Jennifer McMaster
Four Directions Administrator
Keewatin Patricia District School Board
(807) 737-3500 ext 1224
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Program helps students feel at home

17 Sep. 2015

The Kee­watin-Patricia District School Board is help­ing First Nation stu­dents more in the class­room.

The school board has im­ple­mented two ini­tiatives aimed at im­prov­ing grades and bet­ter con­nect­ing abo­rig­i­nal stu­dents with their schools and com­mu­nity.

Stu­dent suc­cess lead Scott Urquhart and Dry­den High School grad­u­ion coach Kieran McMona­gle out­lined the First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) Grad Coach Re­port to trustees a meet­ing last week.

They said that the grad­uat­ion coach model is a new ini­tiative that be­gan in June 2014 un­der the Four Direc­tions Pro­gram.

Cur­rently, there are approximately 15 FNMI grad­uat­ion coaches across Canada, with the only two in On­tario work­ing in Kee­watin-Patri­cia high schools in Dry­den and Kenora — the pro­gram is be­ing im­ple­mented in Kenora this year.

Urquhart said the the work of grad­atu­ion 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 ac­cu­mu­lion and mark dis­tri­bu­tion for FNMI Grade 9 stu­dents, he said, not­ing th th goal has been achieved in the first year with nearly 80 per cent of Dry­den High School Grade 9 FNMI stu­dents achiev­ing eight or more cred­its — only three per cent be­low non-abo­rig­i­nal stu­dents in the same co­hort — for the 2014-2015 school year.

Th, he said, is a stark dif­fer­ence from pre­vi­ous school years where ap­prox­i­mely 55-60 per cent of Grade 9 FNMI stu­dents achieved eight cred­its.

“We also saw sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in mark dis­tri­bu­tion for those stu­dents and are proud to ac­knowl­edge th no stu­dents were dis­con­nected from the school over the year. With en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port from the Stu­dent Achieve­ment Divi­sion of the Min­istry of Ed­u­cion, 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,” Urquhart said.

Stu­dents are also get­ting help in el­e­men­tary school.

School ef­fec­tive­ness lead Su­sanne Bastable and Heather Gard­ner, Abo­rig­i­nal fam­ily case worker, told trustees that the fam­ily case worker po­si­tion Open Roads School, which be­gan in Jan­uary 2015, works to sup­port FNMI stu­dents in many dif­fer­ent ways.


KPDSB celebrates excellence at Dryden High School, receives update on KPDSB/NAN partnership

14 Nov. 2016

Media Release - November 14, 2016

Trustees met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, November 8, for a regular board meeting.

The November “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘Skills for Life’ was received by Trustees. Dryden High School (DHS) teachers Paul and Dave Darling, accompanied by DHS students, shared a glimpse into technology programs offered at DHS.  The classes offered through DHS’s technology department are vast, including transportation, communications, construction and manufacturing technology, computer sciences and robotics, dual credits (where students can earn both a high school and college credit) in welding and basic hand tools, and an integrated trades bundle credit program.  Students at the presentation shared what the technology courses mean to them, telling Trustees that the hands on learning offered through the tech classes reduces stress, provides creative outlets, builds confidence, and increases engagement while providing an opportunity to explore new experiences and find out what they are interested in, all while having some fun during the school day.

A group of DHS staff also made a presentation to Trustees, titled ‘A Story of our Successful Graduates and Leaders of Tomorrow’.  DHS teachers Jason Stevenson (Languages Department Head, English), Kurt Schmidt (Science Department Head, Physics, Outdoor Education), Blair Roberts (Senior Biology and Chemistry, Environmental Science), Nicole Moline (Senior English, Anthropology) and Joanna Ulisse-Caren (Senior Math - Calculus and Vectors, Advanced Functions, Data Management) shared some of the strategies they use in their classrooms as they work to prepare their students for their careers of choice.  All agreed on the importance of challenging their students through inquiry based strategies to support them in becoming resilient, self-sufficient learners who can think critically and form out of the box solutions to any challenges they may face in the future.

