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Trustees honoured at last meeting of current Board, receive reports on enrolment, special education and capital projects

15 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 15, 2018

Trustees met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, for the final board meeting for the 2014-2018 Board of Trustees. 

KPDSB staff and administration recognized the important contributions of several members of the 2014-2018 Board of Trustees who will not be returning to the Board for the 2018-2022 term.  Board Chair Dave Penney was recognized following 33 years of service and dedication to students and staff in the Northwest.  Trustee George Seaton was also recognized posthumously through the presentation of a gift on behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff to Phyllis Seaton (George’s wife) for George’s unwavering commitment to improving outcomes for youth for the past 40 years.  Trustees Dave Wilkinson and Lesley Barnes were also recognized for their efforts and work with the Board.

The November Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Connecting for Student Success – Open Roads Public School’ was received by Trustees.  Principal Tanis Oberg and First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) Family Support Worker Adi Lang were accompanied by current and former Open Roads students and their families who shared their experiences at the school and the impact of the FNMI Family Support Worker position.  The unique role of the Open Roads Family Support Worker is to make connections with students and their families so that they feel that they can be successful not only at school but within the community.  The FNMI Family Support Worker is able to provide a wide variety of supports, depending on individual needs of families, including acting as a liaison between the family and the school by providing one point of contact, supporting regular attendance through constant open communication, connecting families with school/board and community services, and supporting families through any transitions they may be experiencing, whether that’s into or out of the school, or between classrooms/programs.

Joan Kantola, Superintendent of Human Resources and Special Education, presented the 2018-2019 Special Education Plan.  The plan guides the work of schools and the Board in terms of supporting and enhancing special education services.  Areas of focus for the plan include providing programs and services in the student’s home school wherever possible (including appropriate accommodations and modifications), promoting a focus on inclusive practices in schools and respect for differences and diversity, providing a range of placement options for students, and collaboration with curriculum central support staff to ensure support for the development of quality programs and provision of services for all students.  Kantola also shared that the Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee is looking for new members, interested individuals are encouraged to visit this link for more information.

Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented the 2018-2019 Enrolment Report.  Enrolment continues to show an upward trend overall in the KPDSB.  Elementary schools reported an increase of 37 students in total from the 2017-2018 school year, with secondary schools reporting a decrease of 23 students Board-wide.  A highlight in the enrolment picture was Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora with an increase of 30 students between the elementary and secondary panels, resulting in the addition of one full classroom and an additional teacher at the elementary level.  Overall, the Board’s total enrolment for the 2018-2019 school year is 4,841 students (projections for the year were 4,827).

Findlay also presented the 2018-2019 Capital Projects Report.  Using School Condition Improvement funding, the KPDSB has 28 million in capital projects for this school year.  As Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout nears completion, the total renovation of Ear Falls Public School takes centre stage.  At a cost of $5 million, construction at the school will see the total renovation of the building split into two phases.  Phase 1 is set to begin in February 2019, with Phase 2 beginning in May 2019.  The project is expected to be complete by September 2019.  Also listed under Major Capital Projects is a renovation to Beaver Brae Secondary School’s technology wing.  The total cost of the technology wing renovations will be $6 million and will upgrade the welding, transportation, Grade 7/8 technology, communications and hospitality rooms/spaces.  Construction will begin in February 2019 with project completion anticipated for February 2020 (certain areas will be ready well before that date).  To view the capital projects report, please visit this link.

Photo of Lesley Barnes, Dave Penney, Phyllis Seaton, Sean Monteith and Dave Wilkinson receiving their gifts

 From left to right: Lesley Barnes, Dave Penney, Phyllis Seaton, Sean Monteith and Dave Wilkinson.

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KPDSB recognized at 2018 Indspire National Gathering for Indigenous Education

12 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 12, 2018

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board’s Four Directions Graduation Coach approach has once again been recognized by Indspire at their 2018 National Gathering for Indigenous Education.

Tania Sterling, KPDSB Superintendent of Education, accepted the Indspire Nurturing Capacity: Documenting Community Success plaque on November 9, at the gathering in Edmonton, Alberta.  The distinction was awarded to the KPDSB and Dryden High School’s Four Directions Graduation Coach approach for demonstrating a positive impact on the success of K-12 Indigenous students in the community.  The recognition from Indspire was the result of a research paper by Sean Lessard, PhD, at the University of Alberta, looking into the impact of the Four Directions Graduation Coach approach in KPDSB schools. 

Laura Arndt, Indspire VP of Education, stated “I was pleased to present the plaque to honour the work the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is doing to build success for Indigenous youth in K-12 education and bridge the critical healing work of reconciliation within education.  Your work is part of the planting of seeds that are focused on systemic change and increasing positive outcomes for Indigenous students across the country.”

Sterling added “It was an honour to receive this plaque which recognizes the commitment and leadership of our Four Directions FNMI Graduation Coaches who collaborate with teams of caring adults in our schools and communities to positively impact Indigenous student success in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this research and share our journey with others.”

 Background

Four Directions provides intensive support to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students and their families with the goal of seeing each learner through to graduation. Four Directions staff assist with leading and implementing programs and connecting students and families to support services within the school and the greater community to increase each learners network of support throughout and beyond high school. Dryden High School was the first school within the KPDSB to implement Four Directions, celebrating a 41% increase to 80% of Indigenous students graduating in four years after four years of coaching.

Indspire is a national Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. Their vision is to enrich Canada through Indigenous education and by inspiring achievement. In partnership with Indigenous, private and public sector stakeholders, Indspire educates, connects and invests in Indigenous people so they will achieve their highest potential.

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Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake named first Downie Wenjack Fund Legacy School in Canada

07 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 7, 2018

Staff and students at Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake, and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, are honoured to announce Crolancia Public School has been named the first Legacy School in Canada through the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (or Downie Wenjack Fund).  The announcement was made at a school-wide assembly in October.

