Kids’ safety includes better management of class sizes and facilities…

With week 1 of school completed, comments about class sizes and facilities are timely. 

While the Ministry of Education sets class size limits that vary by level, the effective implementation of those varies by school.  During the run up to the first day of school and frankly for most of the school year there’s a juggling act the school administrative staff undertake to forecast demand for teachers as well as students.  When it works, everyone is happy; when it does not, the opposite holds true.

To the extent possible class sizes should be equitable across relevant grades.  That does not mean equal numbers of students though.  All students are individuals and some may require more attention from teachers than others, based on the Individual Education Plan (“IEP”).  So school administrative staff should look at each IEP and ensure those needs can be met by the relevant teacher, without undue burden. 

Logic would dictate the older students are on upper floor(s) of schools and in a second let’s touch on the use of portables…

Size limits are helpful to improve social interactions, learning and safety of the students and staff.

Regarding actual school facilities, despite the provincial claims of success in retrofits of schools for improved ventilation, there are many schools, including in DDSB, that have only had portable air filter units installed.  As we look forward to the future where schools become community hubs for maximum use after school hours, it’s clear the HVAC requires serious upgrades, especially to show leadership in climate change actions.  That would in my mind include: solar panels, heat pumps, water recycling, bike storage racks, etc.

Portables seem to be a permanent reality in most schools.  I’ve talked to some parents who are frustrated that:

  • Students can be in portables for many years, and are not consciously rotated into the school proper, while teachers might well get rotated
  • School boards seem incapable of ensuring schools are constructed when needed, especially in new neighbourhoods, leading to more busing and more portables
  • Student forecasting models assume less than 1.5 students per household.  In many communities this means the schools are too small as families may send 3 or more students to schools, hence the high demand for portables

In summary, the DDSB needs better school population forecasting methods, practices and tools to better match community needs, support the needs of students and educators and keep kids safe.

Lots more to talk about, stay tuned!  Let me know of any topics you’d like to hear about.

When elected this will be an important initiative I will spearhead. 


Remember in Ajax you can vote starting on October 17.

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