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Annual Report to the Community

April 22, 2021

Annual Report highlights WSD priorities, initiatives, revenues and expenditures

Winnipeg School Division publishes its annual report in the fall of each year. This report to the community highlights the division’s priorities, district priorities and initiatives, as well as showing revenues and expenditures.

Thank you for your interest in public education.

Annual Report to the Community 2019-2020

Message from the Chair

The 2019/2020 school year ended in a way none of us could have imagined as we bought school supplies and new clothes for our children in September 2019. As we began the year, the WSD Board of Trustees was eager to introduce initiatives that would continue to enhance education for the almost 33,000 students in the division. Fortunately, we were able to move ahead with some, and for others which had to wait during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will revisit in the new school year.

Several motions that were passed prior to the COVID-19 disruption included administration reviews on implementing sound field systems in schools; a technology review; developing a framework that will recognize and celebrate WSD’s Indigenous heritage; and a review of the Suspension of Students Policy to incorporate restorative justice practices that engage students in school as an alternative to suspension.

Our focus as Trustees continues to be on supporting Winnipeg School Division staff and the continuous improvement work being done in our classrooms. Once again in 2019/2020 we saw percentages move up for our students learning in Maths and English Language Arts at the Grade 3 level. We celebrate these successes, while recognizing that each student group comes with its own challenges and abilities, which means our governance support must also continually improve to address those unique needs.

As always, Trustees begin the year with a close look at expenditures throughout the division. Over the past several years, we have worked hard to keep our costs down while maintaining the many programs and services that mean so much to our student population and their continuous improvement. Manitoba Education introduced additional restrictions on our budget decisions, including a 15 percent reduction in senior staff by the end of the year. As a result, we eliminated three positions including one superintendent and one director of education, and one manager of buildings.

Despite this difficult loss, the division was able to maintain its existing programs and services for the 2020/2021 school year with a modest increase to the property tax school levy.

With the provincial election in October of 2019, WSD experienced two vacancies on our Board of Trustees. A by-election to fill these vacancies was deferred in the spring due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we anticipate a replacement by-election will occur in the new school year.

It has been my pleasure to lead the WSD Board of Trustees as Chair for the past two years, and as Vice Chair prior to that. I am pleased to pass the baton to Trustee Betty Edel who will take over as Chair for the 2020/2021 school year, bringing her unique and passionate perspective as a member of the Métis community to the leadership of the Board.

In closing, I extend my deep appreciation for the hard work and contributions of staff across the division. The challenges of educating students in a large urban setting, combined with the abrupt change to remote learning experienced from March to June, has been nothing short of heroic on the part of everyone in the division.

Thank you.

Chris Broughton
Chair, Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustees 2019/2020

Message from the Chief Superintendent and CEO

Reporting on the 2019/2020 school year means looking at essentially two different years in one. We had a pre-COVID time and a COVID time. Everything in our schools changed dramatically in March when the COVID-19 virus made its way to Canada, and Manitoba Education ordered schools to be closed and learning to go to a remote model.

From a pre-COVID perspective, Winnipeg School Division had a lot to celebrate again this past year. The ongoing success of our students, as shown in our Continuous Improvement Plan, is a useful tool in directing resources and supports for numeracy and literacy in our schools.

We were reminded again in 2019/2020 of the strong voice youth have in global issues. Across the world, students were striking for climate change, including here in Winnipeg. WSD supports students in their education for sustainable development through a detailed plan that incorporates not only climate change awareness, but also poverty alleviation, human rights, health and environmental protection. Today, as we live through the reality of a pandemic, students are learning first-hand what it means to be part of a global community.

Congratulations to Winnipeg School Division staff who were recognized by the Prime Minister’s Office for excellence in education – you can read about these outstanding teachers further in the report. We also congratulate all of our educators and staff for their tireless commitment to the learning and growth of WSD students. This is true every year, but especially true given the extraordinary effort and commitment our teachers and staff have given through the pandemic.

WSD is proud to share this annual report to our community with you and your neighbours. You can learn more about Winnipeg School Division by visiting our website at

Pauline Clarke
Chief Superintendent and CEO
Winnipeg School Division

Educating during a Pandemic

As part of its pandemic response, WSD distributed over 2,700 computer devices to students to help with their home learning. 

After classes were suspended due to COVID-19, WSD schools conducted a needs survey with families to determine how many are without a computer or internet access at home.
In mid-May, 2,166 Chromebooks and iPads, as well as 600 LTE cellular-enabled iPads were distributed to families in need.

