2019 Director's Message

Director Mark FisherDear Thames Valley Community,

Throughout my career I have had the privilege to serve at four different school boards and the Ministry of Education. As a strong believer in the value and importance of public education, I am excited to join Thames Valley as your Director of Education. The 2018-19 school year was full of many achievements. This report highlights just a few of these success stories. 

We have made great strides in a number of our priority areas. We have established programs and avenues to enhance communication with all our stakeholders, such as inviting parent engagement expert Dr. Debbie Pushor to speak with our community, holding Family Math Nights across our district and optimizing our website and social media channels to ensure timely communication. Through these efforts and more, we hope to see family and community engagement continue to grow.

New programs, such as H-ELP, a multi-credit opportunity for students interested in learning and leading outdoors through an environmental lens, and Boats to Bikes, a dual credit course in Technological Studies and Mathematics where students build boats and repair bikes, have been launched to ensure we are providing students with innovative and relevant learning experiences.

We have worked hard to create equitable and inclusive learning and work environments for students and staff. Last year, we introduced a mental health program to model everyday practices for mental health and well-being to students, staff and parents. The program provides students with age-appropriate information about stress and increases their resilience and ability to self-regulate and trains teachers how to embed evidence-based practices into their classrooms. We also held our first annual TVDSB Pride Elementary Conference. Over 250 students from 50+ elementary schools and many community organizations participated in the event which empowered students to find their voice, embrace diversity, and promote inclusion through allyship.

We continue to work hard to ensure an inclusive culture across the entire school district, that is reflective of our students. We recognize that the principles of safety, equity and inclusivity must be echoed in all aspects of school life.

But I know there is still much work to be done. Boards across the province, including Thames Valley, have worked hard to improve math and literacy scores, but we haven’t seen the results we expected or that our students deserve.

We take this issue very seriously and continue to develop new professional learning opportunities for our staff and provide more supports to our students and families. At the start of this school year I met with all school Principals and Vice-Principals, Superintendents and Managers and made it clear that the most important priority during my time as Director is to impact student outcomes in numeracy and literacy.

And though math, literacy and increasing our graduation rates are my key priorities, I look forward to building momentum on all our strategic priorities: relationships, equity and diversity, and achievement and well-being, to ensure that we remain responsive and relevant to the needs of our students.

The coming year will bring many exciting opportunities for us to collaboratively build an inclusive Thames Valley community. Thank you to the staff, parents/guardians and community partners for helping us achieve our goal of providing exceptional learning opportunities for our students.


With warm regards,
Mark Fisher



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