--- Western Quebec School Board annual report reflects on unprecedented year
The Western Quebec School Board (WQSB) released its 2019-2020 annual report this month, following a year that saw court battles over Bill 40 and school closings due to the pandemic.
The report indicates that the WQSB has set up a number of 2022 objectives for improved success in core subjects such as math, English and French for elementary school students. In addition, the WQSB also has specific targets it would like to meet for high school ministry exams and graduation rates. As a result of the school and examination cancellations during the onset of the pandemic, none of that data is available for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Ruth Ahern, Assistant Director General of the WQSB, says their targets for 2022 will remain the same, despite the pandemic.
“Obviously the data that we’re going to be using, because of we’re missing a year, looks a little bit different,” said Ahern. “What we’ve asked the schools to do […] is to look at their student overall data from last year […] our primary goal is to make sure the students get what they need and in the end how we achieve those targets becomes a secondary piece.”
Other indicators reflected on during the academic year were the number of bullying incidents reported by WQSB schools. The Director General received no escalated complaints of bullying, a process in place thanks to By-Law 18, Procedures for the Examination of Complaints. However, the report concludes that schools and centres reported 124 bullying incidents and 127 incidents involving violence that led to an intervention or suspension from school. These figures represent a significant increase from the last annual report that disclosed 119 bullying incidents that required major intervention.
Considerable focus was given to Bill 40, a piece of provincial legislation designed to convert school boards into school centres. The WQSB spent resources and training to prepare for this transition, however the implementation of the bill for English school boards was stopped by the Superior Court of Quebec, citing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and anglophone minority rights in the province.
Among the renovation projects that went ahead in the 2019-2020 year, Symmes and D’Arcy McGee High school received the most improvements with the replacement of bleachers for $150,000; additional office space and meeting room for $130,000; installation of portable classrooms for $350,000; and mechanical work for laboratories, renovations for changing rooms and the replacement of gymnasium lighting, all for $450,000. Eardley Elementary School also received a renovation that split three classes into six, for $320,000.
The full report is available here: https://westernquebec.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Annual-Report-2019-2020__EN_Final.docx.pdf.
[Local Journalism Initiative]