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KPDSB students in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout appointed to 2018-2019 Minister’s Student Advisory Council

21 Mar. 2018

Media Release - March 21, 2018

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board wishes to congratulate Red Lake District High School’s Drea Sinclair and Queen Elizabeth District High School’s (Sioux Lookout) Tristan Bouchard on their appointments to the 2018-2019 Ontario Minister’s Student Advisory Council.  Both students were selected from more than 400 applicants from across Ontario. 

The Minister’s Student Advisory Council provides students with an opportunity share their ideas and advice directly with the Minister of Education on how to make Ontario’s schools greater places for all students to learn, grow and succeed.  Students on the Council are also encouraged to speak up and take action on topics to strengthen student engagement across the province.  Appointments to the Council are for a one year term, commencing in May 2018.

Bouchard, currently in Grade 9 at Queen Elizabeth District High School, had the following to say about his appointment, “I am both nervous and excited at the same time. I’m not going to represent myself, I am going to represent my high school, and the youth in my region. I applied for this opportunity because I feel like the youth in our area are not heard at the provincial level, and I want to do something to remind the government that we are still here.”

Sinclair, currently in Grade 10 at Red Lake District High School, detailed why she wanted to be on the Council, “I applied for this position because I believe my voice is important and I wanted to advocate for student mental health on and off reserve.  I am very excited for this opportunity.”

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, said, “The maturity of these two young people, reflective in their comments and influenced by their personal experiences, makes them not only appropriate voices for all Northern Youth, but tremendous ambassadors for the entire Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.  The fact that the KPDSB has two students appointed to the Minister’s Student Advisory Council, should not be confused as a coincidence, but rather a reflection of the regard Keewatin-Patricia receives on-going by the Province of Ontario. We are all very pleased of both Drea and Tristan, two remarkable northern young people.”


Keewatin Public School to Offer Forest School Programming for 2018-2019

19 Mar. 2018

Media Release - March 19, 2018

Through the Child and Nature Alliance’s Forest School Canada, key staff in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board will receive training in creating programs about nature and the forest thanks to a generous donation by Domtar in Dryden.

Forest School is an educational approach that can be found in schools around the world.  Children in a Forest School learn in the natural environment with students spending the majority of their time learning outdoors.  The program ensures regular and repeated access to the same natural spaces around them so children can build an ongoing relationship with both their teachers, and the land.

Keewatin Public School in Keewatin will be the first KPDSB school to offer Forest School programming, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.  Keewatin Public School will also unveil a new outdoor learning environment in September to accompany its Forest School programming.  The new outdoor learning environment, based on the four elements of earth, water, wind and fire, will provide children with the ability to explore and learn outside in a space designed to foster their learning.

Heather Mutch, Principal of Keewatin Public School, stated “Keewatin Public School is thrilled to announce our plan for accreditation as a Forest School and the opportunity for our children to reap the benefits.  Forest School is an inquiry-based, child-centered approach to learning where all students foster their curiosity and develop great ideas in a place-based, outdoor environment.”

“This innovative approach to education is a good fit with our values and our longstanding efforts to support youth in their understanding of sustainability concepts,” said Bonny Skene of Domtar.  “We are very pleased to support teachers from the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board in developing their knowledge and expertise and we look forward to more Forest School accreditations in our region.”

Mutch added “Having Forest School programming at Keewatin Public School fits nicely with our school-wide focus on outdoor and environmental education and our successful partnership with Scouts Canada. We wish to thank Domtar for their generous donation which allows us to provide staff training and program implementation.”


March Board Meeting Highlights

07 Mar. 2018

Media Release - March 7, 2018

Trustees met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, March 6, for a regular board meeting. 

The March Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Building a Movement Together: Facing Mental Health Issues through Creative Expression and Peer Support’ was received by Trustees.  Beaver Brae Secondary School Music and Fine Arts Department Head and teacher, Suzanne McIntosh, along with three Beaver Brae students spoke to the Trustees about the school’s new Jack Chapter. is a national network of young leaders who are working to transform the way we think about mental health.  The students plan events and activities for their peers with a focus on shifting negative attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours around mental health to create a safer, more supportive school community. Student Lexie Alcock also performed an original song called ‘I’m Only Fifteen’ for the Trustees during the students’ presentation, receiving enthusiastic applause and encouragement from the Board.

Tracey Benoit, Principal of Beaver Brae Secondary School, presented the Minister of Education’s Principal Advisory Reference Group (MPARG) report.  In August 2018, Benoit was appointed to a two year term on the MPARG by then Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter.  The appointment marked the first time a principal from Northwestern Ontario has been appointed to the group and Benoit is 1 of 20 principals and vice-principals from across Ontario on the MPARG.  Principals serving on the MPRG provide the Minister with invaluable advice on a wide range of policy and program matters through their perspectives and experiences with Ministry of Education programs and policies.  That feedback is then used to help determine next steps and appropriate courses of action, whether that is policy, regulation or legislation.  Members of the group also share their individual insights, feedback and recommendations for education in Ontario directly with the Minister of Education.  Benoit shared with the Trustees that it’s an honour to be a part of the MPARG and that she is proud to be a representative at the table for the KPSDB and Northwestern Ontario.   


KPDSB Welcomes New Trustee to Represent the Interests of Indigenous Students, Highlights Kindergarten Programming

20 Feb. 2018

Media Release - February 20, 2018

Trustees met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, February 13, for a regular board meeting. 

