09 Jan. 2019
Enrolment Increases: Evidence of innovative programs, results in new hires
Media Release - October 15, 2015
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is extremely pleased to see an increase in actual enrolment from last year at many of our schools across the district for the 2015-2016 school year. Most notably are the increases in elementary and secondary enrolment in Kenora at Valleyview Public School, King George VI Public School, Evergreen Public School and Beaver Brae Secondary School. In the Kenora area, our elementary schools are all over our budgeted figures with 64 students more than projected and 106 more students than in 2014. Similarly, Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora was pleased to enroll 72 more students than projected (in grades 9-12); while Valleyview Public School with its popular French Immersion and Full-Day Kindergarten programs welcomed 37 more students than it had in 2014. Valleyview currently has 98 Kindergarten students, the most of any kindergarten cohorts in the entire Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.
The enrolment increases were also experienced this year in Dryden and Sioux Lookout, with Open Roads Public School and New Prospect Public School seeing a combined increase of 20 full time students over projections. In Sioux Lookout, where the site preparations for the new high school replacing Queen Elizabeth are about to begin, more high school students are registering than ever before as anticipation of a new school is attracting many families from remote northern communities to register their children in Queen Elizabeth District High School and Sioux Mountain Public School. Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout saw an increase in enrolment with 42 more students than in 2014 and 58 more than projected.
With the creation and support of numerous new student-centered programs like the Hockey Skills Academy in Kenora, Dryden and Sioux Lookout amounting to over 300 students registered; as well as implementation of high school graduation coaches, mental health nurses and counselors, more speech language pathologists supports, and a full time ECE and kindergarten teacher to every one of our dedicated full-day kindergarten classrooms, the KPDSB is proud of its efforts to double-up its attention to innovation, promotion and profiling of its schools, staff and exemplary programs. The incredible success of its French Immersion programs at Valleyview and New Prospect Public Schools, have encouraged the Board to consider program options in every school.
The KPDSB budgeted enrolment for the 2015-2016 school year was 4,770 students. At the regular Board meeting on October 9, 2015, Senior Administration was able to share that there is currently 4,962 students who attend our public elementary, secondary and alternative schools across Northwestern Ontario. That’s 105 students above our 2014-2015 enrolment, and 192 above projections, and has allowed the Board to hire 8.5 more teachers and 3 early childhood educators (ECEs) this September, with most staffing increases coming in the Kenora and Sioux Lookout attendance areas.
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, stated following the Board meeting: “The numbers are reflective of what we in administration have seen going on behind the scenes for several years, and most particularly this past year, that the KPDSB staff want to: produce more innovative programs that put kids first, result in increased enrolment, and establish clearly that this organization will always fiercely advocate for its interests and schools. As Director, I am incredibly proud of my staff and administration, who have realized that every new student will be registered as a result of a most committed organization to kids.”
Celebrating our students literacy and numeracy achievements
KPDSB looks forward to the year ahead, celebrates student literacy and numeracy achievements
Media Release - October 15, 2015
Trustees met at Red Lake District High School in Red Lake on Tuesday, October 13, for a regular board meeting.
The October “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘Red Lake DHS Rams Fitness’ was received by Trustees. Red Lake DHS encourages students to be active and healthy and has been offering a unique opportunity to their students. Teachers at the school have created 20 minute workout sessions that are offered at lunch and after school. The sessions vary from week to week with staff rotating so that the sessions are always different. Trustees heard from RLDHS students that the benefits of the sessions are far-reaching, including a fun way get active and meet new people, allowing students from different sports to workout together, increasing school spirit and comradery among the students, teaching and honing important life skills, and building and fostering relationships with staff at the school.
Caryl Hron and Joan Kantola, Superintendents of Education, as well as Susanne Bastable, School Effectiveness Lead, and Scott Urquhart, Student Success Lead, presented the 2015-16 Board Strategic Improvement Plan for Student Achievement report. The plan guides the work that we do in our schools and has three overall goals:
- Ensure increased individual student achievement by providing programs and resources to meet the needs of the whole child.
- Close the achievement gap in order to meet the needs of our at-risk students.
