24 Apr. 2019
Letter to Families - Potential Student Walk-Out on April 4, 2019
Dear Families, Parents and Guardians, and Students,
We are aware of the potential of a provincial act of civil disobedience in the form of a “walk-out” tomorrow (April 4, 2019, at 1:15 pm) by students across Ontario to protest proposed changes to education following recent announcements by the Ontario government. To be clear, our intention is not to condone nor deny our students their individual expression of a right to protest, but rather to provide you with information.
We wanted to clarify with families that the walk-out is not a Keewatin-Patricia District School Board sanctioned event. It is our expectation as a school board that our students will attend their regularly scheduled classes the afternoon of April 4; however, it is not our intention to prevent students from participating in this planned action. Any students not in attendance in their classes will be marked as absent as per our school board policies, and families will be notified accordingly as per usual.
Our top priority is always the safety of our students and the planned walk-out raises concerns around student safety, especially if students plan to go off-site. Please be aware that we cannot, and will not provide supervision of students off-site as classes will be in session, and any student action will be deemed to be outside of the scope of the KPDSB. Should an elementary student leave the school property without parental consent, we will contact the family as per our policies.
As a Board, we would encourage parents and guardians to use this potential action as a learning opportunity. You might consider initiating a conversation with your child(ren) to discuss why a student may choose to participate in such actions; in other words, what it means to participate in an event like this. There are many ways students can voice their concerns and we believe it’s an important conversation for families to have.
Should you have any questions, we ask that you please contact your school’s principal.
Director of Education and Chief Executive Officer
Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
April Board Meeting - Trustees learn about entrepreneurship programming in schools, receive learning technologies update
Media Release - April 11, 2019
Trustees met at the Kenora Education Centre on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, for a regular Board Meeting.
The April Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Valleyview Entrepreneurship Program’ was received by Trustees. Lisa Achilles, Principal of Valleyview Public School, Valleyview students, and Cierra Parkhill, Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation (LOWBIC), shared their recent learning with Trustees. Valleyview Public School has introduced a focus on business and entrepreneurship in partnership with LOWBIC through the Head Start in Business program. The goal of the program is to create learning environments that expose students to entrepreneurship experiences. The creativity and experiences shared by the students through programs like Be a Business Bee (Kindergarten-Grade 2), Create a Business Logo (Grades 3-6), and Kids Invent Program (Grade 6), impressed the Board of Trustees. With programs also available for intermediate and secondary students, there is no shortage of opportunities for program expansion in KPDSB schools. Components of the program are also available in French to support French Immersion students. Trustees thanked the presenters and expressed their hope to see more of this programming in schools in the future.
Jason McDonald, Learning Technologies Administrator, and Alexander McEachern, Technology-Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact, presented an update on the 2017-2020 KPDSB Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. Currently, in the second year of the three-year plan, technology-enabled learning has continued to expand and be available to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Key components of the plan include:
- The introduction of more than 400 Chromebooks in all primary grades with purposeful planning as to which applications will best meet student learning needs.
- The implementation of the G Suite set of educational tools from Google to support online classroom environments that allow for access to learning anytime and anywhere.
- Leveraging technology to collaborate across the region and beyond using video conferencing software that enables teachers to bring experts from various fields into classrooms, and helps students to develop global connections with students all over the world.
- Fostering creativity and critical problem-solving skills in students across the Board including providing more STEAM-focused learning opportunities through hands-on Makerspaces, computer coding and robotics.
- Integrating design technology into schools like 3-D printers and plasma cutters that allow students to learn with industry-standard tools.
- Ensuring on-going professional learning for staff through Learning Technology Champions at each elementary and secondary school who work with the Technology Enhanced Learning Teacher to mobilize and support the purposeful integration of technology for teaching and learning.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented an update on the KPDSB’s migration to new financial/accounting software called Sparkrock. Implementation began in October 2018 with a planned go-live date of July 1, 2019. Benefits provided by Sparkrock include cloud-based accessibility from anywhere with internet, timely and accurate financial reporting resulting in more informed decision making, and electronic approval routing for invoice payments, purchase orders and expense claims, making financial processes much more efficient and streamlined.
Letter to families regarding Valleyview School Capital Project
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.”