Welcome to the Director’s Annual Report – a snapshot of the teaching and learning that took place across the Limestone District School Board in the 2016-2017 school year.
Much work has been completed over the last year to ensure we are meeting our mission to best prepare students for the world that awaits them after graduation. Educators and support staff have worked diligently to promote critical thinking and student inquiry while closing achievement gaps to ensure everyone can achieve success.
We began the new school year focused on developing our new strategic plan to help guide our actions over the next five years. Through a comprehensive consultation process, we received feedback from more than 2,700 stakeholders – students, families, staff and community partners – who shared with us their vision for Limestone. The result, unveiled in the 2017-2018 school year, is a focus on the pillars of Wellness, Innovation, and Collaboration.
Ensuring everyone can see themselves in Limestone is a key component of our work. To help promote an equitable and inclusive school climate that ensures all students, staff, and members of the broader school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted, the Board hosted its first-ever Equity and Inclusion Week in May.
The week included school assemblies, themed event days and classroom lessons and discussions to ensure students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment. Posters highlighting student voice around equity, inclusion, progress, and success and a video were created to help support teaching and learning opportunities. Our goal – every day – is to highlight that everyone is welcome here, everyone belongs here, and that everyone can see themselves reflected in Limestone.
Due to the ongoing and focused efforts by educators, and our engaging specialty programming aimed at helping students achieve success whatever their strengths, interests and career goals, we are seeing more students graduate than ever before. We are also pleased to continue to support students requiring additional time to complete their diploma requirements and those with special learning needs. Our staff in all schools remains committed to providing the necessary supports to all students to ensure they are successful in whatever pathway they choose.
Students took critical thinking and inquiry to new levels with learning excursions to Europe to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Students from Frontenac Secondary School, Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Loyalist Collegiate & Vocational Institute, La Salle Secondary School and Napanee District Secondary School attended official ceremonies. Napanee students, in particular, played an important role in the dedication of The Battle of Hill 70 – the only student group invited to participate.
Staff remained committed on professional learning opportunities to support student growth and achievement. Our elementary program team was recognized for its work on a MISA (Managing Information for Student Achievement) Project that focused on closing the gaps in phonic knowledge for struggling readers with data showing an overall improvement in student reading levels, writing and confidence. The team shared their knowledge and leading practices with other school boards. We know there is still much work to do with respect to student achievement in mathematics but we are working hard on expanding and developing a growth mindset for all, and creating an environment for collaboration, engagement, and success for all. We are making steady gains and our school and district math facilitators were recognized by the Ministry of Education for their work on the provincial Renewed Math Strategy.
The Board was among 30 community partners and agencies recognized for its support in helping Syrian newcomers settle in Kingston. The Board worked with the Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) to plan and prepare for the arrival of Syrian refugees including providing education or educational supports to school-aged children including arranging for settlement workers and interpreters as required. We are proud that our schools provided safe and welcoming spaces for our new students and families. For its work, the Board was awarded the 2017 Family Advocacy Award – the highest award given by Family and Children’s Services or Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
We also celebrated significant capital milestones including the dedication ceremony for the new Molly Brant Elementary School and the selection of the contractor for the construction of our new Kingston Intermediate & Secondary School. Staff also undertook the considerable task of supporting and transitioning former students, families, and staff of Queen Elizabeth Collegiate & Vocational Institute to Loyalist Collegiate & Vocational Institute in preparation for the construction and eventual opening of the new secondary school. We are so very proud of their dedication and commitment of both students and staff during these transition phases. We look forward to celebrating again once the new school is opened – the first to be built within the City of Kingston in four decades.
What I have outlined above is merely a small snapshot of the teaching and learning that took place across our district in 2016-2017. Our team of educators, support staff, administrators, volunteers, trustees and community partners have worked tirelessly to advance the learning of our students and each other. We are continually adapting to meet the changing needs of all of our students to prepare them to embrace a changing world as lifelong learners and informed, responsible citizens. We know that by working together, we will attain our vision – to embrace and foster engaging and innovative learning where everyone achieves success and well-being.
I am proud of what the students and staff of the Limestone District School Board have accomplished together, and look forward to new challenges and success that lies ahead.