Innovation Spreading in Ontario School Boards (Part 2)


You may have already read in part 1 that in an increasingly digital environment, many educators are faced with challenges in their assessment, workflow and day-to-day communication with students and parents alike. Hear from four Ontario school boards on how they addressed these issues.


Improving parent-teacher communication

Halton District School Board (HDSB) wanted to better engage parents in what was happening with kids at school, and help parents play a more active part in their children’s education. They found that Edsby’s capabilities helped them navigate this issue.

“Edsby gives us a device-independent way to share with students and teachers where they need to be throughout the day, and helps parents see what their children have been doing in school day-to-day,” said HDSB Chief Innovation Officer Bruce Smith. “Edsby has enabled us to replace paper agendas, which is more environmentally responsible and cost-effective than printing hard copies.”

HDSB also closely integrated the district’s student information and authentication systems. Conveniently, teachers didn’t have to learn another username and password or enter names of their classes, students and parents, in order to access Edsby.


All-access portal

With mobile devices becoming the norm, parents and students expect to connect anywhere and at any time. How can school boards meet this expectation for instant flow of information from their existing systems?

Lisa Coffey, Principal of Stewarttown Middle School found that Edsby’s features enabled flexibility in information gathering, “Students love the accessibility and many of them use their mobile devices to track homework, upcoming events and extracurriculars.”

“Edsby works with our existing systems, including staff and student Office 365 accounts, so we get the best of both worlds,” said John Howitt, Superintendent of Education and Information Technology at Greater Essex County District School Board. “We leverage our existing investments and experience with our current systems rather than having to go through the cost and challenges of replacing them.”


Aligned with best practices from the Ministry of Education

Student success is measured in the journey, as much as in reaching the destination. With Growing Success, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s policy for assessment, evaluation and reporting, teachers need ways to measure student progress that follow Ministry guidelines.

Also through Edsby, schools in District School Board of Niagara were finding their way to better track student performance. “It was important for us to choose a solution that embraced the Growing Success approach to assessment. Edsby provides powerful communication tools for our educators that enable them to connect with students and parents through the web, smartphones and tablets,” said Dino Miele, Chief Information Officer of District School Board of Niagara.

Similarly at Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Jennifer McIlmoyle-Parsons, Instructional Leadership Consultant to the board said “We are working collectively to implement and align our practice with Growing Success. Edsby supports educators to collect and reflect upon observations about student learning through the categories of the Ministry’s achievement charts while expressing ongoing learning using levels, and progress indicators before evaluation.”

Do  you relate to these boards’ experiences? Join our one-hour webinar on April 20 to find out how your school board can improve its delivery and management of education.