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    More supports needed for students with ADHD, trustee says

    cbc news

    Natalie Waddell says the way children with ADHD are identified in the system is problematic

    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.

     

    Read the full article at cbc.ca

  • news

    Waterloo Region trustee lobbying to support kids with ADHD

    Cambridge Times

    Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have a right to individualized learning, says trustee

    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.

     

    Read the full article at cambridgetimes.ca

  • news

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

    Cambridge Times

    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.

    Improving content filtering levels is vital, she argues, especially since the school district will depend more on technology as it moves toward a paperless system.

     

    Read the full article at cambridgetimes.ca

  • news

    Some trustees vote against hearing parent delegation

    Kitchener Post

    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. I have to wonder what they are afraid of. Or why they don’t feel granting five minutes of time to a concerned parent is worth the effort.

    Read the Letter to the Editor

  • news

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

    Cambridge TimesParent 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.

    “In the three years that I have been attending all board meetings, I have never ever seen a single one of them cast a vote against moving the delegations forward,” she said.

    Read the full article at CambridgeTimes.ca.

  • news

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

    Waterloo Region Record“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.

    “There were many comments about not spending unnecessarily on the ‘Ed Centre’ but they are going ahead anyway.”

    Read the full article at TheRecord.com.

  • news

    Board should create a concussion policy

    Waterloo Region Record

    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.

    Last year, the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre reported there were 928 emergency room visits in 2010 involving concussions caused by falls while either skiing or skating. A helmet will not prevent concussions in all cases, but there is strong evidence that in most cases, they can prevent them, or at least reduce the seriousness of them significantly.

    In light of the mounting research on concussions and the impact they have both in and out of the classroom, the Ontario Liberal government introduced Bill 39, Education Amendment Act (Concussions), 2012.

    This bill, if passed, would require every school board in Ontario to establish policies and guidelines respecting head injuries and concussions. The Toronto District School Board was the first in Canada to create a concussion policy and safety program. It did this in 2011, even before this bill was introduced.

    Read the full letter at therecord.com

  • news

    Future of J.W. Gerth

    CTV News Kitchener

    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.

    “Doon can accommodate more portables in a manner which doesn’t take away from the children’s space” says Natalie Waddell.

    To accommodate the influx of students, it’s being recommended that Doon Public School get an extra five classrooms and five portables at a cost of $2.3 million.

    Watch the full news clip at kitchener.ctvnews.ca

  • Battle over south Kitchener school boundaries may lead to legal action

    CTV News Kitchener

    Parents aren’t happy with plans to redraw school boundaries in Kitchener’s south end – and at least one parent says legal recourse may be an option.

    At issue is J.W. Gerth Public School on Apple Ridge Drive.

    The school is overpopulated, and the Waterloo Region District School Board has proposed two options for dealing with that issue.

    One option would see 118 students, chosen based on where they live, sent to Pioneer Park Public School.

    The other option is to temporarily remove Grade 5 and Grade 6 at J.W. Gerth, and send those students to Doon Public School for two years until a new school is built.

    Parents are split over the issue for a variety of reasons, including the availability of French immersion at J.W. Gerth but not at any of the other schools in the area.

    Watch the full news clip at kitchener.ctvnews.ca

  • Public school board plans new ways to ignore parents

    Waterloo Region Record
    Remember the extended day debate?

    Last fall both local school boards decided to give themselves a monopoly in before- and after-school care of children aged four to seven. It was a decision hatched without public consultation and driven by ideological design.

    What followed was an inspiring demonstration of local democracy. Parents spontaneously mobilized themselves to fight the plan, which was a clear affront to their right to decide who looks after their children outside regular school hours.

    A website sprang up. So did a petition. There were picket sessions in fair and foul weather. The Record was flooded with letters to the editor. And most importantly, parents appeared en masse at board meetings to let trustees know exactly how they felt.

    It worked. Faced with a massive wave of public outrage, and after months of stonewalling and diversionary tactics, the public board finally relented and shelved its takeover plan in February. It was a moment worthy of Frank Capra.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • Public board eyeing custom daycare model

    Waterloo Region Record

    Private, non-profit daycare groups are cautiously optimistic about a public school board proposal that will allow them to continue providing before- and after-school daycare at schools.

