Councillors Massey, Fancy, Williams and Reeve Haley at the 2019 Township of Front of Yonge New Year's Levee


 December 2018


I wish everyone Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a restful pause.


Below is my December 2018 Ward 4 Newsletter:


The link can be found at:







Welcome to our Board – Welcome to our Family!
December 2018
Athens DHS won the Ted Kennedy Legacy Award for being the UCDSB high school that raised the most money per capita for the Terry Fox Foundation. Vice Principal Oliver, Nick and Sydney were the main planners of the event, which raised $2542.60!
2. Director’s Award of Merit
The Director announced the recipients of the Fall 2018 Director’s Award of Merit at the November 14th Board meeting.  Congratulations to one and all!
• Bonnie Antoine, Educational Assistant, Rothwell Elem. • Hubert Bellmore, Lead Custodian, T.R. Leger • D'Arcy Pos and Thomas Griffin, Custodial Team, Linklater PS • Kelly Ivanski, Elementary Teacher, Rockland PS • Ray Westendorp, Principal, Wellington ES
Recipients of this award will receive a framed certificate, presented to them during the Board’s Celebration Night in June 2019, and their name and photo will be featured as part of a display at the Board Office.
3. The UCDSB/CDSBEO/LG Health Unit sessions for the Drug Awareness/Cannabis have been completed.  Professional development with our staff is on-going.
4. The transportation efficiencies by STEO (on behalf of and approved by both Boards) have been implemented.  There are two areas:  •  The walk zones in Grades 7 and 8 have been increased by 400 metres.  This aligns with the walk distance of 2 kilometres for students in Grades 9 to 12.  The walk zones for students in the primary panel, from JK to Grade 6, remain unchanged. • Courtesy seating has been discontinued.  Historically, a broad open-seat policy allowed students within the walk zone to request annually for this consideration. 
5. GISS and ADHS (two of 15 UCDSB secondary schools) have a full-time Guidance counsellor due to The Rural and Northern Education (RNEF) funding announced by the Ministry of Education on 28 June 2017. It is a funding source with the intent to “…improve programs and support services in rural schools…”. The Upper Canada District School Board received $1.8M (or 18% of the province-wide allocation of $20M). Funding was allocated to school boards based on the number of rural students and two factors measuring the density of rural student enrolment in the board. Overall, 62 schools (elementary and secondary) from the UCDSB met the eligibility factors, which generated the total sum of the funding.
6. PIC (Parent Involvement Committee): At the Board meeting of Oct. 10, 2018, Trustees received a presentation outlining the work of PIC.       The UCDSB Parent Involvement Committee enjoyed an active year in three main areas, specifically:
(a) providing information and advice on opportunities for parent engagement within the school district;
(b) supporting school councils throughout the school board, and;
(c) promoting opportunities to support children in their learning at home and at school.
A.  Providing information and advice on opportunities for parent engagement within the school district: 
Two key presentations supporting this focus was a presentation on student transportation services and “what parents need to know” about the process for securing these services and the factors that influenced cancellation of services during inclement weather. As well, the PIC engaged in a detailed dialogue about inclusion and equity to support a wide range of learners who attend UCDSB schools.
B.  Supporting School Councils throughout Board
Equally important was the round table discussions that PIC held through its “outreach meetings” strategy in the Rideau Lakes and Almonte areas this past year. Through these discussions, an array of school councils enjoyed the opportunity to learn about district-wide commitments to improve communication between schools and throughout the school district, as well as to learn about the district-wide timetable model that the school board has sanctioned, to support greater program opportunities for secondary school students.
Promoting opportunities to support children in their learning at home and at school: 
In addition, the UCDSB PIC continued to address this priority through its “writers in residence” strategy. As well, complimentary learning experiences were highlight at PIC meetings throughout 2017-2018 what individual school councils in our district accomplished through their “Parent Reaching Out (PRO) Grant” funding that is available through application to the Ministry of Education.
Disbursement of PIC Funds in 2017-2018:
At its meeting of 19 October 2017, members of the UCDSB PIC agreed to provide funds to finalize a commitment with its Writer-in-Residence strategy, so to produce two additional news articles.  I highly recommend School Councils follow PIC on its Facebook and website pages. tee
7. Trustee Innovation Awards:  Trustees were pleased to recognize the valuable, innovative and creative work of the following employees:
Debbie Banks, Principal of Special Education and Mary-Kaye McGreevy, Intensive Support Teacher – Elementary Jennifer Sims, Educational Assistant, Rockland Public School Fiona Frigault and Justine Gowsell, Central Public School
Brian Dickie, Carleton Place High School, Mary-Louise Scappaticci, Thousand Islands Secondary School
Kevin Baker, Jeff Burns, Jennifer Fox, Douglas Miller, Blake Seward, Rebecca Soudant, Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute
8. Summer Semester Programs: This is one of the most successful programs (a hidden gem) and it involves five areas of study: a. Summer Learning Program where 265 students K-Grade 5 in 19 sites with 37 teachers participated in activities to avoid “the summer slide”.  The focus was on literacy, numeracy, coding and bee-bots. b. ESL (English as a Second Language) – 58 students c. Summer Semester Programs: 1144 students earned 1243.5 credits. 37 students also reached ahead via on-line courses in Gr. 9-12.
d. Summer Coop: Summer Coop programs were offered in Grades 11 and 12, with students having the opportunity to earn 1 or 2 credits. A variety of work placement options were secured and supervised by Summer Semester teachers. A total of 221 credits were attained by 122 students. e. Summer Semester Cadet COOP: The Cadet Summer Coop program was offered in Ontario and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, P.Q. This was a 2-credit opportunity for Ontario secondary school students that were accepted into cadet summer training programs. A total of 319 credits were attained by 160 students.
I encourage parents and students to consider one of the above programs for next summer.
9. On Oct.17, 2018, the Ford Government announced a “pause” on PRP (Parents Reaching Out) grants. This is unfortunate as these grants succeeded in engaging parents in a positive way. It will have an unfortunate impact on School Councils.
10. Bullying Awareness Week November 19-23
Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behavior directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.  The following links are helpful:
11. New Board of Trustees :

