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KPDSB and Windigo First Nations Council Sign Memorandum of Understanding

29 Nov. 2018

Media Release - November 29, 2018

WINNIPEG, MB: Windigo First Nations Council (WFNC) and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance educational services and opportunities for students and staff. The agreement was signed today in Winnipeg, Manitoba during the WFNC Chiefs’ Meeting.

The MOU is intended to establish a forum for the WFNC and KPDSB to work collaboratively to help design and promote strategies to equip First Nation students with the social, emotional and academic educational opportunities required to be successful in reaching their personal and educational goals, and in attaining achievement levels comparable to the general student population in Ontario.

Priority areas in the MOU include:

  • Student Support Services - Including student safety, social and emotional mental health, student transition and orientation programs, early exposure to career planning, parental empowerment initiatives, support mechanisms for students living away from home, student retention strategies, access and ongoing participation in extra-curricular activities, the development of a First Nation student anti-addiction education program, and other student support services as needed.
  • Independent Education Plans (IEP) - Support in the form of strategies and professional mentorship will be provided to identify special needs students and to develop IEPs for such students. First Nation education will be supported with access to required student supports and programs, including access to professional development on all aspects of IEP evaluation and implementation.

  • Curriculum - Development of curriculum modules and implementation strategies to enhance the inclusion and integration of First Nation history, culture, perspectives and language for all students in both First Nation and provincially operated schools.  
  • Professional Development - Strategies to reciprocate support of staff learning in meeting the holistic learning needs of First Nation students. Development of strategies to facilitate cross-cultural training and professional development for educators in the provincial education system.

  • Communication - Identification of mechanisms to improve communication between provincially funded schools within the Ontario public education context, and First Nation schools.
  • Human Resources - Activities to support the effectiveness of education and support staff in both the First Nation and provincially operated systems to help ensure that staff have the skills and training to meet the needs of First Nations in both education systems. Explore options to facilitate increasing the number of First Nation staff, including the participation of elders, in KPDSB schools. Develop and implement retention programs for administrators, teachers and support staff to improve staff relations and continuance of programming.
  • Professional Mentoring - Engage in professional mentoring programs between First Nations and the KPDSB for best practices.
  • Specialized Supports - Access to specialists, including but not limited to speech and language development, support staff, and literacy/numeracy specialists.
  • Parental Participation - Strategies to facilitate improved First Nation parental communication, empowerment and involvement throughout their children’s academic years in all educational systems on and off their traditional territory.

Frank McKay, WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair, stated “Today we are pleased to sign on behalf of the Windigo First Nations Communities and above all our students.  We envision going forward with the issues outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding, it can only benefit our students, not only academically, but also emotionally and socially with the necessary supports that will ensure their success. We are pleased that we will be working in partnership with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board to ensure the success of all WFNC students”.

Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education, added “After almost three years of meetings and negotiations, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has proudly signed the official Memorandum of Understanding with Windigo First Nations Council. Both Windigo and the KPDSB ensured Indigenous and Northern children were at the center of every conversation and decision throughout the creation of this agreement. The centrepiece of this agreement assures all of the Windigo communities that the KPDSB will share its expertise, learning and capacity-building so that the Windigo Education Authority may in a shorter period of time, be a stand-alone education authority. Keewatin-Patricia will now proudly add Windigo to its successful Indigenous partnerships that will improve the lives of children.”

Henry Wall (Kenora District Services Board CAO), Frank McKay (WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair) and Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education)

Photo caption (left to right): Henry Wall (Kenora District Services Board CAO), Frank McKay (WFNC Chief Executive Officer and Council Chair) and Sean Monteith, KPDSB Director of Education).

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KPDSB elects new Chair and Vice-Chair, Trustee appointments announced

05 Dec. 2018

Media Release - December 5, 2018

Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board met at Dryden High School on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, for the Inaugural Board Meeting.

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board swore in it’s new Board of Trustees, welcoming four new members for the 2018-2022 term.  The list of Trustees and the areas they represent are below.