“Most of our devices came from our existing inventory in our schools, and we are able to lend those to families with internet access in their homes,” said Tony Marchione, Acting Director of Technology, just prior to the delivery of the devices.

“The remaining 600 families require both a device and internet access which we can provide through our partnership with Apple and Rogers.”

WSD purchased 600 iPads pre-equipped with Rogers LTE wireless data. Rogers provided the plan for free for the balance of the school year.

“Devices can go right into homes and connect to the internet right away. There is no wait time for a router to be installed,” Marchione said.

According to Rob Riel, Director of Indigenous Education, the technology distribution was prioritized in order of graduating students, high school students working on credit attainment, junior high students working on credit attainment, followed by Grades 1 to 3 and finally Grades 4 to 8.

“We are also ensuring that special accommodations are made for student populations that are low-income, Indigenous, newcomer or require additional support in literacy and/or numeracy,” Riel said.

Getting home learning devices into the hands of students was an interdepartmental effort, with WSD senior administration, professional support services, computer technical support, and individual schools all contributing to the computer cause.

“It’s been a really collaborative effort across a few different departments of the division, all working together to get technology out to students,” Marchione said. “It’s an involved process and everyone is doing outstanding work.”

Supporting the Community

The suspension of classes due to COVID-19 didn’t stop WSD from providing food security to students and families that depend on school meal programs.

Dubbed the Food Security Initiative, the WSD food hamper program started on April 20 and continued throughout the spring and summer months, officially ending on August 28.

Over those four months, approximately 22,000 hampers were assembled at R.B. Russell and Tec Voc high schools, providing food security to over 2,400 families in the division.

“We do support families on a regular basis with food and nutrition, so we knew that many of our families would miss that support,” said former WSD superintendent Karin Seiler at the outset of the food hamper program. 

“I can only imagine how anxious families are to try and provide food. We’ve always been very responsive to the needs of communities around nutrition, so it just makes sense that we do this.”
WSD sourced the fare for the hamper program from local food distributors. School staff assembled the 50-pound hampers, which included such staples as potatoes, rice, pasta, peanut butter, fruit and veggies, bread, milk, cereal and an assortment of canned goods.

The assembled hampers were then transported to WSD schools where families in need were able to pick them up.

R.B. Russell culinary arts instructor Michael Lindberg jumped at the chance to be involved in the Food Security Initiative, calling it “really meaningful work.”

“When I was asked to be involved, I dropped what I could to make sure I could be available as much as possible,” Lindberg said. “I see a lot of students struggle on a daily basis and it means a lot to be able to help them through tough times, especially with what’s going on around the world right now.”

EAL Programs

One in five WSD students require English as an Additional Language (EAL) supports.

In the 2019/2020 school year, 19.4 per cent (5,410) of WSD students were identified as requiring EAL support. As per provincial guidelines, EAL students aren’t identified until the spring of their Kindergarten year, so Nursery and Kindergarten students are excluded from this calculation.
Among WSD elementary schools, Tyndall Park School had the highest percentage of EAL students in 2019/2020 at 56.7 per cent.

According to Malou Josue, acting Newcomer Service Coordinator at Tyndall Park, WSD’s Intercultural Support Workers contacted newcomer students and families during the COVID-19 school suspension to ensure they had access to the supports they needed and that important messages from WSD and schools were understood.

“Intercultural Support Workers assisted EAL students and their families in navigating online education platforms that are used by schools such as Seesaw and Google Classroom to continue learning at home,” Josue said.

As for WSD junior high students, Meadows West School had the highest percentage of EAL students at 47.2 per cent. In high school, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute was highest at 34.8 per cent.

The most common language other than English spoken at home in WSD is Tagalog at 19.1 per cent.

Inclusive Education

At the start of the 2019-2020 school year, WSD launched its Safe and Caring Schools pilot initiative. Staff from over 30 schools participated in the pilot, including principals, teachers, counsellors, and educational assistants.

The WSD’s new Inclusive, Safe and Caring Schools Framework is intended to:
Ensure that all students have equal access to education; Apply strength-based practices that contribute to the learning, mental health and social-emotional well-being of students;
Engage parents, education partners and communities in decisions around education.

In the new framework, all 79 WSD schools receive direct support from a divisional Behaviour Support Teacher who assists a school’s student support team (SST) to address the diverse learning needs of students. Three Inclusion Support Consultants work collaboratively with the Behaviour Support Teacher, along with Inclusion Support Teachers, Clinical Support Services and SSTs.

