March 29-April 1

Thought of the Week:   Finishing Strong

I found the following questions on Twitter and thought that they were worth reflecting on as we head into the final months of school. Please take some time to think about the answers to them!

  1.  Justin Tarte says to finish strong, we should try something new we’ve never done before.  What would you like to try to finish this year?
  2. How is reflection a part of your recharging?  How do you reflect to improve your practice? What role does blogging play in this?
  3. What is your personal passion?  How are you using it to recharge for a strong finish this year?
  4. What goals have you set for yourself and your classroom/building for the last two months?  What resources are you going to use?
  5. How are you going to prepare for next year during these last two month? What does this plan look like? 

The final question is especially important. Although we are all incredibly busy, we need to begin to reflect on the data that we have collected this year. The analysis of this data will help us to begin to envision next year, and thus, to begin to work with staff to help them to begin thinking as well.  What will the coordinated plan be to respond to the challenges faced this year? If we don’t engage in this reflection, our frustrations will grow again next year as we face the same challenges as this year!!


Health and Safety Reminders:    Scent Safe Workplace 

The Superior Greenstone District School Board, as an employer, has a duty to accommodate employees who may be adversely affected or suffer a severe medical reaction when exposed to a fragrance or scented product. Principals/managers have a responsibility to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to make the working environment safe for those with chemical sensitivities in the same manner that any other health issue or safety hazard is addressed.

Section 17 of the Ontario Human Rights Code creates an obligation to accommodate, specifically under the ground of disability. The Board is legally obliged to accommodate employees with a disability to the point of undue hardship. (Human Rights Code, 1990).

Exposure to fragrances/scents found in personal care products, cleaning products, perfume/cologne, and construction and maintenance products, can create significant health problems in susceptible individuals including asthma attacks, migraine headaches, severe allergic reactions, inability to concentrate, loss of coordination, loss of conscious-ness, or seizures.

Principals/Vice-Principals are responsible for initiating the informal process when notified by an employee, either verbally or in writing, of a concern related to scents/ fragrances and/or construction and maintenance products. See SGDSB Scent Safe Workplace Guideline on the SGDSB Website under Health and Safety.


EQAO – be sure to visit the EQAO site to download the Administration Guide. It answers many questions that we may have and addresses any changes to EQAO that we need to know about. Remember that the site has the parent letters and many tools for you to use as you communicate and prepare for this assessment opportunity.  Remember, we need to ensure that the conditions have been met for our students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

Office 365 and Google – Please do remember that Office 365 is replacing the current version of Office that we are using, thus, although we are going to be learning a new program, we will still only be navigating between the updated version of Office and Google – not much will change.

OAME Web Conference – once again this year we will be able to participate virtually in some aspects of OAME.   Please see the following link and let Kathleen know if you wish to participate – this should be done in hubs and we will have to arrange with administrators as to who would like to host, etc.

(Then choose the e-conference menu from the top for more information on the speakers and the sessions we could choose from)

Carried Over from Last Week

April 22 PD Day – The following is a draft outline of this PD Day:

9:00-10:00 Whole Board/all staff teleconference regarding the EA Handbook

10:00-3:00  Elementary Schools – Teachers/EAs/Admins are working on the implementation of their School Learning Plans, with particular emphasis on Numeracy.  All Numeracy PLCs must meet and continue with their work.

  • Please ensure that your EAs understand that it is necessary that they be involved in this work to increasingly support students in the classrooms.
  • Please ensure that you have a section of your agenda that has all staff engaged in Making the Connection to the BLPSA Theory of Action. It is vital that we are continuously making this connection so that our staff see the relevance of their learning on PD Days.  The Theory of Action google presentation can be accessed through the Board Learning Plan Google Folder – it will provide you with some help!

Child and Youth Workers may be meeting with Suzanne and the Attendance Counselors to support the positive attendance work.

Library Techs – please work with your Library Techs to determine site specific PD that they require.

Secretaries – Erica is hoping to have Trillium Training for these individuals. Stay tuned.

Special Education Teachers – these individuals are valuable resources at the Math PLC table. Their lens is the students with needs lens – they can be supporting the learning by bringing that perspective to the table, engaging in further research to support the strategies that are being explored, etc.