The 2018 municipal election has resulted in a shuffle around the trustee table for the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). In the new term starting December 1, the UCDSB will welcome four newly elected trustees, two incumbents and four acclaimed. I am looking forward to working with these new Trustees.  Congratulations!
The trustee results of the Monday, Oct. 22 election are as follows:
Ward 1 – Don Cram (incumbent) Ward 2 – Bill MacPherson (acclaimed) Ward 3 – Jamie Schoular (new) Ward 4 – John McAllister (acclaimed) Ward 5 – John McCrea (new) Ward 6 – Lisa Swan (incumbent) Ward 7 – Larry Barry (new) Ward 8 – David McDonald (acclaimed) Ward 9 – John Danaher (new) Ward 10 – Corina Parisien (new & acclaimed)
Ahkwesáhsne Mohawk Board of Education – Ryan Jacobs
12. Fourth quarter Financial Statements 2017-2018:
On Wednesday, November 14, 2018, the Audit Committee and the external auditing firm of KPMG delivered their reports to the Board.  The year-end financial statements for the UCDSB revealed an overspending in transportation for the fiscal year ending August 1, 2018 of $9.5 million.  The CDSBEO posted a similar amount of overspending in the amount of $5.8 million.
The unexpected increases to student transportation is the result of a recent imposed arbitration order against the Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO), the organization that coordinates transportation for both Boards.
What does this mean?  Potentially, it means very deep cuts to programs and services unless both school boards receive assistance from the provincial government.  Both Boards will be working closely with the Minister of Education, her office, and our local members of provincial parliament.
13. Athens DHS Awards Evening November 22, 2018

