Trustees spurn SchoolsPlus hubs for Hamilton schools

News Jun 25, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board won’t try to adopt a Nova Scotian program as a model for turning schools into community hubs to provide health and social services to at-risk students.

Trustees opted to take no action on a call by last term’s board to seek provincial funding for a “SchoolsPlus” program after a staff analysis concluded it shows little promise of fulfilling its goal.

They will instead focus on Ontario initiatives, including a community hub framework advisory group created by Premier Kathleen Wynne in March and local strategies that are being developed to improve services for students with special needs.

Introduced in Nova Scotia in 2008, the SchoolsPlus program provides provincial funding to set up a resource room in schools and hire a facilitator to coordinate external services for at-risk students and their families.

“I’m disappointed,” said Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland, who pushed for a pilot project at a half dozen inner-city schools last fall and cast the lone dissenting vote against the decision to not proceed.

“I think they’re stupid,” he said. “I don’t know the direction they’re going, if it’s reasonable. They seem to think so, but I don’t think so.”

However, board chair Todd White said creating community hubs requires a made-in-Hamilton approach that works with other partners, especially the city, and those efforts are already underway.

Apart from the question of where the board would get the funding, initiating a SchoolsPlus program before a framework and provincial support are in place is premature, he said.

“We can’t jump from A to Z without looking at all the steps in between,” White said. “It’s a lot more complicated than just putting one person in a cluster of schools and hoping community hubs will automatically flourish.”

In a presentation to the board’s program committee, superintendent Sharon Stephanian said a staff review found the SchoolsPlus program’s success has been hampered by inadequate funding that only allows it to run during school hours.

It’s also seen community partners compete against each other, rather than collaborate as hoped, she said.

“While the vision was a great vision, operationally they’re seeing nothing that would indicate that they are improving services to children and families,” Stephanian said. “They’re not seeing anything that indicates an impact on student achievement.”

Trustees spurn SchoolsPlus hubs for Hamilton schools

‘I think they’re stupid,’ dissenting Mulholland says

News Jun 25, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board won’t try to adopt a Nova Scotian program as a model for turning schools into community hubs to provide health and social services to at-risk students.

Trustees opted to take no action on a call by last term’s board to seek provincial funding for a “SchoolsPlus” program after a staff analysis concluded it shows little promise of fulfilling its goal.

They will instead focus on Ontario initiatives, including a community hub framework advisory group created by Premier Kathleen Wynne in March and local strategies that are being developed to improve services for students with special needs.

Introduced in Nova Scotia in 2008, the SchoolsPlus program provides provincial funding to set up a resource room in schools and hire a facilitator to coordinate external services for at-risk students and their families.

“It’s a lot more complicated than just putting one person in a cluster of schools and hoping community hubs will automatically flourish.”

“I’m disappointed,” said Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland, who pushed for a pilot project at a half dozen inner-city schools last fall and cast the lone dissenting vote against the decision to not proceed.

“I think they’re stupid,” he said. “I don’t know the direction they’re going, if it’s reasonable. They seem to think so, but I don’t think so.”

However, board chair Todd White said creating community hubs requires a made-in-Hamilton approach that works with other partners, especially the city, and those efforts are already underway.

Apart from the question of where the board would get the funding, initiating a SchoolsPlus program before a framework and provincial support are in place is premature, he said.

“We can’t jump from A to Z without looking at all the steps in between,” White said. “It’s a lot more complicated than just putting one person in a cluster of schools and hoping community hubs will automatically flourish.”

In a presentation to the board’s program committee, superintendent Sharon Stephanian said a staff review found the SchoolsPlus program’s success has been hampered by inadequate funding that only allows it to run during school hours.

It’s also seen community partners compete against each other, rather than collaborate as hoped, she said.

“While the vision was a great vision, operationally they’re seeing nothing that would indicate that they are improving services to children and families,” Stephanian said. “They’re not seeing anything that indicates an impact on student achievement.”

Trustees spurn SchoolsPlus hubs for Hamilton schools

‘I think they’re stupid,’ dissenting Mulholland says

News Jun 25, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board won’t try to adopt a Nova Scotian program as a model for turning schools into community hubs to provide health and social services to at-risk students.

Trustees opted to take no action on a call by last term’s board to seek provincial funding for a “SchoolsPlus” program after a staff analysis concluded it shows little promise of fulfilling its goal.

They will instead focus on Ontario initiatives, including a community hub framework advisory group created by Premier Kathleen Wynne in March and local strategies that are being developed to improve services for students with special needs.

Introduced in Nova Scotia in 2008, the SchoolsPlus program provides provincial funding to set up a resource room in schools and hire a facilitator to coordinate external services for at-risk students and their families.

“It’s a lot more complicated than just putting one person in a cluster of schools and hoping community hubs will automatically flourish.”

“I’m disappointed,” said Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland, who pushed for a pilot project at a half dozen inner-city schools last fall and cast the lone dissenting vote against the decision to not proceed.

“I think they’re stupid,” he said. “I don’t know the direction they’re going, if it’s reasonable. They seem to think so, but I don’t think so.”

However, board chair Todd White said creating community hubs requires a made-in-Hamilton approach that works with other partners, especially the city, and those efforts are already underway.

Apart from the question of where the board would get the funding, initiating a SchoolsPlus program before a framework and provincial support are in place is premature, he said.

“We can’t jump from A to Z without looking at all the steps in between,” White said. “It’s a lot more complicated than just putting one person in a cluster of schools and hoping community hubs will automatically flourish.”

In a presentation to the board’s program committee, superintendent Sharon Stephanian said a staff review found the SchoolsPlus program’s success has been hampered by inadequate funding that only allows it to run during school hours.

It’s also seen community partners compete against each other, rather than collaborate as hoped, she said.

“While the vision was a great vision, operationally they’re seeing nothing that would indicate that they are improving services to children and families,” Stephanian said. “They’re not seeing anything that indicates an impact on student achievement.”