advocacy and action

Fast Report: December 16, 2011 | Vol. 23, No. 33

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Public Education Symposium, January 26 — 28, 2012

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Amanda Lang, Keynote Speaker

January 26 — 28, 2012
In partnership with ACÉPO
Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto

Dr. Debra Pepler

Dr. Pepler's research has changed the way we think about bullying, aggression and other forms of violence.  Her major focus is on aggression and victimization among children and adolescents, particularly in the school context.

Don't miss Dr. Pepler's presentation:  9:45 a.m. Saturday, January 28, 2012.


Reminder:   HOTEL CUT-OFF DATE  is Friday, January 6, 2012


REGISTER NOW for the Public Education Symposium!

Pre-Symposium - Thursday, January 26: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Main Symposium - Thursday, January 26: 7:00 p.m. to Saturday, January  28, 12:00 noon


KEYNOTE SPEAKER - Friday morning


Gemini-award winning business journalist Amanda Lang is CBC’s senior business correspondent, reporting for its flagship nightly news program, The National.  She is also  co-host of The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, a daily business program airing on CBC News Network.

See Amanda Lang in action. 


PRE-SYMPOSIUM:  Thursday, January 26,  9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


The expertise you bring to the role of Chair of the Board or of a Board Committee has a profound impact on the governance effectiveness of the Board.

This interactive full day workshop is designed to increase your expertise and to engage you with the important principles and effective practices of the successful Chair. Through practical examples and role play participants will experience the real-life challenges and opportunities for leadership that are the day-to-day world of this key role.

This professional learning opportunity will appeal both to Trustees who already have experience as a Chair and to those who are ready to take on the challenge.

The workshop will be presented by members of the Centre for Governance Excellence Trainer/Facilitator team who have successful experience as Chairs of Boards and Committees. 


  • Laurel Broten, Minister of Education -- confirmed
  • Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and
    Minister of Aboriginal Affairs -- confirmed
  • Dr. James Norrie, Associate Dean, Administration of the Ted Rogers School
    of Management, Ryerson University -- confirmed 
  • Leadership in School Board Labour Relations - Substantive Issues and Systemic Considerations
  • Regional Meetings


1:30 - 4:30 p.m.:   a SELECTION OF WORKSHOPS:

  • Religious Accommodation
  • Top 10 Legal Pitfalls for Trustees
  • Code of Conduct
  • Health and Safety:  Concussions and School Yard Shading


Pre-registration required   -  THIS SESSION IS NOW FULL



Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street West, Toronto


Trustees, Directors of Education, supervisory officers, student trustees and other school board members are encouraged to attend this annual OPSBA/ACÉPO event.

Hotel rate:

$185 single, plus taxes and $205 double, plus taxes
Please contact the hotel directly, telephone: (416) 361-1000 or 1-888-627-7175 (in Canada) and identify the OPSBA/ACÉPO Group Rate


Friday, January 6, 2012
After the deadline, the special rate will be provided on a space available basis only.

Program, including Registration Form (PDF)

Registration Form (online)

For more information: Susan Weinberg, Policy and Professional Development Coordinator, ext.128; or Ernesta Graham, Events Coordinator, ext.115; or webmaster


Perspective on Attawapiskat

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The First Nation community of Attawapiskat has received a great deal of media coverage in the last few weeks. As a strong advocate for conditions that ensure equitable life chances and educational opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children, OPSBA welcomes the efforts to address the health and housing issues faced by Attawapiskat. A number of media articles have included perspectives that criticize the community and, in the midst of their crisis, assign blame for the current conditions. The following link connects to an article by Lorraine Land that provides much-needed context for this situation and highlights the advantageous public funding that the average citizen can expect compared with First Nation community members relying solely on federal funding.

OPSBA started lobbying for equitable access for educational rights for the community of Attawapiskat in 2007 and continues our advocacy and support for Shannen's Dream. Through partnership in CSBA, OPSBA has called for equitable funding for First Nations education and brought this to the attention of the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education.

For more information: Susan Cook, Policy & Communications Associate, x112; or webmaster

Strategic Leadership Conference, January 19, 2012

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A reminder to Chairs, Vice-Chairs, Directors of education and Supervisory Officers

The Ministry of Education will be hosting a strategic leadership conference on January 19, 2012 in Toronto. Each board is invited to send their chair and vice-chair, director of education and one supervisory officer responsible for strategic planning. For participants arriving in Toronto on January 18th, there will be an opportunity to meet with colleagues and network at an evening event.

The conference is part of the ministry's commitment to support the ability of boards to meet the requirements of Bill 177, the Student Achievement and School Board Governance Act, with respect to multi-year plans.