The February Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Kindergarten Program Report’ was received by Trustees.  Dawn-Marie Terry, Kindergarten Teacher, and Melissa Bradley, Early Childhood Educator (ECE), are one of the Kindergarten Teams at Open Roads Public School and they brought some of their former students to talk to the Trustees about their experiences in Kindergarten.  Trustees were pleased to hear the students talk about their inquiry based learning, including how their teachers encouraged them to explore and take their learning outside, and the importance of relationships in the Kindergarten programs.  For more information on our Kindergarten programs, please visit  Kindergarten Registration Week for the KPDSB is February 26 to March 2 and all of our public schools are currently accepting registrations, both online at Buddy System, and in person at any of our schools.

Eric Bortlis was sworn in as Trustee to Represent the Interests of Indigenous Students.  Bortlis was sworn in by Director of Education, Sean Monteith, for a term ending on November 30, 2019.  Bortlis has served as Director of Professional Development for Teach for Canada and is currently Education Director for Lac Seul First Nation which represents the biggest education services agreement partner of all community partners and tribal councils with the KPDSB.  The Board of Trustees welcomed Bortlis and expressed their eagerness to working closely with him during his term.

Monteith stated “We welcome Eric to the Board and are excited to have a person with his experience and leadership working actively in multiple education settings in First Nation schools. We are very pleased to have such an active and competent leader in Indigenous Education on the Board.”

Caryl Hron, Superintendent of Education, and Sarah Stevenson, Director of Integrated Social Services for the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) presented the Early Learning Partnership Report.  As the Ontario Ministry of Education works to create 100,000 more child care spaces, a focus on expanding child care and EarlyON programs into schools to provide better access to services for children and families has allowed the KPDSB and KDSB to continue to grow their partnership as both organizations work to support area families. 

Following successful renovations during the first round of funding, which included new child care spaces at both King George VI and Evergreen Public Schools in Kenora, as well as playground renovations at New Prospect Public School in Dryden and Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout, the second round of funding to retrofit schools to accommodate both child care and EarlyON will be completed in three phases:

  • Phase One – Dryden Area - During the first phase, child care programs from The Dryden Children’s Resource Centre were relocated to New Prospect and Open Roads Public Schools.  Open Roads Public School also had space renovated to create a new kitchen space to support the programming, while New Prospect will receive a new outdoor playground space (to be completed in the spring). 
  • Phase Two – Sioux Lookout Area - During the second phase, child care programs from Norah Love Children’s Centre in Sioux Lookout will be relocated to Sioux Mountain Public School.  Renovations of classrooms at Sioux Mountain will be required to accommodate the additional programming, as well as renovations to the school’s existing kitchen, and the creation of a new outdoor playground space for the programs.
  • Phase Three – Kenora Area - During the third phase, child care programs from Cameron Bay Children’s Centre in Kenora will be relocated to Evergreen Public School (Toddler Program) and Keewatin Public School (Preschool Program). 

Richard Hodgkinson, Principal of Dryden High School (DHS), introduced a group of teachers who recently participated in the first Teacher’s Tour in the region, put on by the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) through a partnership with Domtar.  The professional development opportunity was offered to teachers in late October.  The tour provided teachers with an opportunity to participate in classroom sessions as well as tour active harvest operations while participating in hands on activities.  Participants were then provided with teaching kits, activities and other materials that fit into the Ontario curriculum.  All of the teachers spoke positively of the experience, and saw connections for their students in the Forestry industry, from careers in trades, to science and technology.

Trustees approved the 2018-2019 School Year Calendar.  Following two rounds of community consultation, including a survey of families across the region, the calendar has a school start date of September 5, 2018 (historically school has started before Labour Day in the region).  The calendar will now be sent to the Ministry of Education for final approval.  To view the 2018-2019 School Year Calendar, and results of the survey, please click here.


Board of Trustees Appropriate $4 Million Dollars for Valleyview Public School Capital Project

13 Feb. 2018

Media Release - February 13, 2018

At the regular February Board Meeting of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, Trustees took the proactive step of approving the appropriation of $4 million dollars towards the Valleyview Public School Capital Project.  The Board recognizes that the next step in this critical work is with the Ministry of Education.

The rebuilding and replacement of Valleyview Public School in Kenora is the number one major capital project for the KPDSB, and in recent years, has gained increasing attention and urgency as enrolment at the school continues to grow.  Enrolment at Valleyview Public School has doubled in the last five years (2013-2018), with increases both in English and French Immersion programming.  The school is home to the largest primary cohort of students across the entire KPDSB.

The funds have now been appropriated for the Valleyview Public School Capital Project and are an indication of the Board’s commitment to both the Ministry of Education and the Valleyview Public School Community.

Estimated costs for the replacement of Valleyview Public School is $16 million. 

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, stated “Valleyview Public School is the number one, and officially the only, major capital project that remains for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.  By allocating the largest investment in our history, from reserves, for the purposes of a new elementary school, the Board has demonstrated an investment to the Valleyview Public School Community.  The parents, staff, and especially the students of Valleyview deserve nothing but the best; and that is exactly what we are determined to give them.”

Dave Penney, Chair of the Board, added “We are confident that our Ministry of Education partners will continue to support and demonstrate their belief in the Valleyview Public School Community by enhancing the commitment that the KPDSB Trustees have responsibly made here tonight.”