- Communicate to students, their families, and community members that 21st Century learning is relevant.
Bastable highlighted some of the learning that has taken place over the past number of years that have allowed us to increase outcomes for our students, including the importance of precise and timely interventions, the acknowledgement that professional learning for staff is essential to the success of our students, the value of bringing together staff with various skill sets to better serve our students through an integrated approach, that equity of opportunity for our students is crucial, and that student engagement in their learning is a powerful way to increase student achievement, especially for at-risk students. Examples were given of this learning, including the early success of our Hockey Canada Skills Academies for improving student engagement and the success of our Kindergarten programs which have produced impressive results. For the 2014-15 school year, 93% of our Kindergarten students were reading by the time they graduated our programs.
Tracy Lindstrom, Curriculum Administrator, presented the Summer Learning 2015 report. We are proud to offer a variety of summer learning camps to our students during the summer months. The summer literacy and numeracy camps are offered to students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 who were thought to be at-risk in their literacy or numeracy development. During the summer of 2015, the summer learning camps were offered in Dryden, Ear Falls and Kenora. With a focus on explicit literacy/numeracy instruction supported by a strong recreation component and hands-on learning opportunities, the summer learning camps provide students with the opportunity to improve their literacy or numeracy skills before the upcoming school year in a fun and supportive environment. Once again, we saw impressive achievement results for students who participated in the camps with all students either maintaining or improving their skills. For more information, please contact Tracy Lindstrom, at 468-5571.
Kathleen O’Flaherty, Assistant Superintendent of Business, presented the 2015 enrolment report. A separate media release will be issued with further details.
Letter to Families - Ongoing Job Action in Elementary Schools
Dear Families, Parents and Guardians of KPDSB Elementary Students:
On September 18, 2015, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which represents local elementary teachers, announced plans to increase ongoing job action in Ontario public schools.
Part of this action is meant to increase the disruption that school and Board administrators will face, and to pressure the provincial discussions. This increased job action will see teachers still in their classrooms, teaching the curriculum, but will include things like not participating in extracurricular activities on Wednesdays and not updating classroom websites and blogs or creating classroom newsletters.
At this time, ETFO has informed teachers that unless significant progress has been made at the provincial, central bargaining table by the end of September, they MAY begin rotating one-day strikes. If that happens, we will provide you with as much notice as possible about the status of our schools.
Please be aware, the above information is for elementary schools only, our secondary schools are operating as per usual.
Locally we remain committed to problem solving and constructive dialogue to continue to preserve a very strong and functional relationship between our teachers and the Board. We remain optimistic that resolution is not that far away, and parents/guardians can be reassured that the Board will take whatever necessary actions it believes are required to maintain student learning and safety, and staff professionalism.
Director of Education
KPDSB kicks off 2015-16 with a focus on students, learning and leadership - September Board Meeting
Media Release - September 9, 2015
Trustees met at New Prospect Public School in Dryden on Tuesday, September 8, for the first Board Meeting of the 2015-2016 school year.
The September “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘2015 Kids Come First Video’ was received by Trustees. Sheena Valley, KPDSB Communications Officer, and Jordan Hinchey, owner of Spot On Creative, spoke to Trustees about the creation of the annual video that is shown to all staff on the first day of school and at all committee meetings. The video, created to inspire and give a visual representation of our strategic plan and vision statement of ‘Kids Come First’, includes footage from all areas of the board and has become an initiative that staff look forward to each year. Hinchey spoke of the job fondly, indicating that it’s a project he looks forward to and commended our staff for the work he sees in our buildings “You should all be very proud. None of what I see or record is a show or put on, it’s the real work that is happening in your classrooms. You have amazing staff doing amazing things and I’m very grateful to be able to help you tell your story.”
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, added “This video is truly a representation of who we are as an organization and underscores our three areas of focus: kids, learning and leading.”