    A report by Waterloo Region District School Board staff, set to be introduced at a board meeting Monday night after the Times’ deadline, recommends the board embrace a customized community extended daycare model. This model will let third-party daycares already established in schools to continue offering care on-site alongside a board-run daycare program. Under the newly proposed model, daycares will still be able to offer care to four to seven year olds. Previously, the board planned to take over daycare at all school sites for this group, an age range that generates the most clients, thus the greatest revenue.

    The sudden departure follows months of backlash from parents who say the board was taking away their rights to choose daycare operators and driving up the cost of daycare across the region.

    Local non-profit daycare groups joined forces and formed an Early Learning Coalition, headed up by Cambridge YMCA chief executive officer John Haddock.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

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

    Waterloo Region Record

    The public school board in Waterloo Region is poised to react gracefully and generously tonight to the storm of criticism they’ve received from parents.

    A report will be placed before trustees Monday evening, describing a plan to leave well enough alone when it comes to before- and after-school child care for four- to seven-year-olds.

    Simply put, agencies already offering this care in the schools will be able to continue. Where there isn’t an agency already providing care, the board will do it.

    It’s a simple solution, and also a decent one. It means that organizations like the YMCA can continue to do their work instead of being forced out. And the parents and children who have formed a deep relationship with these agencies, and their child-care workers, will not face uncertainty.

    Last year, the board had planned to push these agencies aside and have a monopoly in all the schools. Parents were furious that their arrangements were being threatened. At first it looked as if the board would wait out the protest and do what it wanted.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • Extended day programs ill-conceived

    Waterloo Region Record

    Re:

    The 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.

    But we all must stop and reflect on just how safe these children will be with only one adult on site. For example, what will happen to the other children if one child simply needs assistance in the washroom? What will happen if some children need to be separated from others because of behavioural issues brought on by group dynamics? What will happen if a child becomes seriously injured or ill? Will that child go unaccompanied in the ambulance? Will all the other children observe the traumatic situation as it unfolds right before their eyes?

    Read the full letter at therecord.com

  • Braving the elements to protest daycare changes

    Waterloo Region Record

    The tassels on the earflaps of Audrey’s tuque flitted back and forth in a merciless wind. This was no night to be outside. Tuesday night was no January evening to stand with 60 other demonstrators outside Driftwood Park Public School in Kitchener to fight looming changes that would push their cherished third-party providers out of kindergarten daycare programs in Waterloo Region schools.

    Audrey snuggled into her mom’s coat as a sideways snow began.

    “There’s no reason why we can’t have two different systems,” Christine Moores said as she held her daughter, who gets YMCA child care at J.W. Gerth public school in Kitchener. “I’m OK with the Board running their own program. Just don’t take away what’s already working so well.”

    So they stood in the cold and the snow and the wind to fight public and catholic school board plans to take over all before-and-after school care for kindergarten age students in the Region’s schools.

    Most of the protesters arrived with signs before six, a good hour before a community round table discussion on extended day issues was to take place in the warmth of the school gymnasium.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • The seamless day

    570 news

    About 125 people, many of them concerned parents, attended a meeting at Lincoln Road Chapel organized by the Waterloo Region Early Learning Coalition (WRELC) last night.

    They are upset about plans that would see both the local school boards launch a “seamless day”, in which children between 4 and 7 year old would have day care provided by the school board before and after class.

    One trustee from each of the regions school boards was on hand, including Cathy Watson from the public board.

    Watson told 570 News if you missed last nights meeting there is another one tonight, “parents are going to be coming forward and the whole day care coalition (WRELC) are presenting information on the (seamless day).”

    Watson is the trustee who brought forward a motion to open up the discussion to a public consultation, but that motion has failed to get two other trustees to sign off on it.

    Some of the concerns raised by parents include that the “seamless day” is not a “seamless year”, because day care services aren’t provided during the summer months and it doesn’t give parents a choice between third party and the board programs.

    Read the full article at 570news.com

  • Parents want consultation on board-run daycare

    Kitchener Post

    Several parents appeared at the Waterloo Region District School Board meeting Monday night to reiterate their concerns about plans to implement board-run before- and after-school care for four- to seven-year-olds.

    The plan will see the board take over before- and after-school care for students aged four to seven, while third-party providers, such as the YMCA, will continue to manage younger and older age groups.

    However, some parents from schools where third-party care is offered are concerned about the change, including cost increases and lack of summer care.

    “Forcing board run daycare into Ryerson school (Cambridge) will not fill a void of child care, it will create one,” said Ashley Ross.

