Mississauga High School Cancels Courses Due to Province’s Education Overhaul

 

Travel and tourism. Anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Music. World Issues.

Unless the Peel District School Board (and all Ontario school boards, for that matter) receive some good news from the provincial government, these Cawthra Park Secondary School courses will be cancelled due to proposed changes to class sizes.

"As schools embark on the next phase of the staffing process, they are finding gaps in timetables for students that they are being challenged to fill given increases to class size. We are also seeing less choice for students in the course re-selection process as schools focus on offering courses students are required to take to graduate with a diploma or certificate" Peter Joshua, Director of Education with the Peel District School Board (PDSB), said in a statement that was emailed to insauga.com

The news that Cawthra Park Secondary School will potentially be cancelling courses—which was initially reported in the Globe and Mail and subsequently confirmed by the board in an email to insauga.com—comes a few days after the board announced that it would be laying off over 300 teachers.

The PDSB—which oversees public schools in Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon—recently confirmed that, due to impending funding cuts at the provincial level, it was forced to declare 330 teachers surplus.

The layoffs can, however, be called off if the Doug Ford government comes through with increased funding.

“We are still waiting for the Ministry of Education to make an announcement on Grants for Students Needs funding. However, today we will be declaring teachers surplus given changes to class size averages and cuts in funding to date,” Ryan Reyes, manager of communications and community relations, PDSB, said in a previous email to insauga.com.

“If there is good news in the upcoming grant announcement, these teachers that are being declared surplus to the region may be reinstated as permanent as of September 1.”

The layoffs were announced in response to the Ford government's proposal to cut central staffing at the school board level and increase class sizes.

On April 16, the PDSB declared a total of 292 teachers surplus (which means there will be no permanent teaching positions available for them come the fall). The affected educators include 99 elementary teachers and 193 secondary teachers. Reyes said the board already declared 38 elementary teachers surplus due to the loss of local priorities funding.

Because schools do not yet know what kind of funding expect from the province, Cawthra Park is planning to cut some courses and scale back others. If adequate funding is announced, the cuts could be altered.

"This is what Cawthra Park SS is planning to do given their staffing at this point in time," Carla Pereira, director of communications and community relations, PDSB, said in an email to insauga.com.

"If there are changes, including changes that come out of today’s ministry announcement, which we are still investigating, these could change again."  

Pereira added that course selection is never static at this time and course offerings can change even in a year as students drop classes.

For the 2019-2020 school year, Cawthra Park will go down from the 75 teachers it currently employs to 70.  As a result, the PDSB says the school had to cut 30 sections for the 2019-2020 school year.

The classes that have been fully-cancelled include:

Grade 10 locally developed math, Grade 11 travel and tourism, Grade 11 anthropology, sociology and psychology, Grade 11 music (regular, not RAP), Grade 12 world issues, Grade 12 earth and space science and coop-2 credit.

Other courses have been cut down and will run with fewer sessions. Those courses include Grade 9 regional music, Grade 9 applied science, Grade 9 academic science, Grade 10 academic history, Grade 10 food and nutrition, Grade 11 photography, Grade 11 accounting, Grade 11 chemistry, Grade 12 repertoire music, Grade 12 physics and more.

"At this point in time, we will be able to timetable for our grade 9s and 10s, but many of our grade 11s and 12s will be without sections," Pereira said in an email.

The PDSB says guidance counsellors and other staff will work with students to help them select courses required for graduation and to support their post-secondary pathway goals.

"Students will be offered all of the options available to them to take courses they are interested in or required to take for graduation. That could include e-learning, Night School and Summer School options," Pereira says.

Previously, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said that teachers will not be subjected to layoffs and that any jobs lost will be lost through attrition (retirements or resignations) alone. Thompson did say that teachers who quit or retire will not be replaced.

A funding announcement—that could potentially save jobs and courses—should come down from the province today.

In the meantime, the school boards are making preparations.

"As a board, we are operationalizing the impact larger class sizes will have on student learning, in particular, our ability to provide an array of pathway course options. We see the direct impact this is having on schools' ability to offer specialized courses in the arts, technology, and social sciences," said Stan Cameron, chair of the board, in an emailed statement to insauga.com.

"Offering a variety of pathway courses to differentiate for student interests and needs continues to be a goal. We call on the government to provide school boards with the funding needed to support the success and well-being of all learners."

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