Following the teachers presentation, videos of DHS alumni were shared where former students spoke about how their time at DHS prepared them for the careers and post secondary studies they have chosen.  Trustees heard many of the students not only felt they were well prepared for their programs, but that they watched their classmates struggle and were grateful to the staff at DHS for going above and beyond to make sure they had the tools they needed to succeed.  The students spoke about specific staff in the building who had impacts on them, often identifying more than one teacher or staff member, and extended their appreciation and thanks to their former teachers for their support, which often continued past graduation.

Michael Boos, KPDSB principal currently on secondment with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), presented the NAN/KPDSB partnership update.  In 2013, discussions began between NAN and the KPDSB to look at new ways of support northern children.  Through those discussions, a partnership was formed to develop and implement a pilot program to support Frist Nation schools within the NAN territory though leadership development, while working collaboratively to help design and promote strategies to equip First Nation students with the self-confidence and educational opportunities to be successful in reaching their education goals.  Beginning steps of the pilot program include, but are not limited to, an assessment of what is needed, on the ground assistance based on community needs, support for teacher evaluations, retention strategies, transitions strategies, and principal mentorship.  Participation by NAN communities is voluntary, with the following communities participating in the initial pilot program as of November 8, 2016: Fort Severn First Nation, North Spirit Lake First Nation, Webequie First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Long Lake #58 First Nation, and Mattagami First Nation.  Each First Nation will work directly with Boos in developing a plan to meet their needs.


2017-2018 School Year Calendar Survey

24 Nov. 2016


The Regional School Year Calendar Committee is once again looking for input from families and staff around start/end dates for the 2017-2018 school year.  Please click on the links above to fill out the quick survey.

The survey will be open until December 9, 2016.  Should you have any questions, please contact Sheena Valley, Communications Officer, at





KPDSB launches new application process for employment opportunities

01 Dec. 2016

Media Release - December 1, 2016

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) is launching a new platform for receiving applications for positions with the organization.

Apply To Education provides a paperless application system that streamlines the recruitment process for applicants by allowing them to fill out one application online and upload all of their supporting documents to complete their portfolio. 

Beginning today, when individuals access they will be directed to to create a profile and apply for jobs.  Additionally, job seekers can request to receive e-mail alerts when a new job is advertised for the Board.  There is no cost to applicants to utilize this service.

The use of Apply To Education will replace previous procedures for applying for jobs and being hired within the KPDSB.  This platform will also provide additional services within the Board, including management of absences for staff as well as internal job postings.

Jocelyn Bullock, Human Resources Manager stated “We are excited to move forward with this project and look forward to the new working relationship with Apply to Education to improve the overall experiences of potential future employees and current staff”.


KPDSB Chair and Vice-Chair acclaimed, Trustee appointments announced, Trustee Appointments Announced

19 Dec. 2016

Media Release - December 19, 2016

Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, for the inaugural board meeting of the 2017 calendar year.

The Board of Trustees committed to stability and direction by acclaiming Trustee Dave Penney as Chair and Trustee Cecile Marcino as Vice-Chair.

The following Trustee appointments were made:

  • Trustees Roger Griffiths, Jennifer Kitowski and George Seaton were appointed to the Audit and Finance Committees for a one year term. 
  • Trustees Lesley Barnes, Desta Buswa and Gerald Kleist were appointed to the Native Education Advisory Council (NEAC) for a one year term.  
  • Trustee Cecile Marcino was appointed to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Board of Directors. 
  • Trustee Jennifer Kitowski was appointed as the alternate to the OPSBA Board of Directors. 
  • Trustee Dave Penney was appointed as the OPSBA voting delegate. 
  • Trustee David Wilkinson was appointed as the OPSBA voting delegate alternate for the General Meeting. 
  • Trustees Lesley Barnes and Michelle Guitard were appointed to the Parent Involvement Committee for a one year term. 
  • Trustees Michelle Guitard and Jennifer Manitowabi were appointed to the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for a one year term.  
  • Trustee Roger Griffiths was appointed to the Transportation Policy Committee. 
  • Trustee Lesley Barnes was appointed as the Transportation Policy Committee Alternate.