 In addition of the recognition of student achievement in the last semester, two special  Names were added to the Wall of Distinction:  Kathryn Hudson and Glen Lockwood.  These alumnae were honoured for their volunteerism and community involvement.
Kathryn and Burt Hudson
Dr. Glen Lockwood and Principal David Pier
It was only fitting that on my first day on the job as the newly-elected Chair of the Upper Canada District School Board, I attended a meeting at Smiths Falls DCI.
I am honoured, humbled and willing to serve will the support of everyone. Thank you. I also wish to recognize and congratulate my Vice-Chair, Bill MacPherson.  Together, we will endeavour to provide leadership to our Board and work with the nine other
Trustees and Student Trustee.
15. It has been a full week.  I thought I was busy as a Trustee but, as a Chair, Director Stephen has kicked me up a notch. He and I are meeting every Monday and Thursday. Management Council meets every Thursday following a Board meeting alternating between Smiths Falls and the Board Office. Such meetings involve a school visit. This past week, we enjoyed a great visit at Rideau Vista P.S. in Westport. 
16. From Jane and me, we wish you all….
John McAllister Chair and Trustee UCDSB



My personal thoughts on the Ford Government's drastic revision to the current Health and Physical Education curriculum:


A Government can legislate a regressive Health & Phys. Ed. curriculum but the realities facing students, parents and educators remain. Online bullying and safety, consent, the risk of sexting and discussions around all healthy relationships fall within the scope of the work of each and every teacher, Educational Assistant and Support Personnel in their daily work. As a Trustee, I will endeavour to support them.


July 11,2018


Changes to Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum


As a Trustee for the Upper Canada DSB, it is my personal view that this Government's position is regressive, uninformed and, most importantly, harmful to a future generation of elementary and secondary students. This is so sad. But kids will be resilient




Image result for reflectionTrustee John McAllister June 2018 Report




June brings to a close yet another school year. From my perspective, “How was it?” is a question I often ask. Did I play an active role at the Board table?  Did I support my communities and my local schools and School Councils? Did I interact with the senior staff and principals in a dignified way which maximized the available resources? Did I maintain the integrity of the UCDSB and build public confidence in our public education system?  Was I successful in promoting student achievement and wellness? These are difficult questions for which there are varying degrees of success. Others may be able to fill in the blanks better than me. An old adage is:  “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  I hope the latter applies to my work and my approach to education in Upper Canada. So, here are a few recent highlights:






  1. AImage result for community drug strategypril 5, 2018: I attended an information event focused on the Municipal Drug Strategy (MDS) at Gananoque Intermediate Secondary School. The MDS is a grass-root, multi-sectoral approach for addressing substance misuse in our community. It was a joint initiative of the Town of Gananoque, the Township of Rideau Lakes and the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands.  A four pillar approach of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement guide the work to reduce harms associated with drugs, including but not limited to alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs and street drugs. A more detailed report can be found at the following link:$file/McAllister_Munic%20Drug%20Strategy%20Session%20Report_2018April.pdf. Terms of reference are below:


Municipal Drug Strategy Terms of Reference.




  1. Image result for awardsAwards and photos



Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and suitJim Kent, a parent volunteer at Thousand Islands E.S., was recognized as one of 11 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients. Congratulations and thank you Jim.












Paula Mooney, a teacher at Meadowview P.S., was a recipient of the Director’s Award of Merit earlier this evening. Paula is a champion in many ways: inviting classroom, healthy eating programs, the Environment Club, the monarch butterfly project and other outdoor classroom projects. Award to be delivered shortly. Congratulations Paula


Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and screenLindsay Casselman, a teacher at Pineview P.S., was recognized as one of 15 2017-2018 recipients of the Director’s Award of Merit for her exceptional work with her class. Congratulations Lindsay












  1. Athens District High School's Alex Edwards with the doghouse he created at the Skills Ontario competition earlier this month. (Photo taken by Bob St. Onge)Congratulations to Alex Edwards, a Grade 12 student at Athens District High School, who won this provincial skills competition and proceeded to a national level in Edmonton.  Excellent accomplishment Alex!  Kudos to the guidance and support of his teacher Bob St. Onge. We are proud.


    Athens Teen Nails Skills Competition


See link below for the story by the Brockville Recorder and Times




  1. Image result for condolencesGord Brown, M.P.:  I was truly saddened by Gord’s sudden passing. He was a gentleman and a great supporter of all our activities and projects. Gord and Steve and I often met at various community functions throughout Ward 4 and I kept him apprised of all reports such as this one. He will surely be missed.




