It is my pleasure to present the Director’s Annual Report which provides an overview of the learning and leading that took place during the 2017-2018 school year in the Limestone District School Board.
As you will see from the stories of success shared here, by focusing on our strategic pillars of Wellness, Innovation and Collaboration, our students and staff continue to work toward our renewed vision to foster engaging and innovative learning where everyone achieves success and well-being.
By putting Wellness first; by turning Innovation into action; and by being committed to Collaboration, we are better able to focus on specific initiatives that will allow us to improve student achievement, promote well-being, enhance equity, cultivate good citizens and use our limited resources wisely. Together, these pillars make up the landmarks of our road map of where we are and where we need to go over the next five years. But our path is far from static. It is dynamic as are the evolving needs of students in an ever-changing world. What works today may not one year from now, let alone five. Our pillars are broad yet distinct to allow goals to be adapted and realigned when and where necessary.
This important work, monitored by the Board of Trustees, is not accomplished in isolation. Working together with our teachers, support staff, school and district leaders, school councils, families and community partners, Limestone strives to:
- Implement positive physical, mental and emotional health strategies.
- Promote diversity and foster a sense of belonging.
- Provide safe, inclusive and respectful learning environments.
- Cultivate problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills.
- Differentiate programming to support individual learning needs.
- Advance relevant and engaging learning experiences to support all pathways.
- Work with families to support every student’s learning journey.
- Maximize student engagement in classrooms and schools.
- Enhance partnerships with parents/guardians, employees, government and community groups.
We are particularly proud of the work we have done to ensure everyone can see themselves in Limestone. Much of this work is focused on promoting an equitable and inclusive school climate that ensures all students, staff, and members of the broader school community feel safe, accepted and welcome. By removing systemic barriers and nurturing inclusive and culturally-responsive school environments, we will better support all students.
To help implement Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, school administrators and educators participated in various professional development sessions including collaborative inquiries focused on learning and practices to build a more equitable and inclusive school environment. Also, Limestone established an Equity Advisory Committee made up of principals and vice-principals who provide feedback and input on the actions that the district is taking in response to the Equity Action Plan.
The Board hosted the Student Voice Project, a one-day conference, last spring focused on hearing from Indigenous, LGBTQ+2 and racialized students. Students from each secondary school shared their educational journey regarding their sense of belonging, making several recommendations to improve how these students see themselves in Limestone and how we can make them feel more welcome and supported.
Another key initiative is a focus on Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, an educational framework based on creating flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences. Although it is sometimes referred to as accessible instruction, the principles of universal design benefit all students not just those with special learning needs. UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
These are just some of the ways we are working to ensure that equity and inclusion are embedded in our daily work. We know that when students and staff feel welcomed, respected and supported, they are more engaged and more apt to participate and succeed.
All of this work that takes place every day in every classroom across Limestone supports our ongoing commitment to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students in our public education system. We are excited to share our progress.