The Inclusive, Safe and Caring Framework was officially adopted for the 2020-21 school year. It takes into consideration four priority areas, including comprehensive school heath, three-tiered planning, social-ecological systems and strength-based practices.

Waterford Springs School

École Waterford Springs School is on track to open January, 2021. WSD’s new Nursery to Grade 8 dual-track school is located in northwest Winnipeg, at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and King  Edward Street.

“It is an honour to be a part of the building of a new school from the ground up and to be able to establish a new school community beyond the bricks and mortar,” said Manuel Silva, Waterford Springs principal.

Waterford Springs will serve families living in the new home developments of Waterford Green and Castlebury Meadows.

“The richness of diversity within the community will be represented in the school as we build a school culture together,” Silva said. “Families have been very supportive and eager for children to be able to attend a school within their own community and for the opportunity to have a daycare in their community as well.

Build from Within

Build From Within – Ozhitoon Onji Peenjiiee is a teacher development program that supports Indigenous students on their path to becoming educators in WSD.

A partnership between WSD, the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education and Indspire Canada, Build From Within officially launched in November, 2018.

In June, 2020, Build From Within first cohort of students graduated from high school. Eighteen students graduated, with 17 of those students continuing on to university. Fifteen of those 18 students also completed their Education Assistant Diploma Program (EADP) credits.

In February, 2020, Build From Within’s second cohort began with 28 students. Those students are currently finishing their EADP credit hours at Argyle Alternative High School.

Cohort One university students are currently working as teacher interns in Dufferin, Machray, Inkster, Clifton, Isaac Brock, Shaughnessy Park, Garden Grove and Wellington schools.

“The program’s strength comes from its students,” said Rob Riel, WSD Director of Indigenous Education. “They’re dedicated and have the passion to become role models. They want to teach and they’re excited about the future.”

WSD Continuous Improvement

For the first time since the implementation of a provincial assessment based on the new curricula, achievement scores for students in Winnipeg School Division surpassed the provincial average
in all three Grade 12 Mathematics courses – Applied, Essentials, and Pre-Calculus. Additionally,
the pass rates rose above the provincial benchmarks.

Collaborative high school mathematics teams have spent time learning with Peter Liljedahl and implementing pedagogy in their classrooms to increase engagement and problem solving skill. Vocational students have seen greater success in mathematics through the efforts of their vocational and academic teachers to target specific outcomes beneficial to both streams.

Pre-Calculus teachers continued to work with post-secondary institutions to better prepare students for entry into higher mathematics, and the results show the pay off – achievement exceeding the provincial average by nearly 6 percent, and pass rates nearing 90 percent, well above the provincial rate of 80 percent.

Grade 3 Numeracy results continue to surpass the provincial average. Up 143 percent since 2010.

Grade 3 Reading results continue to improve, narrowing the gap between divisional results and the provincial average. Up 57 percent since 2010.

Students are supported through a variety of interventions, including Read-to-Me and Talk-to-Me, two programs designed to increase communication skills.

Prime Ministerial Honours for Three WSD Teachers

The recipients of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Teaching Excellence in STEM recognized three WSD teachers.

Sisler High School teacher Robert Esposito received a Certificate of Excellence for his commitment to cybersecurity coaching. Mr. Esposito, who started teaching at Sisler in 2013, was instrumental in developing the Sisler Cyber Academy, where budding cyber defenders learn how to secure devices and fend off cyber-attacks.

In June, Esposito coached Sisler cybersecurity team CA Prime to a first-place finish in the CyberTitan III national finals. He believes technology can level the playing field.
Elmwood High School teacher Jenna Forslund earned a Certificate of Excellence for her dedication to environmental education.

Ms. Forslund, who is in her eighth year at Elmwood, teaches math, science and environmental education to Grades 7 to 12. She spearheaded the school’s Sustainability and Envirothon teams and co-chaired the province-wide Arctic Climate Change Youth Forum that Elmwood hosted
in 2016.

École River Heights School teacher Jennifer Wiebe received a Certificate of Achievement for engaging her students in Indigenous topics and truth and reconciliation. Ms. Wiebe started at River Heights in 2007. In addition to teaching English language arts, she created a required truth and reconciliation course for Grade 7 and 8 students.