    Image result for class of students caricatureClass presentations:  Earlier this spring, I was pleased to accept invitations to speak about the role of the Trustee to Mr. Fogel’s GISS Civics Class and the Sweets Corners Grade 5/6 class.  I went in prepared with handouts, case studies and a Power point presentation.  It was rewarding to don my old teacher’s hat. In spite of a rather “heavy” topic, the students were interested and interactive.  Nevertheless, I knew then the reason for my retirement from the teaching profession. J



    Image result for politicians meeting caricatureCommunity Planning and Partnership Annual Meeting




Two meetings were held with our community partners on June 6th (East) and 8th (West). The purpose was to promote a stronger working relationship with area municipalities and service organizations.


Staff shared the potential use of surplus space in schools within the Upper Canada District School Board for leasing purposes. These planning sessions also provided key information about the level of “community use” of Board facilities including variety of forms, including but not limited to community meetings, evening exercise classes, sports activities, soccer field use. In November 2017, the Board revised its Policy on Partnerships, Sponsorships and/or Cooperative Ventures. This revised policy emphasizes the importance of these opportunities for the Upper Canada District School Board and its specific interest in seeking and being updated on developments that result in benefits for our students or that enhances the value of our site operations where they may be the co-location of local services. With the introduction of the Community Planning and Partnership (CPP) model across Ontario in 2015-16, the Board has received 16 on-line expressions of interest; three (3) of which have led to more detailed face-to-face discussions to clarify the intentions of the applicants and scope out potential opportunities.


At this year’s CPP meetings municipalities and local agencies learned that 28 sites qualify as having excess space – defined by Board Policy 4002 as having less than 60% utilization in the last 2 years and/or excess of 200 surplus student spaces.


I had the opportunity to meet several Mayors and administrators from local municipalities. Mayor Malanka (Augusta Township), Mayor Sayeau (Edwardsburg-Cardinal) and I discussed a variety of topics in detail.


  1. Image result for budget2018-19 Budget: On May 23rd, 2018, the Board of Trustees passed a budget of $370,420,818 plus capital expenditures of $44,753,157.










  1. T. R. Leger Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education Graduation (Central Region)





Director Sliwa, Principal McInnes and Valedictorian Melissa Wood-Walsh



T.R. Leger Central Region Graduation: It was privilege to see these adult graduates who have persevered in the face of many challenges and obstacles.  The two valedictorians delivered emotional and heart-wrenching speeches.  The evening was, as usual, an uplifting experience. The T.R. Leger Secondary School is spread over three regions (East, Central and West) in over 14 campuses.  340 adult graduates crossed the line with their Ontario Secondary School Diploma in June, 2018.  Congratulations!




  1. June 22nd visit to Meadowview P.S.: This morning at Meadowview PS...Here I am presenting Mrs. Mooney her Director’s Award of Merit for her enriching teaching in the area of outdoor education, environmental studies nutrition… Took a risk as I stood between 80 students and their field trip to Kingston. Mr. Ken Major, Lead Custodian, Mr.Dave Corney and XXXXXXXXXXXXX also received Health and Safety Awards.  Congratulations to everyone.











19. Linklater P.S. Visit to the Board Office: Students from Linklater examined the Board’s Strategic Plan and made inferences from actual examples in their school and classes.  They posted their results on the CREW bulletin board.  At the Board table, they asked extremely insightful questions to Chair McMillan, Director Sliwa and me about the UCDSB and our roles.  Their presence in


the building created a real buzz.






    1. Image result for electionRe-election: On May 1st, 2018, I filed my nomination papers for the position of Trustee (Ward 4) for the Upper Canada District School Board. Over the past two terms, I have tried to be a dedicated advocate of our 9 schools in the 5 municipalities of Athens, Leeds and the 1000 Islands, Elizabethtown-Kitley, Front of Yonge and the Town of Gananoque. Although I have worked diligently to promote educational issues for the benefit of student achievement and wellness, my greatest joy is working with parents, municipalities, school councils and agencies. That is my #1 priority. Together, we go further. Election Day for Municipal Councillors, Mayors and Trustees is October 22nd, 2018.













