Four Directions: Dryden High School
79 Casimir Ave
Dryden, ON P8N 2H4
Phone: (807) 223-2316 ext. 119
Fax: (807) 223-2380
Four Directions: Beaver Brae Secondary School
1400 9th St N
Kenora, ON P9N 2T7
Phone: (807) 468-6401 ext. 3228
Fax: (807) 468-3628
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Trustees receive update on efficacy in the KPDSB, learn more about new approaches to increase student achievement

10 Oct. 2018

Media Releases - October 10, 2018

Trustees met at the Kenora Board Office on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, for a regular board meeting.  Trustees also toured King George VI Public School prior to the meeting.

The October Kids Come First presentation titled ‘How King George VI Public School Creates a Learning Environment that Promotes Student Achievement’ was received by Trustees.  Principals Tim Flynn and Nicole Vingerhoeds were joined by some of their students to share their experiences at King George with the Board of Trustees.  While King George is well known in the Kenora area for its Recreation Program and Special Education services, students shared some of the many other opportunities available to them at their school.  From Hockey Canada Skills Academy, Primary Choir, and You’re the Chef programs, to language programming and Robotics and Lego Club, Trustees heard how the staff at King George go above and beyond to provide as many opportunities to students as possible.  By providing a variety of programs and extracurricular activities for students in addition to academics, staff at the school note their students are happy, engaged and ready to learn. 

Shannon Bailey, Principal of Evergreen Public School in Kenora, and KPDSB Efficacy Working Group Member, presented the KPDSB Efficacy Report.  In 2013, the KPDSB underwent a System Efficacy Review, conducted by internationally recognized efficacy experts with Pearson Learning Services. Since that time, the KPDSB has engaged in a "whole-system" effort of reform and change with all decisions centered around putting students first.  In 2015, to support the work of efficacy in the KPDSB, and the implementation of actions and decisions, a System Efficacy Working Group, comprised of staff from schools and departments across the KPDSB, was implemented to advise the Board on decisions that impact classrooms and students and suggest areas of improvement. The work of efficacy has provided effective ways of identifying the needs of students and staff, as well as determining new and exciting strategies for improving attendance, graduation rates and mental health supports by using staff and student voice as the catalyst for change.  For more information, please see the attached infographics.

Deanna Pacheco, Student Achievement Administrator, and Caryl Hron, Superintendent of Education, presented the Elementary Achievement Report.  In February 2017, the KPDSB introduced a new support model to assist identified schools, called focus schools, in the Board.   In order to support the focus schools, which were selected based on student needs, the System Achievement Administrator was put in place to work one on one with administrators in each school (six in total) with the goal of increasing student achievement.    The supports for each focus school varied, based on student and staff needs, but all included the use of different assessments to drive the work, as well as increased regular school visits by central support staff and networking between staff to share best practices.  Recently released EQAO results for the 2016-2017 school year show historic results for some of the focus schools, including Sioux Mountain Public School and Red Lake-Madsen Public School.  Staff feedback also indicates the new support model is working and following these successes, the number of focus schools for the 2018-2019 school year has been expanded.  


KPDSB Media Release

09 Sep. 2015

Media Release - September 9, 2015

Trustees met at New Prospect Public School in Dryden on Tuesday, September 8, for the first Board Meeting of the 2015-2016 school year.

The September “Students Come First” presentation titled ‘2015 Kids Come First Video’ was received by Trustees.  Sheena Valley, KPDSB Communications Officer, and Jordan Hinchey, owner of Spot On Creative, spoke to Trustees about the creation of the annual video that is shown to all staff on the first day of school and at all committee meetings.  The video, created to inspire and give a visual representation of our strategic plan and vision statement of ‘Kids Come First’, includes footage from all areas of the board and has become an initiative that staff look forward to each year. Hinchey spoke of the job fondly, indicating that it’s a project he looks forward to and commended our staff for the work he sees in our buildings “You should all be very proud.  None of what I see or record is a show or put on, it’s the real work that is happening in your classrooms.  You have amazing staff doing amazing things and I’m very grateful to be able to help you tell your story.”

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, added “This video is truly a representation of who we are as an organization and underscores our three areas of focus: kids, learning and leading.” 

Scott Urquhart, Student Success Lead, and Kieran McMonagle, Dryden High School (DHS) Graduation Coach, presented the First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) Grad Coach Report.  The graduation coach model is a new initiative that began in June 2014 under the title of Four Directions Program.  Currently, there are approximately 15 FNMI graduation coaches across Canada, with the only two in Ontario working in KPDSB schools (Dryden High School and Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora – new for the 2015-2016 school year).  The work of graduation 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 accumulation and mark distribution for FNMI Grade 9 students.  That goal has been achieved in the first year with nearly 80% of DHS Grade 9 FNMI students achieving eight or more credits (only 3% below non-Aboriginal students in the same cohort) for the 2014-2015 school year, a stark difference from previous school years where approximately 55-60% of Grade 9 FNMI students achieved eight credits.  We also saw significant improvements in mark distribution for those students and are proud to acknowledge that no students were disconnected from the school over the year.  With enthusiastic support from the Student Achievement Division of the Ministry of Education, 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.