During the special assembly, Principal Holly Szumowski, announced the school’s plans to honour the Downie Wenjack Fund, including the dedication of two benches outside of the school, the dedication of the school’s Native as a Second Language (NSL) classroom as the Legacy Classroom, and the renaming of the school’s end of year NSL award as the Charlie Wenjack Award.

The Downie Wenjack Fund Legacy School program is an opportunity for classrooms/schools to lead the movement in awareness of the history and impact of the Residential School System on Indigenous Peoples.  Legacy Schools are provided a Secret Path Toolkit and educational support resources to engage students, staff and school communities as a catalyst for reconciliation in Canada.  The toolkits are being well used at the school, with staff engaging students in a wide variety of activities related to the book, the Secret Path.

Szumowski stated “When our teacher Harriet Visitor shared her work, connection, and involvement with the Downie Wenjack Fund, I knew that our school had to be a part of this movement.  Being named the first Legacy School is a wonderful honour, however, the real work begins now.  In the spirit of reconciliation, we must all continue to not only share Chanie’s story, but listen, respect, and respond to all survivors’ stories.  As Justice Sinclair said, ‘Education is what got us here, and education is what will get us out.’” 

Photos of staff and students at Crolancia Public School

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KPDSB kicks off Treaty Recognition Week with special assembly and Living Library at Beaver Brae Secondary School

05 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 5, 2018

Staff and students of Beaver Brae Secondary School were honoured to welcome Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Treaty No. 3, and Greg Rickford, Federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, to the school today for a special assembly and Living Library in recognition of Treaty Recognition Week (November 4-10). 

The goal of Treaty Recognition Week is to promote public education and awareness of treaties and treaty relationships to facilitate greater understanding of treaty history and current issues. 

Following an opening prayer by Elder Bert Landon, Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh, and Minister Rickford spoke, encouraging students and staff to learn more about treaties and their history, while stressing the importance of Treaty Recognition Week and corresponding events and activities, particularly involving children and youth.  Students, staff and guests were then part of a Living Library session by Elder Robert Greene.  Greene shared a history of local treaties, and the historical and current impact of those treaties. 

Grand Chief Kavanaugh stated "Treaties with Indigenous people are the foundation of Canada; honouring and upholding these sacred and everlasting commitments should be the upmost importance to all Canadians. I am pleased to participate in the initiatives held during the third annual Treaties Recognition Week, which I hope will foster greater awareness and serve as a reminder of our relationship to our treaty partners." 

Tracey Benoit, Principal of Beaver Brae Secondary School, added “We were honoured to host an event like the Living Library as a kick off to Treaty Recognition Week for the region.  Thank you to the Elders who were an important part of today’s events and to Grand Chief Kavanaugh and Minister Rickford for sharing in this event with our students.  As a school and school board, we are committed to reconciliation and are proud of the work we do every day in our schools.”

Special guests Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Treaty No. 3, and Greg Rickford, Federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs pose for a photo with KPDSB staff

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Trustees receive update on efficacy in the KPDSB, learn more about new approaches to increase student achievement

10 Oct. 2018

Media Releases - October 10, 2018

Trustees met at the Kenora Board Office on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, for a regular board meeting.  Trustees also toured King George VI Public School prior to the meeting.

The October Kids Come First presentation titled ‘How King George VI Public School Creates a Learning Environment that Promotes Student Achievement’ was received by Trustees.  Principals Tim Flynn and Nicole Vingerhoeds were joined by some of their students to share their experiences at King George with the Board of Trustees.  While King George is well known in the Kenora area for its Recreation Program and Special Education services, students shared some of the many other opportunities available to them at their school.  From Hockey Canada Skills Academy, Primary Choir, and You’re the Chef programs, to language programming and Robotics and Lego Club, Trustees heard how the staff at King George go above and beyond to provide as many opportunities to students as possible.  By providing a variety of programs and extracurricular activities for students in addition to academics, staff at the school note their students are happy, engaged and ready to learn. 

Shannon Bailey, Principal of Evergreen Public School in Kenora, and KPDSB Efficacy Working Group Member, presented the KPDSB Efficacy Report.  In 2013, the KPDSB underwent a System Efficacy Review, conducted by internationally recognized efficacy experts with Pearson Learning Services. Since that time, the KPDSB has engaged in a "whole-system" effort of reform and change with all decisions centered around putting students first.  In 2015, to support the work of efficacy in the KPDSB, and the implementation of actions and decisions, a System Efficacy Working Group, comprised of staff from schools and departments across the KPDSB, was implemented to advise the Board on decisions that impact classrooms and students and suggest areas of improvement. The work of efficacy has provided effective ways of identifying the needs of students and staff, as well as determining new and exciting strategies for improving attendance, graduation rates and mental health supports by using staff and student voice as the catalyst for change.  For more information, please see the attached infographics.

Deanna Pacheco, Student Achievement Administrator, and Caryl Hron, Superintendent of Education, presented the Elementary Achievement Report.  In February 2017, the KPDSB introduced a new support model to assist identified schools, called focus schools, in the Board.   In order to support the focus schools, which were selected based on student needs, the System Achievement Administrator was put in place to work one on one with administrators in each school (six in total) with the goal of increasing student achievement.    The supports for each focus school varied, based on student and staff needs, but all included the use of different assessments to drive the work, as well as increased regular school visits by central support staff and networking between staff to share best practices.  Recently released EQAO results for the 2016-2017 school year show historic results for some of the focus schools, including Sioux Mountain Public School and Red Lake-Madsen Public School.  Staff feedback also indicates the new support model is working and following these successes, the number of focus schools for the 2018-2019 school year has been expanded.  

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