KPDSB Welcomes New Trustee to Represent the Interests of Indigenous Students, Highlights Kindergarten Programming
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 www.buddysystem.ca. 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.
Keewatin Public School to Offer Forest School Programming for 2018-2019
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.”
KPDSB students in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout appointed to 2018-2019 Minister’s Student Advisory Council
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.”
Before- and After-School Program Survey for Families for 2018-2019 School Year
As we prepare for the 2018-2019 school year, we wanted to reach out to our families to find out your needs for before- and after-school programs next school year.
In order to gather this information, we have created a short survey for you. We are offering the survey both as a paper copy (will be sent home with your child this week) and an electronic option, please fill out whichever survey you are most comfortable using. Please visit this link - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/beforeafterschool2018 for the electronic survey.
The survey is open to families who have children in Kindergarten to Grade 5 in the 2017-2018 school year, as well as families with children who will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. Any information you can provide is helpful, even if you do not plan to enroll your child in before- or after-school programs.
Thanks for taking the time to fill out the survey! The electronic version will be available until the end of the day on April 30, 2018.
EQAO Executive Team completes visit to KPDSB Schools
Media Release - April 9, 2018
We were pleased to welcome members of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) to our schools last week.
Dr. Steven Reid, Chief Assessment Officer for EQAO, and members of the EQAO Executive Team visited KPDSB schools in Kenora, Dryden, Ignace, Red Lake, Ear Falls, and Sioux Lookout. They were also welcomed to Lac Seul First Nation to tour schools and meet with leadership in the community.
Staff and students from all areas of the Board were given the opportunity to meet with the EQAO Executive Team to share their experiences in education in Northwestern Ontario and specifically, with the provincial standardized tests. All students in Ontario are required to write the provincial assessments in Grade 3 and 6 (Reading, Writing and Math), Grade 9 (Math) and Grade 10 (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, a requirement for students to attain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma).
Reid had the following to say about his team’s visit, “In light of our commitment to modernizing EQAO assessments, our team was eager to learn more about realities and experiences in Northern Ontario. Director of Education, Sean Monteith, and his team were gracious hosts, taking us all across the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board to connect with students, staff and community members. We were honoured that so many people took the time to share their understandings, as well as their thoughts and hopes for the future.
“It is important to offer all students across Ontario equitable opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and EQAO gained valuable insights in speaking with KPDSB students, staff and community members. EQAO’s commitment to the future will reflect learnings from our visit, and we will continue to listen to perspectives from across the province as we develop assessments that are more student-focused, easily accessible and engaging. Our team has left with a great gift of knowledge. Miigwech KPDSB!”
Sean Monteith, Director of Education for the KPDSB added “For two full days, members of the EQAO Executive Team traveled throughout the entire district and met with staff, administration, parents, and most importantly our students, to look at how the realities and experiences unique to Northwestern Ontario might be reflected in the types of questions they are assessed on. Our kids are just as gifted and capable as any in all of Ontario. They should be able to share their experiences with the value they deserve; the fact EQAO and their leadership recognized this and came to see firsthand validates this. We are grateful for their time with us in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.”