In the Media
Natalie Waddell Advocating For ADHD on The Agenda

The Agenda with Steve Paikin

May 10, 2018

I was honoured to join in a discussion about ADHD in the classroom and to have the opportunity to speak about a Motion I took to the Ontario Public School Board Association for their consideration at the association’s annual general meeting.

Waterloo Region public board to protest interim sex-ed curriculum

“It is difficult to adhere to policies, legislation and our strategic plan, but the human rights code overrides everything,” stated Waddell during the meeting. “We, trustees and staff, have a responsibility to make sure our marginalized students are not being discriminated against.”

Waterloo Region trustee wins support to lobby for rights for kids with ADHD

Natalie Waddell, a Waterloo Region District School Board trustee representing Kitchener, won the backing of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association for her efforts to recognize children with ADHD as “exceptional learners,” much like autistic children, giving them legal rights to educational accommodations in school for their disability.

Advocating For Students With ADHD

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is said to be the most common mental health condition in childhood, yet advocates argue there is still a lack of awareness surrounding the neurodevelopmental disorder, much to the detriment of students. Joining The Agenda to explain are Dr. Ainslie Gray of the Springboard Clinic, Heidi Bernhardt of the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada, and Waterloo Region public school trustee Natalie Waddell.

More supports needed for students with ADHD, trustee says

A trustee with Waterloo region’s public school board says the Ministry of Education is failing students with ADHD by not automatically identifying them as exceptional learners.

“It’s time for our province to really recognize that these children have a neurological condition that interferes with their learning,” Natalie Waddell told CBC News.

Waterloo Region trustee lobbying to support kids with ADHD

Kitchener trustee Natalie Waddell, whose 11-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADHD, wants Ontario public school boards to jointly lobby the province to include ADHD among education exceptions requiring schools to modify learning strategies to accommodate learning challenges.

Waterloo region teachers wearing Kevlar as violence in classroom grows

At the committee meeting Monday, school board trustee Natalie Waddell put forth a motion to write to Ontario’s Ministry of Education and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association to call for more funding to address workplace violence and aggression in the classroom.

Year-round schools catch attention of Waterloo Region District School Board trustees

“I do think that it is an idea that does warrant conversation and consideration at the board table,” trustee Natalie Waddell said.

Trustees boost school volunteers after student outcry

Elementary students staged hallway protests when teachers withdrew from after-school activities last year to bargain for their latest union contract.

As Waddell proposes, volunteers would be allowed to supervise after-school activities such as drama and chess clubs. These are activities inside schools that are deemed lesser risks.

Volunteers could step in for extracurriculars during strikes

Trustee Natalie Waddell, who spearheaded the move to allow volunteer participation, was elated her motion will finally come into play, especially after being delayed repeatedly for various reasons. She has long argued that extracurricular activities are vital to a student’s well-being.

Internet filter experts needed to protect children, say some school board trustees

Waddell acknowledges the Waterloo Region’s public school district – which is wrestling with the same Internet safety issues as many other boards – is working to address the problem, but suggests it’s time to bring in the experts.

Allow parents to aid with extracurriculars: trustee

Spurred by the cancellations of sports and student clubs due to job action taken by Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Waterloo Region District School Board trustee Natalie Waddell is raising the issue in hopes of changing the board’s policies that currently don’t allow parents to run extracurricular activities.

Sloganeering T-shirts not banned at school board meetings after all

“Giving people a chance to voice their concerns in an orderly and peaceful manner is a cornerstone of democracy, and I believe that trustees, as elected officials, have a significant role to play in ensuring a system of democracy is upheld,” Waddell told the Times.

“Had the decisions last month gone the other way, I personally believe that it would have hindered the ability of stakeholders to come forward and express their concerns, and it would have hindered our ability to know what stakeholders’ concerns are.”

Some trustees vote against hearing parent delegation

Why was there an attempt to muzzle me at last month’s Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) meeting? Apparently they didn’t want to hear what I had to say — so much so that they publicly voted against granting the opportunity for me to speak before the ratification.

School board approves budget, $900,000 in administration renos

Parent Natalie Waddell, a Kitchener parent who is running for a seat on the public school board, lambasted trustees Monday night for spending money on “unnecessary” renovations at the education centre.

Waddell told the Times she was worried her concerns wouldn’t be heard before trustees voted on the budget. Although several trustees voted against a request to allow her to make her delegation prior to the vote, she was given the go-ahead to address the board.

Ed centre renos are ‘unnecessary’, says parent and trustee-hopeful

“It really is a no-brainer that now isn’t the time to be spending on unnecessary upgrades,” contends Kitchener parent Natalie Waddell, who is also running for trustee on the public school board.

Waddell challenged the board’s logic, questioning how many meetings need to accommodate 200 people. A survey conducted by the board to help gauge spending priorities, clearly said no more spending on the education centre, she noted.

Board should create a concussion policy

I grew up in the 1970s, when the public elementary schools flooded the playgrounds and created rinks, and we skated at lunchtime.

We didn’t wear helmets, simply because it was before society became aware of head safety and the serious — and often permanent — health implications that even the slightest jolt can cause. It wasn’t until 1979 when helmets became mandatory equipment in professional hockey that people started to notice.