Student entertainment

Teacher Brenda Asselin and results of student fundraising

Smudging Ceremony upon departure

Chef Hill and his class receiving accolades from gracious guests

May 16, 2018 TIES production of ANNIE:  IT WAS MARVELOUS




Monday, May 7, 2018 PINEVIEW P.S. Truth and Reconciliation +3


Over 250 students from the Athens Family of Schools learned about authentic Indigenous culture, history, games and food.


Takeways from the Municipal Drug Strategy Session held at Gananoque Intermediate Secondary School April 5, 2018




The 2.5 hour MDS session at GISS was very informative.  Highlights which I picked up:




  • Dr. Paula Hunter, the Medical Officer of Health in L-G &L,  highlighted the goal of the Health Unit and of this session which was to promote healthy living lifestyles and reduce harm.  Other strategies include: building on individual and community assets; using health promotion strategies; supporting developmental assets and resiliency; early recognition, intervention and support are key.




  • The use of cannabis in Leeds-Grenville & Lanark is very common and wide-spread among all age groups.  For example, 23% of population reported using cannabis at least once in the past year. One in six in the over 65 age group use cannabis. Use is more prevalent in rural versus urban areas.

  • Starting cannabis use early (prior to mid-20s in age), while the brain is still developing, may lead to more lasting problems.

  • Drug use increased as students advance from Grade 7 – Grade 12 (2% to 36.9%).  Alcohol use from students in Gr. 7 – 12 ranged from 10.5% - 68.3 %.1 % of students in Grades 7 -12 use cannabis daily. One in eight used cannabis and alcohol on the same occasion at least once per year. These statistics are from the CAMH (Centre for Alcohol and Mental Health) which conducted the Ontario Youth Drug Study. See link below.


  • There are numerous reasons why people use cannabis and one is anxiety and stress reduction.  Unfortunately, the opposite effect sometimes occurs leading to psychosis and schizophrenia.

  • Though drugs were the focus of this session, there are equal or more serious implications for the use and abuse of alcohol.

  • The major factor in the use of drugs is the potential harm to the human brain which continues to develop into the mid 20’s.

  • There is definitely insufficient data and research to determine the safe levels of drug use.

  • How best to address the issue with kids?  Heather D’Alessio, a student at Algonquin and an Exective Board member for CSSDP (the Canadian Students For Sensible Drug Policy) had an “in” and
     “out” list of actions.  For example, lecturing, stigmatizing, shocking, etc. were out.  Really “in” was having student-lead, peer to peer conversations, evidence-based opportunities, going beyond the facts and non-judgmental discussions.  In other words, DON’T SAY NO, JUST SAY KNOW.

  • Michael DeVillaer, an Associate Professor at McMaster University, focused on the complexity of the new cannabis legislation.  Of particular interest was the trend in product development and marketing to normalize drug use.  Why are there so many flavoured vodkas?  To attract new customers.  Will the same occur with cannabis which can be used in so many ways.

  • Implications for school boards:  How do we deal with this?  Do the boards’ alcohol and substance abuse policies really address the issue?




The municipalities of the Town of Gananoque, the Township of Leeds and the 1000 Island and the Township of Rideau Lakes are to be commended for initiating this information session and their leadership under Mayors Baptista, Demchuk and Holman.




Where next?




John McAllister,


UCDSB Trustee







Trustee Report


April 5, 2018




  1. The recipients of the Director’s Award for this past quarter were announced recently.  Nominations are now open for this coming quarter.  There are three other possible awards for which nominations can be made:  Volunteer Award, Service Award and Trustee Innovation Award.  Information about all four can be found at the following link:



  2. At a recent Board meeting, the Social Media Policy was amended and renamed to “Appropriate Use of Technology”.  The amendment covers not just social media but all digital communication: on-line technology, email, text messaging, video conferencing, applications.  The key point is that the use of all digital communication by staff and students must be responsible, respectful and lawful.




