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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.” 

Background

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 http://www.kochiefs.ca/.

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 www.kpdsb.on.ca.

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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 www.eqao.com for more information.

 

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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 www.kpdsb.on.ca.

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.

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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.”

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September Board Meeting Highlights

13 Sep. 2016

Media Release - September 13, 2016

Trustees met at Lillian Berg Public School in Vermilion Bay on Tuesday, September 13, for the first Board Meeting of the 2016-2017 school year.

The September “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘2016 Kids Come First Video’ was received by Trustees.  Sheena Valley, KPDSB Communications Officer, shared the new video with Trustees.  The annual videos are shown to all staff on the first day of school each year to celebrate the hard work of our staff, students and families, and to provide a visual representation of our vision statement ‘Kids Come First’.  The concept for the 2016 video was created by the KPDSB’s Staff Efficacy group and was titled ‘We are the KPDSB’.  The video includes footage from all areas of the board with staff and students sharing ‘we are’ statements about who they are both as individuals, and within the organization.  The 2016-2017 school year marks the fourth video since the initiative began and all four videos have been extremely well received by staff, with many requests to continue to create new videos each school year.

Heather Mutch, Principal of Keewatin Public School (KPS), as well as KPS staff Mike Dean, Anna Percy, Jacob Jeswiet and Andy Simons presented the Keewatin Public School Environmental Partnership report titled ‘Can Learning be an Adventure’.  During the fall of 2014, KPS staff and School Council embarked on a collaborative mission to develop the True North Adventure Program.  The program focuses on providing a wide variety of recreational learning opportunities using the natural surroundings neighboring the school to encourage students to understand, respect and connect with the natural world while nurturing students’ love for the outdoors.  From a partnership with Scouts Canada that allows a Scouts program to operate during the school day (the program at KPS is one of only two programs in all of Ontario that operates during school hours), to becoming a Boreal Forest School, to sports and recreation programming like the KPDSB’s Hockey Canada Skills Academy, the program is helping to develop active, engaged and confident learners.  KPS staff spoke passionately about the response to the program from students and look forward to continuing to develop the program, including the creation of a new $34,000 outdoor classroom through funding received from the Ministry of Education.

Scott Urquhart, Student Success Leader, presented the Secondary Summer Learning 2016 report.  Summer learning opportunities for students in the KPDSB continue to expand as we strive to meet the needs of our students.  Approximately 30 KPDSB staff worked in secondary programs during the summer of 2016.  Programs like credit recovery, reach ahead credits, e-learning, dual credits (where students can earn both secondary school and Confederation College credits) and cooperative education courses were offered this past summer, as well as providing opportunities for students to take additional courses to explore career options they may be interested in.  The Four Directions program running in Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout also offers reach ahead credits as an embedded part of the program where graduation coaches support Aboriginal students in getting the best possible start in high school by earning credits prior to starting Grade 9.  The programs offered each summer are based on identified student need in each community and we look forward to continuing to expand our summer learning opportunities each year.

Urquhart also presented the Meno Ya Win Health Centre/KPDSB Partnership report.  In the spring of 2014, the KPDSB partnered with the Meno Ya Win Health Centre and the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority to provide educational services to hospital clients residing in the Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik Hostel next to the hospital.  That support has since expanded to include clients with Tikinagan Child and Family Services and families at the First Step Women’s Shelter in Sioux Lookout.  The K-12 classroom and Adult Learning Centre are located in the main lobby of the hospital and support students in continuing their education while away from home.  In addition to the academic instruction, the program also offers various cultural aspects including traditional drumming and student counselling, as well as access to fitness and nutrition supports.  Enrolment in the program continues to increase each year with more than 160 students of all ages accessing the classroom this past school year.  Students in the program also have the option to continue the support they have received when they leave the hospital by using a variety of technology options. 

Caryl Hron, Superintendent of Education, presented the Child Care Program Planning update.  From 2012-2015, the KPDSB and the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) have received funding from the Ministry of Education to renovate spaces both inside and outside our schools to accommodate child care programs.  Renovations were completed at King George VI Public School and Evergreen Public School in Kenora, New Prospect Public School in Dryden, and Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout.  The Ministry of Education has since announced another opportunity to apply for capital funding to continue this work.  As part of this second round of funding, the KPDSB and KDSB have submitted a plan to continue to add child care programs and Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres (previously called Best Start Hubs) into our elementary schools.  If funding is approved, the plan has three phases and would be completed by the 2019-2020 school year:

Phase 1 – Dryden Area – All child care programs previously located at the Dryden Children’s Resource Centre have relocated into New Prospect and Open Roads for September 2016.  Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres in the Dryden area will rotate between Open Roads and New Prospect.  The Dryden area Nursery School Co-Op currently operates out of New Prospect Public School.

Phase 2 – Sioux Lookout Area – All child care programs from the Norah Love Children’s Centre in Sioux Lookout would relocate to Sioux Mountain Public School.  The Sioux Lookout area Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centre is already located at the school.

Phase 3 – Kenora Area – All child care programs currently located at the Cameron Bay Children’s Centre would relocate to Evergreen Public School and Keewatin Public School.

Hron stated “For five years now the KPDSB and KDSB have worked collaboratively and efficiently in our efforts to enhance child care services for families.  This plan is the next step in that relationship and we are optimistic this second round of funding will come through to allow us to implement these changes by the 2019-2020 school year.”

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