Future of J.W. Gerth

A working group recommends grade 5 and 6 students here, be sent to Doon Public School.

“There was a lot of emotion, a lot of things to consider, so it was very difficult” says Natalie Waddell. In just five years, J.W. Gerth Public School has swelled and now has 200 more students than it was built for.

Battle over south Kitchener school boundaries may lead to legal action

Natalie Waddell sits on a coalition of parents and board planners which will help shape which option is selected; their final meeting is tomorrow.

“We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each of the options and presumably we’ll be making a choice as to which one to recommend. ”

Public school board plans new ways to ignore parents

“Parents have a right to be heard,” argues parent Natalie Waddell, who was heavily involved in the extended daycare debate. “And board meetings are the only forum where parents have an opportunity to speak publicly on these matters.”

If these proposed rules had been in place, Waddell says it would’ve been impossible to mount as effective a campaign against the board’s extended day proposal. No doubt that’s the point to this whole exercise.

Public board eyeing custom daycare model

Waterloo Region RecordSome outspoken parents, including Natalie Waddell, who created the group WRDSB Concerned Parents website, maintains the board’s latest proposal comes from administration staff, not elected trustees.

The Waterloo Region Catholic School Board announced several weeks ago it would honour the concerns of thousands of parents who wanted to keep third-party daycare operators in schools.

D’Amato: The discussion can now begin on bigger child care issues

Waterloo Region RecordThere is also the concern that there will be as many as 15 children to one supervisor in the board-run programs, which have less stringent standards to meet than agencies like the Y. What happens if a child trips, falls, and knocks his teeth out? The one supervisor has to comfort the child, call the parents or an ambulance, and watch the rest of the children, with no one around but the janitor, who may or may not be within reach. “It just blows my mind,” says Kitchener mom Natalie Waddell, “that anyone in the school board thinks it’s acceptable.”

Extended day programs ill-conceived

Waterloo Region RecordThe Waterloo Region District School Board is proclaiming to parents that it intends to run extended day programs in schools with approximately 10 students. This is their plan, despite the fact that they are only legislatively required to run programs if the class size is 20 or more.

The board intends to make a class size of 10 viable by having just one instructor on site. By law, they only require one adult for up to 15 children.

Braving the elements to protest daycare changes

Waterloo Region Record To keep spirits up, they sang a twisted verse from the Village People tune YMCA.

“Incredible there is this many people out here, given the weather,” said Natalie Waddell, who started a website on the issue and has a five-year-old in the Y program at Gerth.

The seamless day

570 news Concerned parent Natalie Waddell told 570 News that’s what bothers her most about the seamless day model, “there is no summer care for our children, so there seamless day is for 10 months of the year but for the other 2 months of the year we have to hustle around, so I mean that’s not very seamless.”

Natalie Waddell is the founder of an awareness website which has become a rallying point for parents. It features a petition as well as more information.

Parents want consultation on board-run daycare

Kitchener Post Natalie Waddell, among other delegates, asked trustees to sign a motion that was put forward by trustee Cindy Watson asking the school board to hold special consultation meetings before any changes are made.

“Not only do you have a moral obligation to do so, but you also have a legal obligation under the Education Act of this province to bring our concerns forward,” said Waddell.

Seamless day sparks debate

Waterloo Chronicle
Natalie Waddell was one of many delegates who asked trustees to sign a motion put forward by trustee Cindy Watson asking the school board to hold special consultation meetings before any changes are made.

“Not only do you have a moral obligation to do so, but you also have a legal obligation under the Education Act of this province to bring our concerns forward,” said Waddell.

Parents demand say in child care debate

Waterloo Region Record Two trustees — Cindy Watson and Colin Harrington — are seeking support from fellow trustees to support a motion allowing public consultation on the plan. Parents who have added their names to a growing petition — 339 names and counting — want their voices heard, said parent Natalie Waddell.

“Not only do you have a moral obligation to do so,” she told trustees, “but you also have a legal obligation under the Education Act of this province to bring our concerns forward.”

Parents deserve a say on daycare takeover plans

Waterloo Region Record Waddell has organized an online petition ( to rally support for existing daycares in our region. “The result has been overwhelming,” says Waddell. In less than a week she’s heard from numerous families across the region demanding their voices be heard. “We’re parents. And we want to be consulted,” she told me.

Parents concerned about changes to daycare

The The possible impact of changes planned for daycare programs at Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) facilities has many parents worried.

Natalie Waddell is a busy working mom with a five-year-old son, and she isn’t happy with what could change.

“We took steps to make a plan that works for us and the board is just taking that away.”

Parents concerned about changes to daycare

CTV News KitchenerWaddell is among the parents who feel removing third party day care providers like the local YWCA could make the service more expensive, force them to find other summer arrangements and leave them without options when their children turn eight.

She has started an online petition to have the board reconsider the move.

Stop board-run daycare petition launched

A Kitchener mother is launching a petition in hopes of preventing the public school board from taking over before-and-after daycare programs at elementary schools across the region.

Natalie Waddell, whose sons attends J.W. Gerth Public School in Kitchener, is incensed by soon-to-be implemented changes that will see the Waterloo Region District School Board begin operating before- and after-school daycares, currently run by third-party providers on school sites.