Facts at a Glance

Total number of students (as of Sept. 30, 2019) – 32,752
Elementary (N – Grade 8) 22,053
Secondary 10,699
Total number of schools 78
Elementary (N – Grade 8) 64
Secondary 14
Number of graduates (as of Sept. 30, 2019)  2,142
Number of nursery students  1,686

Students in language programs:
French Immersion – 4,750
Hebrew Bilingual – 210
Ukrainian Bilingual – 27
Spanish Bilingual – 61
Cree Bilingual – 36
Ojibwe Bilingual – 42
Students identified as English-as-an-additional language – 5,451
Students transported to school – 2,344
Total number of full time staff – 4,587

Class of 2020 Academic Award Winners

The Governor General’s Medal is presented to the graduate who achieves the highest academic standing at their high school. The WSD School Board Post Secondary Scholarship Awards, which were established in 1972, present $1,000 scholarships to a student at each high school. Both are among the highest honours a student can receive upon their graduation from a WSD high school. Congratulations to the following graduates:

Governor General's Medal Winners

Argyle Alternative High School
Ben Mymko

Children of the Earth High School
Breanna Ross-Cochrane

Churchill High School
Aidan Billard Dooley

Collège Churchill
Jared He

Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute
Ernestina Madriaga

Elmwood High School
Calvin Dang

Grant Park High School
Maya Ester Gusak

Gordon Bell High School
Jenel James

Kelvin High School
Chloe Brooklyn Gawne

R.B. Russell High School
Devlen Monias

Sisler High School
Tracy Dones

St. John’s High School
Mharc Rexzus Cruz

Tec Voc High School
Preston Berry

Winnipeg Adult Education Centre
Laurie Whincup

WSD Post-Secondary Scholarship Winners

Argyle Alternative High School
Chantel Huntinghawk

Children of the Earth High School
Breanna Ross-Cochrane

Churchill High School
Aidan Billard Dooley

Collège Churchill
Jared He

Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute
Ernestina Madriaga

Elmwood High School
Tran Phuong Ca Le

Grant Park High School
Jared Fredrik Charles Rost

Gordon Bell High School
Ava Jersak

Kelvin High School
Kayde Joan Bond 

R.B. Russell High School
Jonas Mitchele-Simard

Sisler High School
Tracy Dones

St. John’s High School
Kristine Jimenez

Tec Voc High School
Luis Licopa

Winnipeg Adult Education Centre
Hana Adem

Finance Committee Chair Message

My colleagues on the Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustees approved a budget for the 2020/2021 school year in March 2020. The total budget of $421,221,700 ensured the Board stayed within the two percent special requirement determined by the Province of Manitoba, resulting in a 2.13 percent increase for property owners.

While the budget was approved prior to the onset of COVID-19 and its related expenses, our key focus on maintaining existing services and programs was achieved. During the last few months of our prior year budget (April to June 2020), the division was able to find savings of just over $9 million, which was then allocated toward COVID-19 expenses in the 2020/2021 budget.

We recognize that there are needs within the division that we were unable to address with this budget due to the decrease in funding from the province and the provincial mandate to limit the special requirement at two percent. The 2020/2021 budget was developed, however, based on WSD’s guiding principles which include leading education innovation, high quality education, employing competent and qualified staff, and managing tax dollars responsibly.

Our Board remains committed to its responsibilities and recognizes the important impact of the provincial budget on educational opportunities for our students, and on the level of property taxation for our residents. It is in this spirit that we will continue to consult on educational matters affecting students and constituents which we believe are very important to the success of our school communities.

Arlene Reid
Chair, Finance/Personnel Committee 2019/2020


Regular Instruction
All subject areas; language programs; English-as-an-additional language

Student Support Services
Special Education; clinical services; resources and counseling

Community education and services (including adult learning centres)
Nursery; adult programs and community use of schools

Instructional and other support services
Professional development; library services and nutritional program


Computer and information services; business and human resources functions; Board and central administration

Student transportation 
Operation of school buses

Operations and maintenance
Operating and maintaining 78 schools and other facilities

Fiscal and capital appropriations
Payroll tax; banking charges and capital transfers

Total 2018/2019 expenditures 


Regular Instruction
All subject areas; language programs; English-as-an-additional language

Student Support Services
Special Education; clinical services; resources and counseling

Community education and services (including adult learning centres)
Nursery; adult programs and community use of schools

Instructional and other support services
Professional development; library services and nutritional program


Computer and information services; business and human resources functions; Board and central administration

Student transportation 
Operation of school buses

Operations and maintenance
Operating and maintaining 78 schools and other facilities

Fiscal and capital appropriations
Payroll tax; banking charges and capital transfers

Total 2019/2020 expenditures 

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