We’ve had a busy few weeks since our holiday break in December.  It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – time for me to gather my thoughts and send a bit of an update.

Our Special Education Department has been diligently promoting our suicide intervention strategy. By the end of this school year our staff, parent councils and community agency partners, and students will be aware of the strategy and the importance of watching for signs of distress in those who may need assistance.

Plans are well on the way for a leadership symposium later in the spring – with broadcaster and researcher Jesse Hirsh. This symposium will provide professional development for up and coming leaders within our system.

Our Lockdown policy and procedure has just recently been reviewed and updated. All of our administrators are receiving training on changes to this procedure to ensure the ongoing safety of our students and staff in our schools.

Each of our elementary schools has an active living lead – these folks have been provided with training and are implementing healthy, active living initiatives in schools.

New “learning commons” pilots in two of our secondary schools are proving to be very successful. These spaces offer the opportunity for students to actively pursue their educational needs in an independent and collaborative way.

We’ve heard concern expressed over the recent reports in the media about poor math results across the province of Ontario. Results for Trillium Lakelands District School Board are not dissimilar to other Ontario school boards. We have focussed our attention for the past several years on reading and writing for our elementary school students and it is now time to renew our focus on math. Our schools have been involved in inquiry-based projects to determine the best teaching practices and strategies in math. A new board website, to be launched at the end of March, will offer several math-based resources for students and parents.

These are just a few of the many initiatives and projects taking place currently in our board. There are many more projects on the go, many supported by our trustees through the Program Enhancement Fund, all designed to improve student engagement and achievement. I am incredibly proud and grateful to all of our teachers, administrators, and support staff who work tirelessly to provide safe and caring learning environments for our students.

The weather for March Break 2014 looks like it has a lot to offer whether you will be heading south or staying right here in Ontario. Many of our families will take this opportunity to seek out a warmer climate for a few days but still more will be able to enjoy winter sports and activities throughout the week. Wherever you find yourself next week, I wish you all the very best for a wonderful and restful break.

Larry Hope
Director of Education