    She said the four to seven age group subsidizes care for younger children, and if the board takes over that care it will increase daycare costs for toddlers, which will result in lower enrolment and possibly even closure.

    But Mary Lou Mackie, WRDSB executive superintendent of education, said the board has an obligation to offer care at all schools. Currently 28 out of 103 elementary schools have licensed child care and third-party providers offer service for only nine per cent of the junior and senior kindergarten population.

    Read the full article at kitchenerpost.ca

  • Seamless day sparks debate

    Waterloo Chronicle

    Several parents appeared at the Waterloo District School Board meeting Monday night to reiterate their opposition to plans for the board to take over before and after school care.

    The plan will see the board implement before and after school care for students aged four to seven, while third-party providers, such as the YMCA, will continue to manage younger and older age groups.

    Parent concerns about the change included cost increases and lack of summer care.

    “Forcing board run daycare into Ryerson school (Cambridge) will not fill a void of child care, it will create one,” said Ashley Ross.

    She said the four to seven age group subsidizes care for younger children and if the board took over care it would increase daycare costs for toddlers, resulting in lower enrolment and possibly even closure.

    But Mary Lou Mackie, executive superintendent of education, said the board had an obligation to offer care at all schools.

    Currently only 28 out of 103 elementary schools had licensed child care and third-party providers offer service for only nine per cent of the junior and senior kindergarten population.

    Read the full article at waterloochronicle.ca

  • Parents demand say in child care debate

    Waterloo Region Record

    Parents concerned about changes to before and after-school care at elementary schools say they’ve been shut out of the process.

    With a standing-room audience behind them, a handful of speakers chastised public school trustees Monday night for not living up to their own pledges to be open and consultative.

    “We need to be part of this process,” said Chaundra Barker. “Decisions made without dialogue are unhealthy decisions.”

    At issue is the board’s move to take over extended day programs for four- to seven-year-olds from the third-party providers currently offering them at some schools.

    Both the public and Catholic boards plan to assume responsibility for those programs, while offering the third-party providers the chance to run recreational programs for other age groups.

    Parents say they weren’t consulted and their concerns include a loss of summer programming and an increase in cost.

    “We need quality daycare at affordable prices accessible to all types of children, all year long,” said Elaine Brown, whose six-year-old son has cerebral palsy.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • Parents deserve a say on daycare takeover plans

    Waterloo Region Record

    Before we consider the situation in Waterloo Region today, recall a memorable exchange between former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm and a federal bureaucrat about the growth of a U.S. government child care program. The expansion-minded functionary assured Gramm the state could love and care for the senator’s children just as well as he could.

    “Really,” replied Gramm. “Then what are their names?”

    Which brings us to the current debate over seamless-day child care, and yet another absurd bureaucratic attempt to usurp parental decision-making.

    Just as one should never underestimate a parent’s absolute love for their children, neither should one underestimate a bureaucracy’s love for absolute control.

    In 2009 the province announced plans for full-day kindergarten plus morning and afternoon daycare that would allow parents of children ages four to seven drop off their kids at school as early as 7 a.m. and pick them up as late as 6 p.m.

    This was refined in 2010 to allow non-profit operators of daycares currently running programs inside schools, such as YMCA or Owl Child Care, to deliver the child care portion of the program. This is known as the “hybrid model.” Every school board in the province has adopted the hybrid model — except Waterloo Region. Our local public and Catholic school boards intend to make this daycare business their exclusive purview. It is a decision made without any parental input or consultation.

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • Parents concerned about changes to daycare

    The Record.com

    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.”

    Read the full article at therecord.com

  • Parents concerned about changes to daycare

    CTV News Kitchener

    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.”

    Waddell 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.

    “When I built the website I started handing out flyers at my daycare centre, and as I was handing them out people were saying ‘What is this, I don’t understand, why are they doing this?'”

    Read the full article at kitchener.ctvnews.ca

  • Stop board-run daycare petition launched

    Cambridge Times

    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.

    Waddell is concerned parents weren’t part of the consultation equation and is collecting signatures on a petition to raise a collective parent voice.

    “I know that no one individual can have an impact on the decision-makers,” she told the Times, “that the only chance of change would be to unite as a group.”

    Waddell has collected 75 signatures within days of starting the petition.

    The move to stand up for parents was something she felt compelled to do.

    “I honestly haven’t done anything like this before, but I knew if I didn’t do something, and the changes went through quietly, I would have great regrets.”

    Read the full article at cambridgetimes.ca