September 24, 2015                                                                        

 

DSBN Continues Long Term Planning for Student Success  

By Modernizing ARC Policy 

 

 An increased emphasis on student achievement highlights the DSBN’s revised Accommodation Review Policy (F-2), approved by Trustees at their September 22 meeting. That evening, Trustees also received staff recommendations for further Accommodation Reviews, which would be conducted under the new policy.  

“We are pleased to adopt this policy which will govern how future ARs are conducted,” said Sue Barnett, Chair of the DSBN Board of Trustees. “It rightfully recognizes that improving student learning is our number one goal, while also providing for meaningful public input.” 

The new policy follows the release of the Ministry’s new Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines (PARG) in March, 2015. It was the first update to the Ministry’s guidelines since 2009. School Boards were required to update their policies to reflect the new PARG before initiating further Accommodation Reviews. The DSBN’s policy was finalized following community consultation during the spring of 2015. 

The new policy increases the amount of pre-planning done by the Board before a review can be initiated. Prior to identifying potential ARs the Board must prepare a long term capital and accommodation plan. When a grouping of schools is being considered for an AR, staff must present the Board with an initial staff report that includes potential solutions to address the identified issues.  

Policy F-2 also outlines the conditions whereby the Board may conduct a modified AR. A modified review can be initiated when the potential options are less complex. Generally, these reviews can take place if schools are not physically suitable to serve the school community or the buildings have significant empty space (under 65% utilization).  

In addition to approving the new Accommodation Review policy, Trustees also received the DSBN’s Long Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP). Based on the LTAP, Trustees directed Board staff to prepare initial reports and school information profiles for the following groups of schools which may be considered for future Accommodation Reviews: 

  • E.W. Farr and Pelham Centre Public Schools 
  • Glen Ridge and Oakridge Public Schools 
  • The north Niagara Falls area (Victoria, Martha Cullimore, John Marshall and Prince Philip Public Schools) 

Reports on the above mentioned schools will be brought to a future Board meeting.  

Two other areas were identified for potential future Accommodation Reviews: 

  • South Lincoln High School, Grimsby Secondary, Beamsville District 
  • Burleigh Hill, Westmount and Ferndale Public Schools 

Noted in the LTAP report, enrolment is expect to continue its decline over the next ten years, leaving the DSBN with over 10,000 surplus student spaces by 2024. “The new Accommodation Review policy will assist the DSBN in effectively responding to the challenges facing the Board while maintaining strong programming for students,” said Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN Director of Education.