Peel board chair says early learning program "absolutely the right thing to
do for the children of Peel," calls on province to work together now to
develop five-year plan

Janet McDougald acclaimed as chair, trustee Ruth Thompson acclaimed as vice-chair at annual meeting

TORONTO, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - At their annual meeting on Dec. 1, trustees of the Peel District School Board acclaimed Janet McDougald, trustee for Mississauga wards 1 and 7, as chair. McDougald has been a trustee for 21 years, has served as chair for 12 years and was previously vice-chair for three years.

Ruth Thompson, trustee for Mississauga wards 3 and 4, was acclaimed as vice-chair. Thompson is the board's longest serving trustee and a previous recipient of the Education Champion Award for her contributions to public education in Ontario. Ruth Thompson Middle School in Mississauga is named in her honour.

To celebrate the Peel board's 40th anniversary, past trustees and senior leaders joined current trustees and members of the board's senior administration at a Legacy Reception. The reception, held before the annual organizational meeting of the board, honoured the positive impact these individuals have made on the success of Peel students.

"What is sure today, as it was 40 years ago, is that the reputation of this school system has been built by the people in our schools and centres-past and present," noted McDougald in her inaugural remarks. "The dictionary might define legacy as something handed down from an ancestor or predecessor, but we know the legacy recognized this evening is much more than that-because what has been created by those here tonight is a school system of quality, caring and success."

Another catalyst of student success is the value of early learning. "The sooner we can have education play a key role in the life of a child, the greater the positive impact on that life," said McDougald. "As a board, we have a deep commitment to early learning. We're a founder of Success by Six in Peel, and we funded vital early learning hubs and readiness centres. Now, there are lots of questions about how we will roll out all day learning in Peel, and no shortage of challenges in Peel. But I believe we need to go on record as a board as saying this program is absolutely the right thing to do for the children of Peel. I personally applaud the move by the province to implement a program not only that parents in Peel want, but also that children in Peel need."

To support the implementation of full-day early learning, the Peel board is calling on the province to work together to develop a five-year plan. Noted McDougald, "That plan needs to be developed together now, to map out the schools to be added each year...The plan needs to provide us with capital funding now. We must have the funding to ensure the program is available not just where we happen to have space, but rather where we have the greatest need as we roll out the classes. This is a key priority in the year ahead."

Judith Nyman, director of education, interim, highlighted the major achievements of the past year and outlined major directions for the future. "Through this year's annual report theme, Celebrating 40 years of smiling together, we're able to showcase the people and programs that really are the foundation of Peel's legacy of caring and success," Nyman stated. "This theme allows us to highlight the impact our goals and key projects have had on learning as we explore the individual stories of real people whose smiles are contagious."

See the complete text of Janet McDougald's and Judith Nyman's remarks at www.peelschools.org.

SOURCE Peel District School Board

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel District School Board, (905) 278-1402, janet.mcdougald@peelsb.com; Reference: Carla Pereira, Communications Officer, Peel District School Board, (905) 890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2626, carla.pereira@peelsb.com

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