We are committed to promoting, enhancing and leading the development of positive collaborations with all of our partners - students, families, employees, government, and the community. Our Board operations must align to support the success of all students and ensure the efficient and effective use of all resources while preparing for an economically and environmentally sustainable future.
Limestone’s Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) continued to organize engaging forums where educational topics and issues were explored. The PIC provides a valuable service to our school community as a support system and as an advisory group.
The Board continued to expand its use of social media to help promote two-way communication and engagement with families, educational and community partners and the public. Added to the mix of online updates this year were video messages and a blog from our new Director of Education, Debra Rantz. Both Limestone Link, a regular blog, and Learning in Limestone a weekly CKWS-TV segment, continued to provide unique insight on how parents can help their child succeed, as well as stories of the great work and innovation taking place inside and outside our classrooms.
#LDSBChat was launched in April 2016 to provide educators, as well as parent and community members, an opportunity to use Twitter as a platform for sharing ideas and practices on a variety of topics. #LDSBChat provides a relaxed atmosphere where colleagues can share ideas and talk about strategies on subjects such as coding, global citizenship, and community building, to name a few.
Trustees of the Limestone District School Board approved a budget for the 2015-2016 school year which included total expenses of $251,680,063. The balanced budget directs resources in a manner that support the priorities, values and objectives of the Board, as outlined in its Strategic Plan. Highlights of the budget include classroom technology and training to support student achievement; maintaining professional learning for educators to support growth and capacity building in areas such as; mathematics, literacy, French, early years, inquiry-based learning, Aboriginal education, and special education.
Enhancing Special Education services
In February 2016, the LDSB invited a variety of diverse stakeholders, including elementary and secondary students, parents, guardians, community partners, staff, trustees, federation partners and neighbouring school boards to provide input and feedback in order to develop a comprehensive vision for special education over the next several years. This work was led by the Board’s Educational Services Leadership Team.
The purpose of the review was to ensure our special education programs, services, supports and resources continue to meet the changing needs of all of our students; we are making the best use of all of our resources; and we continue to serve students with special education needs within a creative, supportive and inclusive environment. The review findings provided recommendations on how we can continue to enhance special education services for all students. Building Our Vision for the Future - Enhancing Special Education Services in Our District provides a comprehensive vision and road map for special education services within the Board over the next several years. The Educational Services Team will regularly monitor progress of the initiatives and will report these results in November 2016, March 2017 and June 2017 to the Special Education Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustees.
Additional energy management and accessibility features for capital projects were implemented across the district as part of ongoing energy audit recommendations. This work included upgraded heating/ventilation equipment, LED lighting projects, windows, and controls upgrades over heating systems. The Board invested $6.6 million of School Condition Improvement funding in capital projects during 2015-2016 to maintain safe learning environments; an increase of $3.4 million over last year.
New school construction
Students, staff, Board officials, Trustees and members of provincial and municipal government gathered for a ceremonial ground breaking in October 2015 to celebrate construction of the new Molly Brant Elementary School. Students and their families continued to participate in several school-based and community opportunities to build positive relationships in anticipation of the school’s opening in September 2016. One example is Roots, Grow, Blossoms, a year-long collaborative art and garden project.
The Board approved the draft design concept for the new intermediate and secondary school in December 2015. The design required that the existing Queen Elizabeth Collegiate & Vocational Institute (QECVI) building be demolished at the end of the 2015-2016 school year to allow for construction to begin. The Ministry of Education has provided the Board with $36 million for the project. To facilitate the demolition of QECVI, students were relocated to either Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute (KCVI) or Loyalist Collegiate & Vocational Institute (LCVI) for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
Trustees unanimously approved a partnership arrangement with the City of Kingston and the Kingston Frontenac Public Library Board to construct community meeting room and kiosk spaces within the new intermediate and secondary school. The City will in turn make improvements and upgrades to Chaplain Park for purposes of school play space as well as an area for potential future community gardens. Based on current timelines, the new school could be completed and opened for the 2018-2019 school year.
All schools across the district participated in a variety of energy management and energy saving initiatives including the expansion of recycling programs that promote student leadership and stewardship. The Kingston Transit Student Bus Pass has grown over the last three years, from being offered to Grade 9 students, to now being offered to all high school students in Kingston and Amherstview. Trips by high school students have increased by 118% this year, and staff project the total ridership for all high school students will reach 500,000 trips.
The Great Lake Water Festival
Grade 4 students are learning about one of our greatest resources - the watersheds – through this one-day interactive event. Students rotate through a number of activity stations, gaining new knowledge on water conservation and protection, water health and safety, water science and technology, water and society, and indigenous water teachings. Activity centres are led by expert staff and volunteers from a number of organizations.
BSS from seed to table
Teachers Julie Cameron and Garth Alexander of the Baking and Business Entrepreneurship Programteach students how to plan, plant, maintain and harvest a three-season garden. The harvest is regularly incorporated into the school’s hot lunch program, which the students prepare and serve. Even in
December, they’re harvesting winter-hearty kale.
How do we make art in order to express our thoughts and feelings. Does art influence us? Grade 5 students spent a week in pursuit of the answers at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre with Beyond Classrooms-Kingston, a program that moves teachers and their classrooms into community museums, art galleries and community sites for an entire week.
Molly Brant Thunder
The New School Integration Committee revealed the new Molly Brant Elementary School and mascot logos in the spring of 2016. The logos reflect the work of both the Integration Committee and students from both First Avenue and Frontenac Public Schools. The new school colours are lime green, charcoal grey and white and the new school mascot is the Thunder. The decisions around school colour and mascot are important steps in starting to shape the new school’s identity and culture.
Focus with the Fronts
Focus with the Fronts is a showcase of the expanded learning opportunities available to secondary students. LDSB Apprenticeship and Skilled Trades programs were on display in the concourse of the Rogers K-Rock Centre during a home game of the Kingston Frontenacs. At intermissions, students and families visited with LDSB staff and community partners to learn more about the almost 30 Focus programs and expanded opportunities offered to secondary students.
Parents Reaching Out
Ontario’s PRO Grants support parent engagement and involvement in their children’s achievement and well-being. This year, forums focused on adolescent brain development and the importance of the parent-teen connection with Dr. Jean Clinton; the importance of reading with Métis author and literacy advocate David Bouchard; and Involving Parents in the Process of Learning in a Technological Age, with George Couros, a leading educator, who shared with parents how social media provides an opportunity for them to have meaningful engagement in the learning of their child.
Crystal Ball Gala
The Crystal Ball Gala offered 62 students from 20 different schools mentorships with 45 accomplished professionals: life-enriching experiences in the fields of music, visual arts, interior design, fashion design, jewelry design, set design, journalism, web, TV and radio broadcasting, architectural design and construction. As well, for the first-time, an encore
presentation of the musical mentorships was performed at Stages Nightclub the following day. The black-tie fundraiser raised an unprecedented $170,000 for future learning opportunities funded by the Limestone Learning Foundation.