From the Director

August 30, 2018

As you know, the provincial government has re-issued the 2010 Interim Health and Physical Education curriculum. The 2010 “interim” curriculum requires the use of the 1998 Human Growth and Development content. While we now have our direction for the upcoming school year, TVDSB is providing some additional information to our communities related to this curriculum.

Of note, the Grades 9-12 Health and Physical Education curriculum has not changed. Changes however, have been made to the Grades 1-8 Health and Physical Education curriculum.

TVDSB and all Boards are required to comply with Ministry of Education directives and policies, which includes teaching the curriculum as developed by the Ministry. We will be working with our teaching staff to ensure they have the support they need to deliver the curriculum.

TVDSB wishes to assure parents, guardians, staff and community members that, regardless of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, the Board will uphold its responsibilities and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and Board policies to ensure respect, inclusion and safety of all.

What has not changed is that TVDSB will continue to be an inclusive organization that works to affirm all identities on a daily basis, including students and families identifying as LGBT2Q+. All students and family members have the right to feel safe, included and valued at school and this requires that students see their identities reflected in real world school and classroom activities.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Matt Reid, Chair of the Board

 

Previous letters from the Director:

Our Statement on the Health and Physical Education Curriculum - July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018

The Ontario government recently announced its intention to begin public consultation on a new Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The government has also said the current curriculum, last revised in 2015, will be "temporarily replaced" this fall with the previous version introduced in 1998.

While the government has indicated teachers will have some “flexibility,” the Ministry of Education has not yet provided any details to school boards.  As soon as information is received, TVDSB will communicate with staff, students and families.

TVDSB wishes to assure parents, guardians, staff and community members that, regardless of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, the Board will uphold its responsibilities and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Education Act and Board policies to ensure respect, inclusion and safety of all.

TVDSB will continue to be an inclusive organization that works to affirm all identities on a daily basis, including students and families identifying as LGBT2Q+. All students and family members have the right to feel safe, included and valued at school and this requires that students see their identities reflected in real world school and classroom activities.

As leaders in public education, we commit to being inclusive, fair and equitable by empowering students to become caring community members and responsible global citizens, and recognizing and celebrating the contributions and diversity of students, staff and volunteers.

Laura Elliott, Director of Education

Matt Reid, Chair of the Board

An Open Letter to our Thames Valley District School Board Community

Today's economy is supported by an increasingly complex set of skills and knowledge. Predictable, routine tasks of today are becoming more and more automated. Non-routine, unpredictable tasks will increasingly become the jobs of the future. As such, mathematical skills and knowledge are increasingly becoming critical components of success.

Over the past three years, EQAO Mathematics scores for students in grades 3, 6 and 9 in the Thames Valley District School Board and across the province have declined. This issue is of paramount importance to our students, parents, teachers, administration, trustees and the Ministry of Education and I am writing to describe how we, at Thames Valley are taking action, and to enlist your support.

In April 2016, the Ministry of Education made a commitment to help students gain the mathematics knowledge and
skills they need by creating the Renewed Math Strategy. Mathematics achievement is a key priority for the Ministry, and is being supported through dedicated funding to school boards. This Renewed Mathematics Strategy supports Thames Valley's continued focus on Mathematics grades 1 to 12.

The Thames Valley Math Strategic Plan provides the framework for support to our students, parents, teachers and principals. Our goal is to enhance and support leadership and instructional capacity in mathematics so all students
are successful. We will focus on the following priorities:

  • Increase achievement in mathematics for all students,
  • Build mathematical leadership capacity throughout the system,
  • Increase content knowledge, skills and instructional capacity of educators in mathematics; and,
  • Involve parents in their children's learning of mathematics.

I am deeply concerned about this issue and I believe that we can make the necessary changes for all students to be successful in mathematics. It is critical that we work together to solve this challenge. I encourage you to discuss this important issue at home and with your school. This dialogue will support a renewed focus on ensuring our students' success in mathematics.

We sincerely thank our students, parents, employees and community partners for their continued support in
helping our students achieve their potential.

Laura Elliott
Director of Education

Update: An Open Letter to our Community 

In November 2016, an open letter (above) to our community was posted on our website to provide information on
our Renewed Mathematics Strategy and our progress in addressing our District mathematics results. We asked students, parents, staff and community members for their support and I would like to thank those who answered the call. At this time, an update on our progress is provided below.

Supporting Instructional Leadership at All Levels

Improving math results in our Thames Valley classrooms involves the commitment of all staff throughout the organization. It requires staff to be knowledgeable about the mathematics curriculum, as well as utilize instructional strategies which engage students in their learning to make meaning of mathematics.

Within our district, we remain committed to building staff capacity in mathematics. Initiatives which target professional learning through networking and coaching opportunities have been met with enthusiasm and success among Thames Valley staff. Designated mathematics leads in every elementary school, as well as our system Instructional Coaches and Learning Facilitators are part of the team ensuring that mathematics is the focus in all schools. If you visit an elementary school you will see and hear evidence of mathematics learning with all staff and students.

We have also required our Thames Valley secondary schools to work on improving mathematics instruction to make greater achievement gains for our grade 9 and 10 students. Additional networking and coaching opportunities for secondary mathematics teachers supports the use of a variety of instructional strategies. The use of innovative math software by our students and teachers is being monitored and tracked by our research department. Other mathematics tools and resources are also used to engage our students in their learning.

Principals and Vice-Principals also have access to principal mentor-coaches to improve their knowledge and understanding of math pedagogy to better support their teachers. Thames Valley has gained attention from system and provincial leaders in our approach to improving math leadership with our school and system leaders.

Support at Home

The research is clear that achievement is also impacted by the involvement of parents/guardians in their children's learning. Many of our schools have offered Mathematics Nights for parents to come together with educators to learn more about how to support their children's mathematics learning.

 Dr. Marion Small, an international mathematics expert, was hosted by our Thames Valley Parent Involvement Committee, in a 'sold out' event. Dr. Small spoke to the audience about new versus traditional teaching methodologies. While the debate has continued about the teaching of traditional mathematics skills versus problem solving, it is important to note that it is not an 'either/or' debate. Both are essential and appropriate at specific points in math instruction.

Parents and students are also accessing a variety of supports including Homework Help, which is free and available to all Ontario students in grade 7-10. Additionally, our math department regularly communicates math tips for parents in school newsletters.

I am proud of the Thames Valley learning community for their commitment to this renewed mathematics strategy. As the Mathematics department reminds us, we are on the right path to achieving excellence for all students.

Thank you to students, staff, parents and our school communities for working together in partnership. Together, we will achieve our goal of high achievement in mathematics.

Laura Elliott
Director of Education

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