The Ministry recognizes that many boards already have strategic plans that are working well for them. Others have multi-year plans that are well-thought out but may not influence board decision making. Some boards are struggling to put an effective plan in place.

In this regard we will share with you effective practices in strategic planning from the private, public and school board sectors. Deloitte consultants will conduct strategic planning workshops and be available to answer any questions.

The organisation of the day and the development of the materials, have been guided by a strategic planning steering committee made up of school board chairs, directors of education and senior ministry officials.

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, 123 Queen Street West, Toronto. The ministry will reimburse reasonable expenses related to the transportation, accommodation and meals for all those staying for the full day which runs from about 8:00am in the morning until about 8:00pm in the evening. Expense claim forms will be provided

To register:

As indicated earlier, the ministry has booked a block of rooms at the Sheraton Centre to be set-aside for the conference on the evenings of Wednesday January 18, 2012 and Thursday January 19, 2012. Given the conference agenda, we recommend booking rooms for both nights. The "cut-off date" for reserving rooms in the Room Block is 5:00 p.m. local time Wednesday, December 28, 2011. After the cut-off date, it is at Hotel's discretion whether to accept additional reservations, which will be subject to prevailing rates and availability.

If you haven't already done so, please make reservations now by contacting Sheraton Reservations at 1-800-325-3535. Be sure to state that you are with the "Ontario Ministry of Education." Please quote Strategic Leadership Conference (Group Code: OMA15A) upon booking in order to receive the special rate we have reserved. Guest room rates are $139/night (Single/Double Rate) plus HST.

The day promises to be an unprecedented opportunity for boards to avail themselves of the latest research into effective practices with respect to strategic planning and to network with other board leaders from across the province.

CSBA Congress 2012

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Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) Congress 2012
Hosted by the Québec English School Boards Association (QESBA)
July 4—6, 2012

The preliminary program and registration information for CSBA Congress 2012 are now available. A designated website will be posted in the coming weeks but you can register now by calling toll-free 1-877-512-7522, extension 221.


For more information:

2012 Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence

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The nomination deadline is February 6, 2012.

The Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence recognize educators and staff who are helping Ontario students and young children realize their full potential. These are the special people who support, motivate and inspire Ontario students.

There are two new awards this year: Early Childhood Educator of the Year and Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year for a total of eight categories.

Don't miss this opportunity to recognize that special teacher, support staff member, school or board leader, early childhood educator, or full day kindergarten team. Honour an outstanding person by nominating him or her for the 2012 Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence.

The following are the award categories, each with specific eligibility criteria:

Letter from the Ministry of Education, December 13

For more information and nomination forms: Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence


Public Services Health & Safety Association: Winter 2012 Training Schedule

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The Public Services Health & Safety Association is an Association of Ontario's public service sectors, including universities, colleges and school boards, municipalities, health and community care organizations, emergency services and First Nations.

The Association offers expert injury and illness prevention services, such as consulting, specialized services, training, and products, to the public sector. The schedule of winter 2012 training for the education sector is now available.

For more information: Public Services Health & Safety Association website

Give Your School a Hug Day, February 13—17

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On February 13—17, Heartspeak is launching another Give your School a Hug DayTM. This designated day provides an opportunity for students to identify ways to make their school better and invite members of the school community to engage in meaningful discussion on topics like bullying/cyber-bullying, mental health, learning and communication challenges, addictions and more.


Teacher Planner

To Sign Up

For more information: Heartspeak

Ministry of Education UPDATE


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Ontario government doesn't have a grasp on bullying issue
As reported by Moira MacDonald, Toronto Sun, December 5

If you were serious about losing weight, you'd probably hit the gym hard several times a week and do a major pare-down of your calories.

Sure, you'd be happy to hear it when friends told you that you looked better.

Feeling the waistband loosening up would definitely be a good sign.

But I'm betting a key thing you'd also do would be to step on a scale and track every last pound that came off you, or didn't, especially when you slipped up on your plan.

That explains what's missing from the McGuinty government's bill announced last week that is supposed to get tough on school bullying.

The initial media hoopla focused on the fact repeat offenders would be up for potential expulsion (not automatic) and that's an improvement.

It's also good the McGuinty Liberals are responding to the growing demands for change on how to combat bullying, as well as finally creating a definition of what bullying is.

But the fact is, the Liberals don't know what they're dealing with.

They don't know how much bullying goes on because there's no formal way to report it, which means it can't be tracked to see if it's going up or down.

Even provincial stats that should be available already -- i.e., suspensions due to bullying -- aren't.

