• The Royal Register

Indigenous Commendation and French Immersion Debate at the HCDSB


Hello again BR, Davin Caratao here. You may know me as the guy on the announcements, but I also moonlight as the Student Trustee on our HCDSB. This is the second week where I’ve recorded the various transpirings of the Halton Catholic Board. The Regular Board Meetings are the main meetings of our school board, where presentations are heard and Board policies are passed.

Just last Tuesday on the 21st, the Board meeting was held. The HCDSB’s Indigenous Education Advisor, Sherry Saevil, an indigenous leader who has served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, was recognized by the Board as one of the Canadian Federation of University Women’s 100 Women of the last 100 years, an art exhibit you may have seen at the arts centre recently. Another presentation was held from the Compassionate Care and Crisis Response Team, an HCDSB initiative that seeks to comfort and help students, teachers and parents in situations of grief, loss or crisis. This team helps guide administrators to bring their schools and students through these crises, both personal and school-wide, and is regarded as a great support for many in this board. This call to love, help, and console one another, the team claims, is what sets the HCDSB apart from the Public Board.

A principal issue of the meeting was on the expansion of the Extended French Immersion program. A delegation was heard from M. Whalen, who protested the expansion of the program at St. Mary’s CES as disruptive to the regular-track students at that school. An expansion of the program would add 2 new portables at the school, but significantly cut down the French Immersion waitlist. Ms. Whalen noted many of these problems and complications with the French program, and her delegation was received by the board with no opposition. It is an extremely complicated issue balancing the difficulties the regular-track students face with the great lost opportunity of not having the students on the French waitlist admitted to the program. A spirited debate aroused based on the motion to adopt Option A, where much of the waitlist would be eliminated, although up to 2 classrooms may be added per school. After a long recess, a new motion was made to defer the contentious issue until the February 18th meeting. It passed unanimously.

The board’s budget estimates were reviewed, and although the HCDSB is running a slight deficit of roughly $1.5 million, the budget is compliant with Ministry of Education standards. The Board carried a deficit-reduction plan, which I voted in favour of.

The proposed policies and amendments discussed at the policy meeting on the 14th were all ratified at this regular board meeting unanimously.

Board Senior Staff suggested that Advanced Placement courses be offered in Halton Hills at Christ the King Catholic Secondary School. Grade Nines in Halton Hills could take Pre-AP courses by the 2021-2022 school year at CtK after taking the upcoming school year to register with the College Board, train teachers, and recruit for the AP courses. Portables may need to be added to the site for AP.

Your student trustees, including yours truly, gave a very extensive students' report which you can find on pages 91-92 on https://www.hcdsb.org/Board/Meeting%20Documents/BOARD_2020_01_21_REPORT.pdf.

Director Pat Daly made his annual Director’s Report, in the form of an interactive webpage, an innovating change from the standard pdf document of years past. His report is available here www.director.hcdsb.org, and the website provides lots of valuable information and a good summation of the school year past.

The Board’s survey for the uniform provider is still open until the 31st, and you can submit here: http://bit.ly/HCDSB-2020UniformSurvey-Students.

Stay tuned for more updates, and if you guys ever have any questions or ideas on what you’d like to see changed or implemented in our school and board, you can email me at CarataoD@hcdsb.org, or dm @isitdavincaratao

Davin Caratao has been a contributor to the Royal Register since its formation, and serves as the student trustee of the Halton Catholic District School Board for the 2019-2020 School Year.

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