  1. An update to the Director’s Work Plan (DWP) was shared.  This plan is based on the Trustee Work Plan which addresses four areas: the graduation rate, staff culture, student culture and the community.  The DWP update outlines the status of the actions in each category.  This report is one of three each year and is significant in that it impacts the work of all staff and, in particular, each School Improvement Plan For Student Achievement and Wellness. 





  1. I am pleased to be part of the UCDSB delegation which will be attending the Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health next week in Toronto.




  1. Looking forward to the Truth and Reconciliation + 3 event which will hosted by Pineview beginning May 7th.




  1.  Today I will be attending 3:00 – 5:00  an information event focused on the Municipal Drug Strategy (MDS) at Gananoque Intermediate Secondary School. An MDS is a grass-root, multi-sectoral approach for addressing substance misuse in our community.  A four pillar approach of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement guide the work to reduce harms associated with drugs, including but not limited to alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs and street drugs. Municipalities involved include the Town of Gananoque, the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands and the Township of Rideau Lakes.


Municipal Drug Strategy Terms of Reference.




  1. Information from the Leeds-Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit:


    The nomination process for Asset Builders is now open! Please pass it on to your youth groups and other contacts!


    Do you know someone who makes a difference in the lives of children & youth?

    Every Kid in Our Communities would like to hear about these individuals, businesses, and/or organizations, and recognize them at an "Asset Builders" event on April 29th at the YMCA of Brockville & Area.



    Please submit your nominations by April 18th, 2018 to<> or fax to 613-345-2879. Please see attached, or visit<> for more information, and to access the nomination form.







This newsletter can be found at the following link:$file/McAllister_2018%2003March%20Trustee%20Spring%20Report.pdf



Bus cancellations


January 16, 2018- 11:27 A.M.




Dear parents,




Re: bus cancellations




Let me start by saying that it is far better to be having this kind of a conversation rather than having to explain an injury, or God forbid, a death of a student due to an accident.




NEWS FLASH: As I write this note, I have just received a call from our Superintendent that a bus to Pineview Public School slipped into the ditch this morning.  Fortunately, there were no injuries or bruises, etc.  However, it goes to show you how precarious the situation is from time to time.




I realize that there have been numerous questions about the recent snow days.  In truth, it would appear that there have been days when the buses should have been cancelled and visa versa. Why are all buses cancelled?  I asked and the answer is as follows:  It involves the fact that there are many Board-wide-related activities, boundaries do not go in a straight line, cross-boundary pickups are often the norm, weather patterns are unpredictable and changeable, etc. For those reasons and others, both the Catholic Board and the UCDSB decided on this protocol of cancelling all schools.




The problem is that predicting the weather and the ensuing road conditions is not an exact science.  It also depends on where you live, i.e. on a rural road or in a more urban area.  Often, the same bus travels in both areas.




Here is a bit of background:  STEO (Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario) is the transportation consortium whose member boards are the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and the Upper Canada District School Board. STEO was initiated as a consortium in February, 2012 as a result of student transportation reforms initiated by the Ministry of Education. The mandate of STEO is to manage and deliver student transportation services efficiently and effectively for approximately 33,000 students.




It is complicated by the geographical territory of the two Boards.  Here are a few stunning numbers:




  • Number of students  transported:  33,000

  • Number of UCDSB schools: 86

  • Number of CDSBEO schools: 42

  • Territory: 12, 165 square kilometres

  • Number of bus companies (operators): 30

  • Number of runs: 1,114

  • Budget: $34,304,173




STEO is administered independently by its staff and reports to a Board of Directors comprised of two Trustees from each Board and an Administrative Committee comprised of the Superintendent of Business from each Board and the STEO General Manager/CAO.  Trustees Jeff McMillan and I are the two voting members from the UCDSB.   We meet four-five times per year or, as necessary.




It has been an interesting experience to say the least but one which, overall, in my opinion, serves the students and parents of our communities very well.  I am attaching the link to STEO in case you have further questions:








I have sought clarification about the decision-making process. I have copied the response below.  I would concur that getting the kids to school in some areas of the Board would seem not to be a problem.  However, getting them home SAFELY is a daunting task on some roads. The process of deciding if and when to cancel buses (schools are open) admittedly is not an exact science nor is weather forecasting.  While past decisions on certain days were questionable due to changing forecasts, I agree with the decision made today. Hopefully, we can agree to disagree in the most congenial of ways.