I asked the education ministry for them nearly four weeks ago. I'm still waiting.
Catherine Fife, a trustee with the Waterloo Region District School Board and president of the Ontario's Public School Boards' Association, said she asked one of her board's staff about its bullying-related suspension stats recently.

She was told provincial guidelines mean her board doesn't track suspensions that specifically.

So no matter how tough this government says it wants to get on bullying, it will have no way of knowing whether what it's doing is working any better than before.

Its bill says school boards would have to do "school climate surveys" at least once every two years to monitor the effectiveness of their anti-bullying policies.

But asking students -- some of whom presumably wouldn't complete the survey -- how they feel about their "school climate," or jogging their memories about how many bullying incidents they saw or endured over the previous two years, is not the same as documenting actual bullying. In real-time, as it happens.

And there's no indication these survey results would have to be publicized, or go anywhere beyond the board's own walls.

Reporting is part of Conservative education critic Elizabeth Witmer's private member's bill released the same day as the Liberals'.

More directly named the "Anti-Bullying Act," (as opposed to the Liberals' "Accepting Schools Act.") it would require boards to have reporting procedures for bullying.

Teachers would have to report any bullying they see to the principal, who would be required to investigate.

Those incidents, investigated and confirmed, would eventually have to be reported to the education minister and the Legislature, along with what the minister did over the year to address bullying.

That's a good start on the road to accountability, though anti-bullying activists say they'd also like to see clear consequences for school boards that don't enforce the rules.

With Queen's Park preparing for its Christmas break soon, nothing will likely get passed until late winter.

Under this minority government, there's a chance for all three parties to work together to craft legislation leading to a measurable change in bullying.

Let's see how far our politicians are really willing to go to put a stop to it.

Will they step up to the scale? Or dance around it?

For more information: Jeff Sprang, Director, Communications & Media Relations, x111; or webmaster


Toronto DSB Futures Conference, May 3—5, 2012

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Toronto District School Board's Equity in Education, From Policy to Practice conference will be held from May 3—5 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. This conference will focus on the challenges faced by school boards to put equity policy into systemic practice. There will be a showcase for effective practices, highlighting innovations, and grappling with challenges arising from efforts to improve equity in education.

Keynote speakers include:

Dr. Ben Levin, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

Sylvia Maracle, current Chair of Aboriginal Housing Services in Ontario and lecturer on urban development, women's issues, and the cultural revitalization of Aboriginal people

Dr. Pedro Noguera, the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University and urban sociologist

Dr. Christopher Spence, Director of Education, Toronto District School Board

Connor Steele, motivational speaker 

Tim Wise, anti-racist writer and educator

Keynote Speaker Biographies


For more information: Futures conference website

From Education PARTNERS

Career BOARD

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Career Board (from OPSBA members & education partners)

OASBO Job Postings — update as of Dec 15 (from OASBO members)

Upcoming Events


Wednesday, January 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

January 26—28, 2012
Sheraton Centre Hotel,123 Queen Street West, Toronto
Phone: 416-361-1000 or 1-800-325-3535
OPSBA Rate: $185 single + plus taxes; or $205 double + taxes
Cut-off date: Friday, January 6, 2012


(February meeting date to be determined)

(Adobe Connect Call)
Friday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon

Friday, February 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

Friday, February 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. &
Saturday, February 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto
Phone: 416-977-5000; or 1-800-668-6600
OPSBA Rate: $131
Cut-off date: January 31

Friday, February 24, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

MARCH 2012

March 24

Wednesday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

March 29—31, 2012
Sheraton Centre Hotel, 123 Queen Street West,Toronto
Phone: 416-361-1000 or 1-888-627-7175 (identify the OPSBA Group Rate)
OPSBA Rate: $199.00 (single or double) + taxes
Cut-off date: Monday, February 27, 2012

APRIL 2012

Friday, April 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

Friday, April 27, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. &
Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto
Phone: 416-977-5000; or 1-800-668-6600
OPSBA Rate: $145
Cut-off date: March 31

Friday, April 27, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

MAY 2012

(Some Joint Agenda Items)
Friday, May 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA, Toronto

Friday, May 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

JUNE 2012

2012 Annual General Meeting and Program
June 7—10, 2012
Vahalla Inn,1 Valhalla Road , Thunder Bay
Phone: 807-577-1121  or 1-800-964-1121
OPSBA rate: $124 plus taxes (standard room); Upgrades are available.
Cut-off date: Monday, May 7, 2012


October 19—20, 2012
Delta Conference Centre, 208 St Mary's River Drive, Sault Ste Marie
Phone: 705-949-0611 or  1-888-713-8482
OPSBA rate: $119.00 plus taxes (single and double room)
Cut-off date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012