This update Includes news on:
- Recent Legislative Business – Week of September 25
- OPSBA Advocacy Actions and Activities – Bill 98, The Better Schools and Outcomes Act, 2023 – UPDATE
- Ministry of Education Communications – 2024-25 Education Funding Consultation Guide / Grants For Student Needs
- Ministry of Education/Osgoode Professional Development Sessions for School Board Leaders
- EQAO Releases Provincial Assessment Results for 2022–2023 School Year
- Other News and Information
Recent Legislative Business
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumed last week and included the presence of the two new Liberal MPPs – Andrea Hazell (Scarborough—Guildwood) and Karen McCrimmon (Kanata—Carleton.) The House will not sit on Monday, October 2, but begin on Tuesday, October 3. (Note: OPS employees are off October 2 in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.) The Liberals have shuffled their critic roles with Stephen Blais, the MPP for Orléans, becoming the new education critic. OPSBA has connected with his office to discuss education issues and fall advocacy plans. It was also announced tat Edith Dumont will be installed as Ontario’s 30th Lieutenant Governor on November 14 in the Queen’s Park Legislative Chamber.
This legislation was introduced on September 28, 2023 by Liberal MPP Lucille Collard. If passed, it would proclaim the month of September in each year as Kids’ Online Safety and Privacy Month.
Status: First Reading
This legislation was introduced on May 31, 2023 by PC MPPs David Smith and Andrea Khanjin. If passed, it would proclaim the first full week in November in each year as Skilled Trades Week.
Status: Referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
OPSBA Advocacy Actions and Activities
Local Government Week – October 16-20, 2023
Last week, OPSBA shared its Local Government Week (LGW) materials with members, which are available on our School Board Governance webpage. The slide deck and one-page overview has been created to allow for local board modifications. We encourage you to be inspired about what you do locally and how it impacts your students and community. In addition to classroom visits, we encourage you to connect and share information with your municipal counterparts. Centrally, OPSBA will be promoting LGW via social media and using #LocalGovWeek.
Good Governance Workshops: OPSBA Leaders Academy
The recording from the September 20 OPSBA Leaders Academy PD session “In the Boardroom: How Great Boards Meet” is now available on YouTube.
SAVE THE DATES for the next OPSBA Leaders Academy workshops in this series (registration to come soon): Wednesday, October 18, 2023 and Wednesday, November 22, 2023. These will be virtual sessions held from noon to 1:00 pm.
As noted in a previous update, there are a number of items stemming from Bill 98 that require responses and actions. OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Group (PDWG) is leading the Association’s response on many of these items and they will include input from senior executive staff and other education stakeholders. There are four current “consultations” regarding the following:
- Director of Education Performance Appraisals – PDWG consultation with ministry on September 27 / regulatory posting TBD
- Leveraging Surplus School Board Property – PDWG to provide input on regulatory posting
- Schools on a Shared Site – PDWG to provide input on regulatory posting
- Joint Use Facilities – OPSBA senior staff have been invited to consultations in October. Information on this will be shared back to the PDWG and membership.
On the recent call with school board chairs, the Minister of Education also referred to a future consultation regarding Trustee Code of Conduct. This was another area considered under Bill 98 that was to:
- Strengthen the requirement for school boards to have a Trustee Code of Conduct.
- Create an impartial Integrity Commissioner-led process for resolving code of conduct complaints and expand sanctions for breaches of conduct.
The bill was amended at the Standing Committee to add flexibility in prescribing procedural elements and consider sector feedback of a new Integrity Commissioner-led process of addressing school board trustee conduct. No information regarding timing of these consultations has been announced. OPSBA commented on this significantly in our Bill 98 submission.
Ministry of Education Communications
2024-25 Education Funding Consultation Guide / Grants For Student Needs
The Ministry of Education has released information about their engagement process regarding the Grants for Students Needs. The 2024-25 Education Funding Guide includes two areas of focus: 1) Strengthening Accountability; enhancing transparency and reducing complexity and 2) Modernization of the Special Education Grant. The ministry has a submission deadline of October 27, 2023, but OPSBA has requested an extension to accommodate already scheduled regional meetings and a PDWG meeting in early November.
OPSBA will begin to gather feedback from its members about education funding, which will include consultation at regional meetings, feedback from the Indigenous Trustees’ Council, senior business officials, and from member board correspondence. A copy of this year’s Guide is available online and to view last year’s OPSBA submission, see 2023-24 OPSBA Education Funding and GSN Submission.
Ministry of Education/Osgoode Professional Development Sessions for School Board Leaders – Part 2 Tuesday, October 3
The Ministry of Education is partnering with York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to provide a new two-part human rights professional development program. Part two: Hate Activity in School Boards is open for registration. The session date is October 3, 2023. Participants who completed the session in the spring and who also complete this training are eligible to receive a confirmation of attendance and participation. For more information and to register, visit the Osgoode Hall PD website.
EQAO Releases Provincial Assessment Results for 2022–2023 School Year
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has released provincial data from its 2022–2023 assessments, which marks the second year of the agency’s reporting on the student achievement results of its digitalized and modernized provincial assessments. The EQAO says the data shows encouraging growth in mathematics achievement, while literacy skills remain stable across Ontario.
More than 580,000 students across the province completed EQAO assessments at the elementary and secondary levels of the English- and French-language school systems during the 2022–2023 school year. EQAO is reporting on achievement results, as well as data from student questionnaires. This provides contextual and attitudinal information about student learning to build a fuller picture of learners’ contexts and the factors that influence achievement. EQAO data provide an independent snapshot that shows whether students are meeting curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics at key stages of their education.
- See the government news release, Getting Back to Basics Leading to Better Student Outcomes | Ontario Newsroom
- OPSBA did provide a statement via social media
Other News Releases and Information
- September 29, 2023: Statement, Ontario Raising Minimum Wage October 1 to Support Workers
- September 27, 2023: Statement, Ontario’s Agreement on a Process That Keeps Students in School Approved by OSSTF
- September 27, 2023: News Release, Ontario Releases 2022-23 Public Accounts
- September 25, 2023: News Release, Ontario Connecting Communities and Spurring Economic Growth
- September 25, 2023: Ministry Memo SB15, 2024-25 GSN Enrolment Forecast Template (District School Boards)