Input from Superintendent Ron Ferguson regarding last week’s cancellations:




Living in our northern climate means that there may be times when the weather will cause school bus and special vehicle transportation to be disrupted. The Upper Canada District School Board works cooperatively with Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO), bus contractors and our coterminous Boards to ensure that our approach to transportation during these times is coordinated and planned with the safety of students in mind.


STEO receives up-to-date information regarding local weather and road conditions from Pelmorex/The Weather Network. STEO also has 18 road captains throughout our region who drive the roads each morning to determine road safety. Decisions concerning the cancellation of school bus and special vehicle transportation are made cooperatively based upon this information by 5:30am at the latest. It can be difficult to predict if the forecast will materializes but we do the best we can with the information we gather from 4am to 5:30am.


As for today’s decision, there were some areas of our board where roads were not plowed before the cutoff time. I happen to live on one such road and I can attest that it was treacherous this morning for my commute. Additionally, the forecast at 5am today was calling for up to 20 centimeters of snow in some areas and 50KM hour winds blowing it around especially along the St. Lawrence. Time will tell if this occurs as the forecast has now changed and less is called for. (Also of note, the Limestone Board made a decision independent from us to cancel their transportation as well due to the approaching system.)




Unless otherwise announced, schools will remain open for students and staff, even if transportation is cancelled.




Dear parents, I hope this clarification helps in explaining the decision-making process concerning bus cancellations.  I should also note that while buses may not be running, the schools are open.  Our staffs do their best to make this opportunity a wholesome and positive learning experience.















Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing


Parents Cerian Brown and Megan Simmons, School Council Chair












August 26th, 2017 Rockport 150th celebrations

The value of Full Day Kindergarten: an investment in our future:

I was pleased to participate in these celebrations.  It was "a fashion walk" through time with food, displays, music and, finally, the unveiling of the bell which will be a centerpiece on the roof of the new pavilion.

July 25, 2017


Our Family Welcomes Yours




I welcome parents to view the video "A day in the life of an elementary school student in the the Upper Canada District School Board". Full disclosure: I am a proud Trustee with the UCDSB. However, I know personally many of the Principals, Vice-principals, teachers, Educational Assistants, Behaviourists, custodians, front office staff, psychometrists, psychologists and all the other support personnel  this Board provides to help all students achieve and succeed. This support is truly remarkable! Letting go of your child is a huge step for parents. As a parent and grandparent, I know. Your child will be entering a centre of caring and loving adults who will go the extra mile. These are professionals who choke up at the end of June knowing their charges are leaving for two months. And now, as we look towards that first day of school in September, our family welcomes yours. These are more than just words.  We care. Have a great year.  







June 5-8, 2017


Canadian School Boards Association Congress


I have attended this conference for a number of years and I have learned a great deal.  My report to the Board can be found at this link:$file/McAllister_CSBA%20Summary%20Report_2017%2007Jul3.pdf



GSS GRADUATION June 27, 2017









Athens DHS Grade 8 Graduation June 27, 2017




For the Year in Ward 4, UCDSB

~ June, 2017 ~

To the community, parents, staff and students in the larger Board area but, particularly, those in the Ward 4 schools:

       Lyn Public School

       Front of Yonge Public School

       Thousand Islands Elementary School

       Linklater Public School

       Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School

       Sweets Corners Elementary School

       Pineview Public School

       Athens District High School

       Meadowview Public School

I send my greetings, thanks and best wishes for a good year, a beautiful and safe summer.

This will be my fourth newsletter as well as numerous mini-reports delivered to individual school councils.  How does one summarize succinctly the events and business of the Board given the numerous issues, the many meetings and the multitude of events in each school? Impossible without being tedious, boring and irrelevant! So, I will highlight a few and say the rest visually.

*                                                   Pupil Accommodation Review (school closures) It has been a tumultuous year to say the least. Eight schools were approved for closure this year and four next year.  The challenge at this point is the planned transition from one site to another.  I have heard that

this planning is going very well.