Scott Urquhart, Student Success Lead, and Kieran McMonagle, Dryden High School (DHS) Graduation Coach, presented the First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) Grad Coach Report. The graduation coach model is a new initiative that began in June 2014 under the title of Four Directions Program. Currently, there are approximately 15 FNMI graduation coaches across Canada, with the only two in Ontario working in KPDSB schools (Dryden High School and Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora – new for the 2015-2016 school year). The work of graduation coaches is vast and includes building meaningful relationships with the students and their families, transition activities for FNMI students preparing to enter high school, participating and being visible at community events, academic and pathways support, and ensuring students know they have a caring adult to talk to throughout the day.
The goal of the Four Directions Program is to increase credit accumulation and mark distribution for FNMI Grade 9 students. That goal has been achieved in the first year with nearly 80% of DHS Grade 9 FNMI students achieving eight or more credits (only 3% below non-Aboriginal students in the same cohort) for the 2014-2015 school year, a stark difference from previous school years where approximately 55-60% of Grade 9 FNMI students achieved eight credits. We also saw significant improvements in mark distribution for those students and are proud to acknowledge that no students were disconnected from the school over the year. With enthusiastic support from the Student Achievement Division of the Ministry of Education, we will continue to grow these programs in Dryden and Kenora and hope to expand the program to Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout in the future.
Susanne Bastable, School Effectiveness Lead, and Heather Gardner, Aboriginal Family Case Worker, presented the Open Roads Public School Aboriginal Family Case Worker Report. The position at Open Roads, which began in January 2015, is a new and exciting initiative that works to support FNMI students in many different ways, including creating and fostering strong relationships with students and their families, building a sense of belonging at the school, encouraging and facilitating participation in community events, celebrating student achievement and successes with families, and acting as a liaison between home, school and other community supports. Gardner spoke of the work she is doing at the school passionately, sharing challenges some of the FNMI students at Open Roads face, and how those needs have to be addressed before children can expect to be able to focus on their learning. From providing nutritional meals for students, to supporting their families in making connections with community supports, the work of Gardner and the school staff is having a positive impact on the lives of FNMI students and their families.
Dean Carrie, Superintendent of Business, presented the Sioux Lookout High School update. Work continues on plans for the new school to ensure the building will meet the needs of our students and staff once completed. Trustees heard that soil samples from the future site of the new school have come back and plans for preparation for foundation work are currently being discussed with the Ministry of Education. We will continue to share updates on the progress of the new school as they become available.
Welcome Back Note from Director of Education, Sean Monteith
Writing a welcome back message to all of our students, their families, and staff and community partners, including our First Nations partners, comes this year with a feeling of mixed emotions. It seems like it was just a couple of days ago, that many of us were attending high school and public school graduations. “Where did the summer go?!” many will ask themselves, and I include myself in that camp. Regardless of where it went, on behalf of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board I hope that it brought you and your families the very best that only a Northwestern Ontario summer truly can provide!
September is here, and with it the change in leaves, cooler nights and sun filled days; September also means school is here and I welcome all of our students, staff and families back to our schools! There is a feeling in the air of excitement, enthusiasm, renewed energy and thoughts of the year ahead with all of the promise and hope that Public Education can bring….education truly is the great leveler of the field. As Mandela said years ago, “It is only through education that a son or daughter of a miner or laborer, can become the leader of a great country.” Mandela is right, regardless of where you live, what you do, what background or culture you represent and are proud of…you can become anything you want to be, and public education is the vehicle that will take you there! Of course, hard work and a commitment to accepting only the best for our students is also helpful, but that is where the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board comes in; we will support each and every student at achieving their best. We have the greatest teachers in this province leading by example, setting the highest of expectations and working in world class facilities and learning environments! We are ready to welcome all students and families back to school!
As I conclude my thoughts as the Director of Education, it would be remiss to not acknowledge that there remain challenges in our sector. There remain uncertainties and potential road bumps ahead; my message to all of you is that whatever the challenge or obstacle, we will overcome it and persevere; it absolutely is a trait of Northerners. With this in mind, I also want to take the opportunity to extend best wishes to all in the region for a successful year ahead, and specifically to the students, families and staff of the Kenora Catholic District School Board, Northwest Catholic District School Board and CSDC des Aurores boréales. May we work together in a spirit of cooperation that supports all students in the name of public education, and as always, put their needs first!
Best Wishes for 2015-2016!
Director of Education