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KPDSB elects new Chair and Vice-Chair, Trustee appointments announced

05 Dec. 2018

Media Release - December 5, 2018

Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, for the Inaugural Board Meeting.

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board swore in it’s new Board of Trustees, welcoming four new members for the 2018-2022 term.  The list of Trustees and the areas they represent are below.

Kenora Area

  • Cecile Marcino, Chair
  • Dave Cornish
  • Jennifer Kitowski

Ear Falls Area

  • Gerald Kleist, Vice-Chair

Dryden Area

  • Barb Gauthier
  • Roger Griffiths

Sioux Lookout Area

  • Darrin Head

Red Lake Area

  • Marilyn Duncalfe

Ignace and Sturgeon Lake Areas

  • Bob O’Donohue

Pickle Lake, Savant Lake and Upsala Areas

  • Michelle Guitard

Individual on the Board to Represent the Interests of Indigenous Students

  • Eric Bortlis

The Board of Trustees elected Cecile Marcino from the Kenora area as Chair of the Board for a one-year term following 18 years serving as Vice-Chair.  Trustees Dave Cornish, Barb Gauthier and Gerald Kleist all received nominations for the position of Vice-Chair with Trustee Gerald Kleist ultimately being elected as Vice-Chair for a one-year term.  Kleist has served as a Trustee for the Ear Falls area for 18 years.

The following Trustee appointments were made:

  • Trustee Barb Gauthier was appointed to the Executive Committee for the period of December 4, 2018, to April 12, 2019, and Trustee Bob O’Donohue was appointed to the Executive Committee for the period of April 22, 2019, to November 30, 2019.
  • Trustees Roger Griffiths, Marilyn Duncalfe and Michelle Guitard were appointed to the Audit and Finance Committees for a one-year term.
  • Trustees Eric Bortlis, Dave Cornish and Gerald Kleist were appointed to the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC) for a one-year term. 
  • Trustees Eric Bortlis, Dave Cornish and Darrin Head were appointed to the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for a one-year term. 
  • Trustees Barb Gauthier and Marilyn Duncalfe were appointed to the Early Years Advisory Committee (EYAC) for a one-year term.
  • Trustees Darrin Head and Michelle Guitard were appointed to the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) for a one-year term.
  • Trustee Jennifer Kitowski was appointed to the Transportation Policy Committee for a one-year term.
  • Trustee Jennifer Kitowski was appointed to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Board of Directors.

Cecile Marcino, Chair of the Board, stated “Thank you to my fellow Trustees for the opportunity to be your Chair and I look forward to the upcoming years with this Board.  I know that any challenges we face, we will face together as a team.  As a long-standing Trustee with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, I am very proud of the work of our staff and students and know that we will all continue to put our students and their needs first.”

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KPDSB and Windigo First Nations Council Sign Memorandum of Understanding

29 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 29, 2018

WINNIPEG, MB: Windigo First Nations Council (WFNC) and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance educational services and opportunities for students and staff. The agreement was signed today in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the WFNC Chiefs’ Meeting.

The MOU is intended to establish a forum for the WFNC and KPDSB to work collaboratively to help design and promote strategies to equip First Nation students with the social, emotional and academic educational opportunities required to be successful in reaching their personal and educational goals, and in attaining achievement levels comparable to the general student population in Ontario.

Priority areas in the MOU include:

  • Student Support Services - Including student safety, social and emotional mental health, student transition and orientation programs, early exposure to career planning, parental empowerment initiatives, support mechanisms for students living away from home, student retention strategies, access and ongoing participation in extra-curricular activities, the development of a First Nation student anti-addiction education program, and other student support services as needed.
  • Independent Education Plans (IEP) - Support in the form of strategies and professional mentorship will be provided to identify special needs students and to develop IEPs for such students. First Nation education will be supported with access to required student supports and programs, including access to professional development on all aspects of IEP evaluation and implementation.

  • Curriculum - Development of curriculum modules and implementation strategies to enhance the inclusion and integration of First Nation history, culture, perspectives and language for all students in both First Nation and provincially operated schools.  
  • Professional Development - Strategies to reciprocate support of staff learning in meeting the holistic learning needs of First Nation students. Development of strategies to facilitate cross-cultural training and professional development for educators in the provincial education system.

  • Communication - Identification of mechanisms to improve communication between provincially funded schools within the Ontario public education context, and First Nation schools.
  • Human Resources - Activities to support the effectiveness of education and support staff in both the First Nation and provincially operated systems to help ensure that staff have the skills and training to meet the needs of First Nations in both education systems. Explore options to facilitate increasing the number of First Nation staff, including the participation of elders, in KPDSB schools. Develop and implement retention programs for administrators, teachers and support staff to improve staff relations and continuance of programming.
  • Professional Mentoring - Engage in professional mentoring programs between First Nations and the KPDSB for best practices.
  • Specialized Supports - Access to specialists, including but not limited to speech and language development, support staff, and literacy/numeracy specialists.
  • Parental Participation - Strategies to facilitate improved First Nation parental communication, empowerment and involvement throughout their children’s academic years in all educational systems on and off their traditional territory.

Frank McKay, WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair, stated “Today we are pleased to sign on behalf of the Windigo First Nations Communities and above all our students.  We envision going forward with the issues outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, it can only benefit our students, not only academically, but also emotionally and socially with the necessary supports that will ensure their success. We are pleased that we will be working in partnership with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board to ensure the success of all WFNC students”.

Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education, added “After almost three years of meetings and negotiations, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has proudly signed the official Memorandum of Understanding with Windigo First Nations Council. Both Windigo and the KPDSB ensured Indigenous and Northern children were at the center of every conversation and decision throughout the creation of this agreement. The centrepiece of this agreement assures all of the Windigo communities that the KPDSB will share its expertise, learning and capacity-building so that the Windigo Education Authority may in a shorter period of time, be a stand-alone education authority. Keewatin-Patricia will now proudly add Windigo to its successful Indigenous partnerships that will improve the lives of children.”

Henry Wall (Kenora District Services Board CAO), Frank McKay (WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair) and Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education)

Photo caption (left to right): Henry Wall (Kenora District Services Board CAO), Frank McKay (WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair) and Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education).

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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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