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Hockey Canada Skills Academies officially underway following unprecedented expansion

01 Nov. 2016

Media Release - November 1, 2016

Photo Caption: Kenora area Hockey Canada Skills Academy students with donated hockey equipment from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Reebok.

The KPDSB’s Hockey Canada Skills Academies (HCSA) are officially underway in schools across Northwestern Ontario.  To date, nearly 800 students (elementary and secondary) are enrolled in our HCSA in the communities of Dryden/Vermilion Bay, Ignace, Kenora, Red Lake/Ear Falls, and Sioux Lookout for the 2016-2017 school year (enrolment in the HCSA in October 2015 was 300 students).

Our HCSA offer students a multitude of opportunities under the guidance of experienced coaches who are also qualified teachers (please click here for more information on our coaching staff).  Classroom and school based staff continue to report increased engagement and improved attendance for students involved in the academies.  Teachers and coaches are also seeing an increase in students’ self-confidence, as well as a willingness to challenge themselves as students and athletes, a heightened feeling of belonging and community from being a part of a team, development of important skills to help balance both school and sport, and improved awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthy eating habits.

The expansion of the HCSA for the 2016-2017 school year would not have been possible without the support of our staff, the families of our students, our communities and municipalities, and a large number of organizations and volunteers who donate their time and resources to support the program. 

Dave Tresoor, HCSA Lead for the KPDSB, stated “We are completely overwhelmed by the generosity shown to our Hockey Canada Skills Academies to help students who want to play the game, whether for the first time or as a returning player.  Thank you from all of us at the KPDSB to every individual, volunteer and organization who stepped up to support this program and ultimately, our students.  To see the growth of the academies over the years has been tremendous and we are excited about the future of the program.”

Tresoor added “We especially want to thank Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities for their support.  Hundreds of KPDSB students have been given the opportunity to participate in sport through their efforts to help us remove barriers that might otherwise prevent a child from playing.”

Donations of hockey equipment and other supports have also been received from Triple Play (Kenora), the Mayor’s Committee for Children and Youth (City of Dryden), Knobby’s Kids Hockey (Frank Spry), The Tate Group Inc. (Stan Flemming), and Bamaji Air, as well as Kevin Berube and Christine Bauermann and the parents the of the GTKL’s North York Knights Minor Midget AA team.  Individual donations have also come in from families and community members across the board area.

About Hockey Canada Skills Academies

The KPDSB’s Hockey Canada Skills Academies are designed to challenge and inspire all students who participate. They are a complete program that includes education, on-ice skills, off-ice strength and conditioning, mental training, and personal and team development. On-ice sessions include hockey fundamentals such as skating, puck handling, checking, passing, and tactics. When students are not on ice they are exposed to sport specific fitness training, floorball, stick handling and shooting.


Hockey Skills Academies in the KPDSB started in 2012 at Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora with 23 students in grades 10-12.  The 2015-2016 school year was the first year we offered fully accredited Hockey Canada Skills Academies to students in both elementary and secondary schools in Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout with approx. 300 students participating.  The 2016-2017 school year saw further expansion of the HCSA into Ignace, Red Lake, Ear Falls and Vermilion Bay with approximately 800 students now enrolled in the program. 


KPDSB and KOBE sign partnership agreement

24 Oct. 2016

Media Release - October 24, 2016

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education (KOBE) are pleased to announce the signing of a new partnership agreement to enhance educational services and opportunities for students and staff.  The agreement was signed with KO Chiefs’ representation and senior leadership together, prior to their meeting with senior officials at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Ministry of Education senior staff.

The new partnership agreement is guided by shared principles, including: the belief that all students deserve high quality, exemplary education experiences and outcomes; the recognition that each organization has inherent strengths and expertise that can be shared and leveraged for the mutual benefit of all students and staff; and acknowledgement of the definition of education as it relates to KOBE territory schools with respect to their inherent right and autonomy over education.

Areas of focus identified in the partnership agreement include new teacher support and capacity building, 21C teacher and learning supports, special education, literacy and numeracy supports, adult education, and principal mentoring and capacity building.  Also included in the agreement is a pilot project starting in Dryden that will see students from KO communities’ transition into area high schools where they will be provided with academic programing to meet their needs in a safe environment.

Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education, said “This formal agreement with Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education and the Northern Chiefs that represent its six communities, reflects not only two years of tireless and committed work behind the scenes; it also represents the best in partnership in Northern Ontario, unprecedented in scope and relationships. With this signing, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board now opens itself to the schools and staff of KO. It is truly a historic day for all who believe in Northern Children.”

Darrin Potter, KOBE Director of Education, added “We are excited about the shared experiences this partnership will provide for students and staff in both boards. First Nations’ Education has too long been disadvantaged by funding levels and opportunity.  We are hoping this agreement will give our students added support to reach their potential as any student should, regardless of where they live.” 


Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) represents the educational interests and provides services to approximately 1200 federally funded pupils in the following communities: Deer Lake First Nation, Fort Severn First Nation, Keewaywin First Nation, McDowell Lake First Nation, North Spirit Lake First Nation and Poplar Hill First Nation. KO also operates the Keewaytinook Internet High School (KIHS), a virtual school serving secondary students.  For more information, visit

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is a large regional public education provider, operating both elementary and secondary schools for both provincially and federally funded pupils, as well as adult learners, in Northwestern Ontario.  Over 5000 students and approximately 1000 adults are served in Upsala, Ignace, Savant Lake, Pickle Lake, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Vermilion Bay, Ear Falls, Red Lake, Kenora and Sioux Narrows.  For more information, visit


EQAO Online OSSLT cancelled due to technical issues

20 Oct. 2016

Letter to families of students writing the online OSSLT test today:

As you know, today school boards across the province attempted to hold a province-wide trial of the EQAO online testing system.  EQAO has since announced the test was cancelled due to significant technical issues. 