*                                                   Jane Holski, Paul Hannah, Alan Perry and Sharon

Halladay are retiring from Meadowview, Sweets Corners, Front of Yonge and Rideau respectively.  Thank you for your years of service and happy retirement.

Lyn:                                            Teresa Polite

Front of Yonge:                           Jennifer Moore

Thousand Islands E.S.                           Suzanne Morrison

Meadowview                                 Dave Corney

Sweets Corners                           Valerie Horsfall

Athens DHS                              Dave Pier (VP to be announced)

Gananoque Intermediate S.S.         Bill Loshaw


The Board and School Improvement Plans For Student Achievement: These are key strategies being implemented this school year at the Board level and at each school to promote and ensure

student achievement and well-being especially in areas of numeracy and literacy. Every school has a “school improvement template”. Within each school and Family of schools, there are learning teams focusing on literacy and math goals and the strategies to arrive at improvement which, hopefully, will be reflected in EQAO scores and the OSSLT (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test). 

Student and staff wellness continue to be a focus especially with the seemingly increasing issues relevant to drug abuse, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.  The positive is the primary focus is on mental health literacy for

everyone.  The focus of a recent Living Well Committee meeting was the following:

o Mental health vision o School and student-based o Actionable data

o Pathways: truly defining the human resources o Pathways: four distinct regions in UCDSB

§  Proposing to use the suicide pathway as a model for the larger mental health plan o Example: Board response to TTFM and Ipsos-Reid student and staff culture survey and high levels of anxiety: pilot project to tackle issue of student wellness

§  How do we respond to this data? 

§  6 students from various schools, 1 staff member and 1 administrator went to work to dig deeper using the structure “We asked, You said and We’re doing”.

§  Shared responses

§  An example of how to go from data to action – to improve student wellness

Board, Committee and School Council Meetings: The Board of Trustees meets twice per month. In addition, I sit on such committees as: Audit, Living Well, Expulsion and a few more.  In addition, I do my best to attend and report to the nine School Councils on a regular basis.


*    Projects on the go….track rehabilitation at Sweets

Corners, arch installation at Lansdowne Friendship Garden at TIES, track/paving at Pineview and more.


*    150th Celebrations:  Each school in the Upper Canada District School Board celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary in its own unique way.  It was a blast. From all the celebrations at each school, the Board solicited presentations

for the Official UCDSB 150th Celebration.  That honour was awarded to Wellington Elementary School in Prescott and culminated with the prize of a student-designed garden in the front of the school.  The official unveiling ceremony on June 16th consisted of songs, a cake, a personalized video by

His Excellency the Governor-General David Johnston and the ribbon-cutting.

this unique image of the Canadian Flag

     Figure 3 - The official ribbon-cutting                                    Figure 4 - Congratulations to Wellington


Dear volunteers: School Council members, readers, hot lunches, Christmas dinners, snacks, coaching … and so much more. You are the heart and soul of our schools and add so much to the lives of our students.  Thank you.

                                                                                         Figure 2 - Meadowview Christmas Luncheon



Figure 1 - Meadowview Christmas Luncheon



* The budget: Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board passed the 2017-2018 budget on Wednesday night.

The budget includes $357 million in operating expenses and $32 million in planned capital expenses.

12 UCDSB gained an EcoSchool designation this year. 

"The Ontario EcoSchools program is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that

nurtures environmental leaders, reduces the ecological impact of schools, and builds environmentally responsible school communities.  

Quick Facts

  UCDSB quick fact: For the 2016-17 school year, 2 schools achieved Bronze level, 8 Silver level, and 2 Platinum.


ü   Meadowview Public School

ü   Lyn Public School


ü   Front of Yonge Elementary School

ü   Caldwell Street Elementary School

ü   Drummond Central School

ü   Thousand Islands Elementary School

ü   Rideau Vista Public School

ü   SJ McLeod Public School

ü   Montague Public School

ü   The Stewart Public School Bronze:

ü   Bridgewood Public School

ü   Williamstown Public School



My Cycle For Sight Project June 5, 2017