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Message from the Board Chair
Message from the Board Chair

CorrieMcbain-small.jpgApril 4, 2019

Dear Families,

The Ontario government has made a number of announcements that will affect how publicly funded education is delivered in this province and in our board. This includes changes to class sizes, curriculum and Board budgets.

We recognize that you may have questions about what these changes may mean for your children and your family. While we do not have all the answers, we do know that this will have an effect on our Board.
 

On March 15, Ontario’s Minister of Education announced proposed changes to public education. At this time, Boards have not received additional details on the implementation of these proposals. The Ministry continues to consult with specific groups until May 31.

Our staff members are currently reviewing the province’s proposals and working to ensure that changes will be implemented in a way that best reflects the needs of our students. 

Cellphones

The proposed cellphone ban reflects our current practice and appropriate use of technology policy, which relies on teachers to make decisions based on classroom instruction. 

Curriculum Changes

The announcement includes changes to math; health and physical education; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); financial literacy; skilled trades; and Indigenous education. The government has announced that further details on some of these curriculum changes will be available in late May.

E-Learning

The provincial government introduced the requirement for students to take at least four e-learning courses at the secondary level beginning in 2020-2021. Students and their families will have many questions about the implementation of this requirement and how it may affect their post-secondary pathways. The provincial government has not yet released implementation details, however, please be assured that we will communicate this information as soon as we receive it. 

Process Reviews

Teacher hiring processes and the Education Quality and Accountability Office were also proposed to be reviewed. We are waiting for details of these reviews and look forward to providing input on how both can improve education delivery.

Changes to Class Sizes

The announcement regarding class size changes, particularly at the secondary level, will be most deeply felt by our system and students across the province. The proposal increases class sizes in Grades 4-8 by an average of one student and in Grades 9-12 from an average of 22 students to 28 students per class. Our current understanding of the proposed secondary class size numbers indicates a substantial reduction in teaching positions serving students in our system. We are currently projecting a reduction of approximately 300 secondary school teaching positions, phased in over four years.
 
On March 6, our Board took a strong position to outline the potential implications related to the proposed changes in funding for the Ontario Autism Program. Since then, the provincial government listened to the voices of concerned parents and service providers and delayed the implementation of their changes and will begin consultation on the matter in the coming weeks.  As we have already demonstrated, it is our intent to strongly advocate for the educational needs of our students and their families and we will do so in this case as well. As we finalize our review of how this will directly affect learning and well-being, we will providing a thorough response to the provincial government on behalf of the students and families of York Region District School Board.
As always, we remain committed to sharing as much information as we can.
 
Sincerely,
 
Corrie McBain
Board Chair
         
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