We wanted to ensure that the families of our students know that we recognize that our students fully prepared for the OSSLT today; that they all took it very seriously, were prepared academically and were in the mindset to fully participate in today’s writing.  The teachers who proctored the tests indicated that our students, your children, were very patient and made the most of the situation.

We have not yet been made aware of what exactly happened on EQAO’s end that resulted in the technical issues and cancellation of the test, but have sent our concerns to EQAO as a school system.  We will continue to wait for further details from EQAO as to what happened, what the next steps are and if or when there will be a further opportunity for students to write the OSSLT.

Families of students with questions about the cancellation of the test are encouraged to visit for more information.



October Board Meeting Highlights

12 Oct. 2016

Media Release - October 12, 2016

Trustees met at Red Lake-Madsen Public School (RLMPS) on Tuesday, October 11, for a regular board meeting.

The October “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘Robotics at Red Lake-Madsen Public School’ was received by Trustees.  Jeff Faulds, RLMPS teacher, accompanied by Grade 7 and 8 students in the school’s For Inspiration Recognition Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League, shared their learning with Trustees.  The FIRST Lego League is designed to inspire and engage students to use critical thinking to solve real world problems.  Students will tackle two projects for the 2016-2017 school year, the first is a science project that asks students to investigate human and animal interaction by identifying a problem, and, as a team, designing an innovative solution using technology.  The second project is called Robot Games and is designed to encourage students to solve engineering and computer programming problems based on real world situations, careers and technology.  Both projects offer authentic learning opportunities to students while promoting teamwork and collaboration among the students.

The KPDSB’s Senior Administration Team (Superintendents Caryl Hron and Joan Kantola, as well as Student Success Leader Scott Urquhart, and School Effectiveness Lead Susanne Bastable) presented the 2016-2017 Board Strategic Improvement Plan for Student Achievement report.  The annual presentation provides Trustees with an update on current priority areas and an overview of system data that has been collected from the previous school year.  Priority areas include providing authentic learning tasks to promote engagement in learning, the use of an integrated instruction and assessment model, and intervention strategies for any student not achieving success.  The Senior Team shared student achievement information that was cause for celebration, as well as identified areas that need more work.  Work continues in the Board to ensure that individual student achievement increases for all students, and that our programs and resources meet the needs of the whole child.

Joan Kantola, Superintendent of Education, presented the 2016-2017 Special Education Plan.    The plan is reviewed annually with support from the Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC).  It guides the delivery of special education supports for students and families with a strong focus on identification and interventions to support students while enhancing an inclusionary model of special education.  Identified areas of the plan include the use of assistive devices and applications, an integrated assessment model of instruction and effective interventions, and a focus on mental health issues and conditions, all of which are critical to the delivery of high quality special education services for students and families.

Kim Carlson, Facilities Manager, presented the 2016 Capital Projects report.  The KPDSB is proud of the capital project work that has been completed for 2016.  From the construction of portable classrooms at Valleyview Public School in Kenora in response to enrolment increases at the school, to upgrades to Red Lake District High School’s heating system to convert to natural gas, to the installation of new playground structures in Ignace, the capital project work is wide spread.  Total cost for our 2016 capital work is just over $6.7 million with the majority of projects reaching completion by October 2016.  For more information on the 2016 capital projects, please visit

Scott Urquhart, Student Success Leader, presented the Nishnawbe Aski Nation/Keewaytinook Okimakanak New School Grand Opening update.  The KPDSB and the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education (KOBE) began to build our partnership to serve students in Northwestern Ontario in the summer of 2015.  The partnership continues to grow and the 2016-2017 school year brings with it collaboration between KOBE and KPDSB leadership and teaching staff through a variety of initiatives, including the sharing of expertise and resources, working together to remove barriers for students, and continued building of capacity to better serve all students in the region.  As we work to finalize a formal partnership agreement for this work, the KPDSB was honoured to be invited to the grand opening of the Wasaho Cree Nation School, a new elementary school in Fort Severn on October 3rd.


KPDSB and NWHU continue to build partnership, sign memorandum of understanding

04 Oct. 2016

Joint Media Release - October 4, 2016

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) and the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) are excited to announce the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work in partnership to support the success and well-being of every student and child, as well as staff and families, in our school communities.

The MOU lays out a framework that will allow our organizations to build on the work already happening in schools and communities through planning at both the strategic and operational levels. Collaboration at these levels will identify mutual objectives, priority areas and further partnership opportunities.

The NWHU will provide information about programs and services to the KPDSB’s students, staff and families through a variety of mediums, including school newsletters and as a standing community member on the KPDSB’s Parent Involvement Committee.  The NWHU will also assist in providing input into school improvement plans, especially in the area of health and physical education, as well as policy development, workplace health, nutrition programs, a wide range of preventive health services for students, and professional development opportunities for KPDSB staff. 

Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education, said “With recognition that more wraparound services mean better support in our schools, this overarching agreement is a natural and most progressive next step.  We are grateful for the support of the health unit and the leadership it provides.”

“We are already seeing the value that this formalized partnership is having in our relationships with KPDSB schools” stated Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at the health unit. “A number of new opportunities have already been established that will benefit students and we look forward to many more in the years to come.”