20 Nov. 2017
School Starts on Tuesday, August 29th! Welcome Back from our Director of Education!
Back to School! Classes start on August 29, 2017!
Message from the Director of Education
What a "Back to School” message means depends a great deal on who you are, where you live and if you are around young people; whether that be as parents, grandparents, elders, teachers or community members. In the days ahead, the relaxed atmosphere of the dog days of July and August, transitions into cooler nights, shorter days, and kids with backpacks walking our sidewalks emitting the sounds of laughter. I always think of the parents of first year kindergarten students, and more specifically their emotions, as they send their greatest investment and achievements...their children, off to start school; and in doing so keeping in the back of their minds that 14 years from now they will hopefully graduate from high school.
As the proud Director of Education for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, I write this annual message while sifting back and forth between looking out over my favorite Northern Ontario lake in Ear Falls, reflecting on the summer's events dominated by fishing and reading, and feeling the energy and invigoration that working in the service of children brings. I recognize I am biased, but in my own opinion there is no greater calling than EDUCATION.
September is almost here, and I welcome all of our students, staff and families back to our schools! Our schools in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board are sparkling. Much capital work has been completed in Red Lake, Dryden, and Kenora; and work in Sioux Lookout on our new Sioux North High School has begun and is on track! 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. And nowhere in this province of Ontario is education more important than right here in the Northwest.
September marks the beginning of new chapters for many students and families, but also for our staff who eagerly await the arrival of faces of young learners, looking to be inspired and they themselves inspiring those around them with stories of resilience and optimism.
The past year for us in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board was a powerful reminder of what can be and what hard work and innovation can achieve, when we work together and think outside-of-the-box. I see our hard work and enthusiasm as absolute traits of us Northerners. 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, Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boreales, and Northwest Catholic District School Board. 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!
As the Director of Education for the KPDSB, I assure all parents and students that our commitment to the needs of Northern Children, your children, remains resolved, determined and assuredly uncompromising.
Best wishes for 2017-2018.
Director of Education
Live Stream of Construction of Sioux North High School (Sioux Lookout)
Our new high school (Sioux North High School) in Sioux Lookout is really taking shape! Save this link to watch the construction - https://www.youtube.com/embed/live_stream?channel=UCQGj4ntcdJSsaIpV4q1TA_A
Beaver Brae’s Tracey Benoit appointed to Ontario Minister of Education’s Principal Reference Group
Media Release - October 11, 2017
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board wishes to congratulate Tracey Benoit, Principal of Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora, on her recent appointment to the Minister of Education’s Principal Reference Group (MPRG). Benoit will join the MPRG for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
The Minister’s Principal Reference Group (established in 2006) is made up of 20 principals and vice-principals from across Ontario who are appointed by the Minister of Education. 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. They also share their individual insights, feedback and recommendations for education in Ontario directly with the Minister of Education.
Benoit stated “My initial reaction was one of shock when I learned I was chosen to be a part of the Minister’s Principal Reference Group. It’s now sinking in and I understand the importance of the role, I feel very honoured to be a part of this group. We have a firsthand opportunity to provide feedback on Ministry initiatives and their impact on our students and schools, and it’s exciting to think about the impact that my voice will have on future education policies and programs. The Minister is interested in what educators, students and stakeholders have to say and I feel that it is critical to have the input of everyone across Ontario.”
Benoit added “I’m also excited to be able to collaborate with the principal group to share effective practices and to hear about their programs that foster student success. I know that what I learn over the next two years will help me develop immensely as an instructional leader and I’m really looking forward to that part of it.”
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, said “We are indeed pleased and proud of Tracey’s appointment to the Minister’s Principal Reference Group; but we are not surprised. Those that know Tracey know her to be a leader among her peers and she deserves this appointment.”
October Board Meeting Highlights
Media Release - October 12, 2017
Trustees met at Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, October 10, for a regular board meeting. Trustees held their board meeting following an opportunity for a firsthand look at the progress to date on the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board‘s new high school, Sioux North High School. Trustees were pleased with the progress and were informed that the walls have now been erected with roof work to begin within the week. Please click here to view a live stream of the construction.
The October Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Project Sunset – Sioux Mountain Public School’ was received by Trustees. Project Sunset Coordinator, Curtis Robb, and Sioux Mountain student, Kanaysah Kakegamic, shared their experiences in the program with Trustees. Project Sunset is an OPP-led initiative, designed to empower children and build skills like resiliency and self-awareness through a strengths-based, outdoors-focused experiential learning curriculum. Some of the hands-on activities students in the program participate in include dogsledding, rock climbing, canoeing, and camping. Kanaysah had plenty to say about the program, including that the program makes her feel safe and throughout the presentation, she referred to those involved as her family. Kanaysah plans to return to the program once she goes on to high school as a mentor for the younger students. Project Sunset is offered to students at KPDSB schools in Sioux Lookout, Dryden and Kenora.
