Standard tests return with provincial learning plan

By Nick Bernard
The following are brief reports from a meeting of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) that was held virtually on Feb. 22.

TLDSB is getting ready for the return of standardized tests from the province’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) in May.
In his director’s update, TLDSB director Wes Hahn walked the board through Ontario’s learning recovery action plan, which was unveiled by the province in Feb. The plan includes the return of the EQAO tests, which will be conducted with students from Grades 3, 6 and 9.
The learning plan is broken down into five main objectives: Measuring and assessing current learning levels, the funding of comprehensive tutoring support, student resilience and mental health, strengthening numeracy and literacy, and modernizing education.

Hahn outlined the board’s plans for each category, starting with the EQAO in the spring. It will form the basis of the learning plan’s measurement and assessment objective.
“It’s quite clear that the ministry has indicated that through EQAO, they will continue to use that as a measurement tool for boards to be assessed,” Hahn said. “We believe it’s an important piece to how we will be moving forward with our plans.”
Students in Grade 3 and 6 will be assessed on reading, writing, and mathematics, while the assessment for Grade 9 students will focus on mathematics.
An online practice assessment is available for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). The OSSLT measures whether students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. The practice assessment can be found on the EQAO website.

Local teacher receives director’s recognition award
Katie Bjelis was awarded the Director’s Recognition Award for her work as a Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) at Stuart Baker Elementary School.
The Director’s Recognition Award highlights extraordinary contributions by staff members, students, school volunteers, or community members, and is presented at each meeting of the board.
Bjelis was nominated by Stuart Baker’s principal, Karyn Linton Marra.
“Katie is an inspiration. She juggles many hats, always with a smile, and genuine compassion,” Director Wes Hahn said, relaying thoughts from Linton Marra on Bjelis’ nomination. “Working side-by-side with teachers, support staff, and educational assistants, she is an expert in behavior management and working with students with communication difficulties or other special needs. Yet, she seeks any new learning or information that will assist her to support students, allowing them to experience greater success.”

Despite the meeting being held virtually, Bjelis still received an enthusiastic applause from everyone on the board.
“As a SERT, it really is a joy and a privilege to work alongside our youngest learners, with our highest need students, and their families,” Bjelis said. “And I’m just so thankful to work alongside an incredible team with an amazing administrator, with supportive teachers and [educational assistants] … just to create an inclusive, engaging experience for all.”
Bjelis also expressed a deep appreciation for the work that she does day to day.
“I really do love teaching, I love my job, and my role, and I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” she said.
The next regular meeting of Trillium Lakelands District School Board will be Mar. 22.