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Upper Grand DSB has a plan to realize a bold vision for education in local schools

VISION 2026 being implemented now

Like all Ontario school boards that had to quickly pivot their programming and policies during two years of pandemic-related measures, staff at the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) wound up learning some valuable lessons during the process. Many of those lessons have found their way into a new multi-year strategy and action plan now being implemented by the UGDSB.

The plan, according to administrators, will provide students, staff, and parents with a clear path forward for education across the entire district.

The thing UGDSB is striving to reach is called Vision 2026, which is the board’s goal “to become recognized as leaders in creating unparalleled, agile and inclusive learning experiences for all.”

“It’s a bold vision to be sure,” said UGDSB Director of Education Peter Sovran.

Vision 2026 is a result of a new Multi-Year Plan (MYP) that was approved by the UGDSB Board of Trustees last year. The MYP has five major priority areas:

  • Foundational Education and Student Achievement
  • Inspire a Lifelong Love of Learning
  • Champion Health and Well-Being
  • Ensure Equity of Access and Outcomes
  • Lead Through Sustainability

“We have ambitious overarching goals that align with each of these priorities,” said Sovran. “And the way we will move forward as a school system is by making small moves every day. Those moves overtime will lead to outcomes that will help accomplish the overall goals for the public school board.”

The overarching goals include eliminating achievement and accessibility disparities, achieving superior results in math and literacy, creating highly engaging and supportive learning and working environments, and more.

Moves have already been made to help support these goals, including hiring additional staff to support math, literacy and student success, beyond the resources provided by the Ministry.

At the heart of all of this planning and work are UGDSB students. The essence of the MYP, and all the elements that have followed, is about putting students at the centre of everything the UGDSB does.

It’s fitting then that the board’s new logo and slogan were driven by student voice.

“Upper Grand students have created a new slogan, Find Your Path,” said Sovran. “Helping each student find their unique path to success is ultimately at the core of Vision 2026.”

Sovran knows that waiting until 2026 to complete a full analysis of the Vision 2026 plan wouldn’t allow the school board to make ongoing adjustments to ensure the plan’s overall success. As a result, the plan is separated into a total of 12 ten-week periods (4 per school year) that allow staff to make adjustments.

“Every 10 weeks we want to measure results and be able to communicate to parents, to staff, to students, and to the community, here’s the progress we’re making,” said Sovran.

Another part of the plan that will help keep them on track is being accountable to students, staff, families and the Ministry, through regular reporting on steps taken and results achieved. In addition to the board's focus on student achievement, wellness and equity coming out of the pandemic, the UGDSB also has continued its focus on health and safety, transparency with its school communities and leveraging digital resources.

For instance, the Upper Grand continues to have stand-alone HEPA units in every learning and workspace and continues to monitor school attendance data. Supporting and promoting digital resources and professional learning opportunities has taken a leap forward with the launch of the board’s brand new Innovation Lab in Orangeville.

“It’s an exciting time in our school district,” said Sovran. “We are looking forward to continuing to report our action steps taken and progress made to all Upper Grand students, staff and families.

Learn more about what's happening at the Upper Grand District School Board online or on Facebook.