing for college, university and work. To think trustees, parents of French Immersion students or staff would want to limit students to a single-track high school shows a lack of understanding.

Students need choice in education; parents want choice for their children. The Halton District School Board continues to provide challenge and choice. Be thankful.

As your trustee representative I have listened, heard and responded by finding solutions that best served all of the students and the system. Check the record! Special interest groups will always exist and do not belong at the board table. I clearly understand the opinions in this Ward. I have lived and breathed them for four years.

The fear mongering in our community has nothing to do with the public voting record of the current trustee. For your information and clarification I offer you this:

- Ecole Forest Trail was built specifically to deal with the overcrowding at Ecole Pine Grove and was designated FI before I was elected;
- I supported Palermo Public School as a single-track FI Center as a means to deal with the exceptionally high FI enrolment in Ward 4;
- many parents residing in Palermo and West of Fourth Line expressed their desire to remain at “their school”;
- information from 2006 when I was Co-Chair of Ecole Pine Grove, before trusteeship has been circulated to appear current;
- a single track French Immersion Secondary School model does not exist in Halton, it does not make sense.

Please do your research before October 25th our children count on it.

- Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead, Ward 4 Trustee Candidate and Incumbent

The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.

Responsibilities of Halton School Board Trustees

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Did you know that 24.5%1 of Oakville property taxes goes toward education?

Did you know the operating budget for the Halton Catholic District School Board is $261 million2?

Did you know the operating budget for the Halton District School Board is $490 million3? That’s more than the annual budget of the Town of Oakville.

We are about a week away from the 2010 municipal election and it is easy to say that Oakville residents may be informed about those running for Mayor and Town Council but what about those running for Halton School Board Trustees?

How much do we know about this position?

What is the School Board?

The School Board was established by the provincial legislation and is governed by public elected officials (trustees). The School Board, provides an atmosphere where students can achieve and excel, offer effective programs, have a board that can successfully implement its goals and encourage students to do the same, makes sure policies are followed. Furthermore, the board also has a hand in setting its budget, implementing the curriculum, and making sure qualified staff are hired.

The school trustees also take care of school transportation, libraries, continuing education, and childcare facilities.

School Board Trustees

Some of the responsibilities of a trustee are: to keep focus on the achievement of the students, making decisions that benefit the student body, being the voice for the public and taking what they have to say to the board and vise versa, trustees are accountable to the province and to the public they represent.

You must be at least 18 years old to be a Board Trustee, must be eligible to vote, a Canadian citizen and in some cases you must be Roman Catholic depending on the school board.

There are statutory and none statutory duties by the province. “ Statutory duties include the appointment of a trustee to various committees such as the Special Education Advisory Committee, or to board-based quasi-judicial committees such as those responsible for conducting proceedings dealing with the suspension or expulsion of students. Non-statutory obligations may include participating in ad hoc committees or working groups of the board,” as stated in the online document Making a Difference for Kids, Running for Election as School Board Trustee.

How many trustees are you voting for?

For the Halton District School Board, Ward 1&2 are acclaimed, but residents in Wards 3, 4, 5&6(together) must pick a trustee for their respective Ward.

For the Halton Catholic District School Board, residents of Oakville must vote for a total of 4 Trustees – in this case they are elected ‘at large’ and are not grouped into Wards.

So when you vote this year, be aware of what the Halton School Board Trustee’s responsibilities are and what type of budget they control before going to the polls October 25th.

1: 2009 Town of Oakville Annual Report

2: 2010-2011 HCDSB Operating Budget

3: 2010-2011 HDSB Operating Budget

The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.