Your PD DAY agendas should be posted to your VLE site (or Google site) no later than April 18.

Elementary Principal PD Session – We will come together on April 29th (which happens to be Principal’s Day)  at GOPS from 9:00-3:30. The morning portion of the day will involve us working with Pearson – we are seeking your input into the Action Plan that must be developed in response to the data that Pearson collected.  Our 5 Aspiring Leaders will be joining us for the morning portion of the day. The afternoon portion will involve a review of the Staff Meeting Success Criteria (you will be applying this criteria to one of your agendas, and we will finally have Kellie and Will share their agendas for us), we will engage in the Education Law case study from KPDSB regarding exclusion, we will unpack Belonging in a deeper way, Kellie will share her math  PLC tracking and record keeping, and we will have various operational items (please send them) including TIC, Ombudsman Role, travel to PD, etc.

BLPSA Self-Assessment – Please remember that the deadline for diagnostic self-assessment data entry  is March 31.  I will be publishing this data (board data) in the Director’s Newsletter for April.  I will be asking each of you to share how you have communicated the WHY to your staff – why are we engaging in this work?  Helping your staff to see the purpose of this work is an important part of your role as school leaders. In addition, how are you making the success criteria come to life in your school? How are you embedding it into your School Learning Plan? One best practice to share is to embed some of the success criteria into your SLP success criteria!

Everybody Matters Week April 11-15 (Neurodiversity Day is April 15) – our 2016 theme is WE BELONG! More to come from George, however there will be a week long Activity BINGO for schools to engage in during is week. Remember, Neurodiversity day culminates that week on Friday, April 15.

Capturewe belong

Education Week – May 2-6 is Education Week and the  theme this year is “Achieving Excellence: Promoting Well-Being”.  What are your school plans? Remember that Dave appreciates being sent the plans ahead of time so that he can speak to them on the radio. Also, remember to take photos for the Director’s Newsletter!

Nicki’s Schedule


Tuesday – George Couros Session at St.Hillary School, 3:30 Everybody Matters Teleconference, 4:00 Meeting with Cathy

Wednesday – EY Book Study in am, Meeting with Will in pm, 3:30 Aspiring Leaders Teleconference

Thursday – Travel to Nakina (PLC)

Friday – PLC at RRPS


Upcoming Dates


March 29 – George Couros Session (Stacey)

March 30 – Early Years Book Study 9:00-11:30

March 31 – Before and After School Care Survey Results entered onto the Google Doc

March 31 – BLPSA Self Assessment Results entered on Google Form

March 31 – Before and After School Care Survey results posted to Google Form by secretaries

April 4 – Leads’ Meeting

April 5 – Meeting for Regional Planning Teams regarding Dr. Jean Clinton event (7:00)

April 5 – Board Policy Review Meeting at 7:00 pm

April 6 – Labour Management Meeting (please send items to Annick)

April 8 – Principal Policy Meeting (2:00-3:00) confirm attendance by April 4

April 10-15 -Everybody Matters Week Celebration

April 10- NTIP Steering Committee Meeting (9:00-10:30)

April 15 – Neurodiversity Day Celebration

April 16 and 17 – GAFE Summit for those involved

April 18 – PD Day Agendas due to your VLE/Google site

April 18 – Board Meeting

April 19 – Director’s Update

April 20 – EY Book Study 12:30-3:00

April 21 – Office 365 Training Session (location TBD)

April 22 – PD Day and Earth  Day

April 27 – Primary Math PLC

April 27 – Administrative Professionals’ Day

April 28 – Junior Math PLC

April 29 – Elementary Principal Meeting at GOPS 9:00-3:30

May 2-5 – Education Week – “Achieving Excellence: Promoting Well-Being”

May 5 – Staff Appreciation Day

May 20 – All Inquiry/PLC release days completed

June 10 – all Teacher Performance Appraisals are complete and signed off on (and sent to the Board Office).

June 15 – Fair Start Completed

June 21 – National Aboriginal Day

June 28 – School Learning Plan Evaluations Due to NMC (with school team input!!)

Learning Fair Celebration Dates – The Elementary Learning Celebration Fair will take place on Friday, May 27, 2016 at GOPS.


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