Deanna Pacheco, Student Achievement Administrator, presented the Student Achievement report. The position of Student Achievement Administrator was put in place in February 2016 and works closely with central Student Achievement Special Assignment Teachers and school administration. Six KPDSB school were identified as the focus of the student achievement work for the 2017-2018 school year. The work includes school and classroom visits to talk about instruction and assessment, sharing resources and best practices, and support for both school administrators and staff based on school and classroom needs. The province’s renewed Math strategy is also an important component of this work and ultimately, the goal is to see students’ literacy and numeracy scores improve over time.
Superintendents Caryl Hron, Joan Kantola and Tania Sterling presented the 2017-2018 Board Continuous Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BCIP) update. The 2017-2018 BCIP, along with individual School Improvement Plans, guides the work of our schools. Taking a grass roots approach to the plan, this year’s plan development includes increased analysis of school data with school administration, discussions around areas of student and teachers needs in each school, prioritization of centralized supports for schools, consultation with elementary and secondary administrators and central staff to identify priorities, and development of a draft BCIP for sharing with schools for feedback prior to presenting the BCIP to the Board of Trustees.
Kim Carlson, Facilities Manager, along with Chris Edie, Assistant Manager Facility Operations & Maintenance, and Steve Parker, Assistant Manager Facility Planning & Development, presented the 2017 Capital Projects report. Highlights of capital work included:
- Construction of Sioux North High School (Sioux Lookout)
- Child care space planning at Sioux Mountain Public School (Sioux Lookout), New Prospect and Open Roads Public Schools (Dryden)
- Roof replacements at Evergreen, King George and Keewatin Public Schools (Kenora)
- Parking lot improvements at Red Lake District High School
KPDSB appoints New Superintendents of Education, Human Resources
Media Release - February 14, 2017
Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board are pleased to announce the appointment of Tania Sterling to Superintendent of Education with responsibility for Secondary Schools and Student Success effective August, 2017; and the appointment of Joan Kantola, currently Superintendent of Education, to the new position of Superintendent of Human Resources and Special Education effective April 1, 2017.
The appointments mark a further significant milestone in the Board’s restructuring of its administration and executive teams. Supported by the Efficacy work that has been underway for the past four years and taking place across the board and schools, these changes also secure strong succession planning for the future.
Dr. Sterling made the following comments about her new appointment “Over the past few years, I have developed strong relationships with staff and a deep understanding of the goals that lie ahead. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities offered by this new position with KPDSB.”
“I am very appreciative and humbled to be assuming my new role” said Joan Kantola with regards to her new appointment. “I have great respect for our current Human Resources staff and I look forward to working alongside the department to ensure we maintain the highest level of customer service for our entire system. I am looking forward to building a collaborative working relationship with Tania in her new role in our efforts to continue to put students first.”
Dave Penney, Board Chair, said “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are extremely pleased to welcome Tania, knowing that her qualifications will no doubt be a great asset and that she will help to strengthen what we know is already an incredibly strong executive leadership team here at the KPDSB. We look forward to working with Tania and Joan in their new appointments.”
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, added “With the appointment of Tania Sterling to our team and the experience that she brings with her; and the appointment of Joan to a new realm of responsibility, the KPDSB has taken the last major step towards its end-goal of a system-reorganization. Capitalizing on the new external expertise Tania brings, and supported by the reassignment of existing assets and experiences Joan, Caryl Hron, Dean Carrie, and Kathleen O’Flaherty possess, as Director of Education I could not be more pleased. This is tremendous for the KPDSB; there is simply a lot of gratification being felt today.”
Dr. Tania Sterling comes to the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board with over 22 years of instructional and educational leadership experience in Ontario. She has designed and facilitated face-to-face and online professional learning in K12, higher education, and corporate settings. In June 2013, Tania assumed the Vice President, Efficacy role at Pearson Canada to ensure its products and services had a measurable impact on learners. Her most rewarding system improvement work has involved collaborating with educators and leaders in K12 school districts in Northwestern Ontario and the Ministry of Education in Nunavut to support the unique needs of FNMI learners. In her free time, Tania enjoys cooking, yoga, and spending time outdoors. She and her husband Kevin keep busy schedules coordinating visits with their two sons Kurtis and Jack who are attending university, and cheering their daughter Julia on during her competitive dance season.
Joan Kantola has been the Superintendent of Education with the KPDSB since 2013 when she assumed responsibility for the Board’s Special Education and Elementary Schools’ Programming. Recently Joan successfully completed the Rotman School of Business Strategic Executive Human Resources Management Program, with the University of Toronto.
Joan and Tania will work alongside Caryl Hron Superintendent of Elementary Education, Early Learning and Instruction; Dean Carrie, Superintendent of Business; Kathleen O’Flaherty, Assistant Superintendent of Business; and Director of Education Sean Monteith.