Susanne Bastable, School Effectiveness Lead, and Heather Gardner, Aboriginal Family Case Worker, presented the Open Roads Public School Aboriginal Family Case Worker Report.  The position at Open Roads, which began in January 2015, is a new and exciting initiative that works to support FNMI students in many different ways, including creating and fostering strong relationships with students and their families, building a sense of belonging at the school, encouraging and facilitating participation in community events, celebrating student achievement and successes with families, and acting as a liaison between home, school and other community supports.  Gardner spoke of the work she is doing at the school passionately, sharing challenges some of the FNMI students at Open Roads face, and how those needs have to be addressed before children can expect to be able to focus on their learning. From providing nutritional meals for students, to supporting their families in making connections with community supports, the work of Gardner and the school staff is having a positive impact on the lives of FNMI students and their families.

Dean Carrie, Superintendent of Business, presented the Sioux Lookout High School update.  Work continues on plans for the new school to ensure the building will meet the needs of our students and staff once completed.  Trustees heard that soil samples from the future site of the new school have come back and plans for preparation for foundation work are currently being discussed with the Ministry of Education.  We will continue to share updates on the progress of the new school as they become available.


KENORA ONLINE: Student achievement goes beyond the classroom in Dryden

05 Sep. 2015

For trustees at the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, improving test scores can mean adopting strategies that go well beyond the classroom.

Heather Gardner's job is helping aboriginal children at Open Roads School in Dryden. As she told trustees last night, she's rarely at her desk.

"I'm almost never sitting down. I'm always in the classroom getting to know the students, getting to know the teachers. I'm in and out of the school getting to know the families as well. We're always in constant communication with them. Whether that's a text, a phone call, an email, Facebook message, Twitter. Whatever it is, we need to do to reach the families and get them to correspond with the school," she said.

At Dryden High School, Scott Urquhart oversees the Four Directions initiative. In their first year, he says they were able to narrow the gap in academic achievement between aboriginal students in Grade 9 and their peers.

"I think it speaks to what's possible and what can be done, and the commitment we're ready to make as a school board to move forward," he said.

In an average year, Urquhart says up to 60 per cent of Grade 9 students might earn eight credits. Last year, after the Four Directions program, 80 per cent of students earned eight credits. That's only three per cent below the average for non-aboriginal students in Grade 9.

Kieran McMonagle is called a grad coach. She's been working with aboriginal students in The Four Directions initiative -- which is focused on aboriginal students in Grade 9 -- in an effort to improve their academic achievement. McMonagle says the key is building strong relationships with her students, as well as their families and communities.

"So, for some students, that might mean working with their parent or guardian. For some students, it might mean working with a coach or a team within the school, or in the greater community. For some, it might be linking them with an agency, to better support and meet their needs," she said.

Urquhart says this kind of result has people in Queen's Park taking notice. He adds the board is hoping to expand the program to Beaver Brae in Kenora, while continuing with a second cohort in Dryden.

With a legacy of residential schools, as well as missing and murdered aboriginal women, both staff say its important to provide a strong bond between the classroom and the communities they serve. 


Four Directions Youtube Video

10 Feb. 2015 



06 Aug. 2014


Beginning in 2014 Dryden High School is piloting a new program for First Nations, Metis & Inuit (FNMI) students. FNMI is a program which provides mentorship, individual and group support for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students transitioning to and attending High School. It is the first program of its kind in Ontario.

A special coach-educator has been hired to assist in developing and implementing programs, services and other supports to meet the unique needs of FNMI students and their families, with a focus on student success and graduation.
The “coach” collaborates with school staff, parents, FNMI officials and outside agencies to foster success for students.
As a member of the school team, the “Coach” plays a crucial role in assisting all staff to improve achievement and graduation rates for FNMI students attending Dryden High School.
This is the nub of the FNMI program explained to Dryden Rotarians by the DHS Vice-Principal Jennifer McMaster, and Scott Urquhart, Student Success Leader.
The KPDSB had identified that the graduation rate among FNMI students is about 20 % less than the average. This is consistent with data from Alberta. DHS used as its model the FNMI program created at the Edmonton Catholic District School Board.
At present DHS has about 20 - 25 % who self-identify as First Nation, Metis, or Inuit students. This is expected to grow to 50% in the near future.
This summer Kieran McMonagle has been hired as the Graduation coach.  She will identify FNMI students at risk of dropping out of school and work with them and their families to ensure they stay in school.
The graduation coach monitors absences, late slips, behaviour referrals, class performance and the number of graduation criteria met, as well as the participation of the student in school events.
A special room has been created for Kieran where students can come for help, to talk, do homework, or just to feel that they are in a safe environment.
McMonagle will also provide transition support for students coming into high school or help with post-secondary education and career planning. One of her goals is to keep engaged with parents and ensure there are appropriate cultural activities.

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