Kenora Area

  • Cecile Marcino, Chair
  • Dave Cornish
  • Jennifer Kitowski

Ear Falls Area

  • Gerald Kleist, Vice-Chair

Dryden Area

  • Barb Gauthier
  • Roger Griffiths

Sioux Lookout Area

  • Darrin Head

Red Lake Area

  • Marilyn Duncalfe

Ignace and Sturgeon Lake Areas

  • Bob O’Donohue

Pickle Lake, Savant Lake and Upsala Areas

  • Michelle Guitard

Individual on the Board to Represent the Interests of Indigenous Students

  • Eric Bortlis

The Board of Trustees elected Cecile Marcino from the Kenora area as Chair of the Board for a one-year term following 18 years serving as Vice-Chair.  Trustees Dave Cornish, Barb Gauthier and Gerald Kleist all received nominations for the position of Vice-Chair with Trustee Gerald Kleist ultimately being elected as Vice-Chair for a one-year term.  Kleist has served as a Trustee for the Ear Falls area for 18 years.

The following Trustee appointments were made:

  • Trustee Barb Gauthier was appointed to the Executive Committee for the period of December 4, 2018, to April 12, 2019, and Trustee Bob O’Donohue was appointed to the Executive Committee for the period of April 22, 2019, to November 30, 2019.
  • Trustees Roger Griffiths, Marilyn Duncalfe and Michelle Guitard were appointed to the Audit and Finance Committees for a one-year term.
  • Trustees Eric Bortlis, Dave Cornish and Gerald Kleist were appointed to the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee (IEAC) for a one-year term. 
  • Trustees Eric Bortlis, Dave Cornish and Darrin Head were appointed to the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for a one-year term. 
  • Trustees Barb Gauthier and Marilyn Duncalfe were appointed to the Early Years Advisory Committee (EYAC) for a one-year term.
  • Trustees Darrin Head and Michelle Guitard were appointed to the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) for a one-year term.
  • Trustee Jennifer Kitowski was appointed to the Transportation Policy Committee for a one-year term.
  • Trustee Jennifer Kitowski was appointed to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Board of Directors.

Cecile Marcino, Chair of the Board, stated “Thank you to my fellow Trustees for the opportunity to be your Chair and I look forward to the upcoming years with this Board.  I know that any challenges we face, we will face together as a team.  As a long-standing Trustee with the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, I am very proud of the work of our staff and students and know that we will all continue to put our students and their needs first.”

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KPDSB first school board in Ontario to register all schools for OPHEA Healthy Schools Certification

18 Dec. 2018

Media Release - December 18, 2018

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has become the first school board in Ontario to register all its schools for the OPHEA Healthy Schools Certification. 

OPHEA’s Healthy Schools Certification recognizes and celebrates school communities for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff, and the broader community. Participating schools across Ontario complete the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process, which aligns with the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School resource.  Through a point-based system schools plan their Healthy Schools process over the course of the school year. They outline the steps needed to achieve certification as gold, silver, or bronze.

Quotes:

“For the first time ever, all schools from one school board are participating in OPHEA’s Healthy Schools Certification! The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board should be proud of all its schools for their commitment this school year in becoming a Healthy School, and in promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff, and the broader community.”

- Sarah Christie, Bilingual Projects Leader, OPHEA

“We know that active healthy living and exercise is important for everyone, and particularly youth. Being physical and in turn promoting physical and mental well-being has become a priority for all of us in our schools. We know that in Northern Ontario, physical health and well-being are even more important and we are proud in Keewatin-Patricia to ensure we are doing our best to encourage this way of life. Congratulations to all of our schools and their champions in each location for promoting and making this a way of being.”

- Sean Monteith, Director of Education, Keewatin-Patricia District School Board

Background

OPHEA is a charitable organization that champions healthy, active living in schools and communities through quality programs and services, partnerships and advocacy, and is led by the vision that all children and youth value and enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy, active living.  In the 2017-2018 school year, 16 KPSDB schools received the OPHEA Healthy Schools Certification with 11 achieving gold level certification.

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Trustees explore impact of assistive technology and coding, celebrate 2018 achievements in Director’s Annual Report

09 Jan. 2019

Media Release - January 9, 2019

Trustees met via videoconference on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, for a regular Board Meeting. 

The January Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Bringing the Learning OUT through Coding’ was received by Trustees.  Doris St. Jules, Principal of Lillian Berg Public School, and Shannon Elliott, Grade 5/6 Teacher, were joined by Lillian Berg Public School students to share their experiences in coding with Trustees.  The students shared some insights into coding, including a definition of coding, why it is important, and what they’ve learned through coding. Trustees heard how the students are learning about perseverance, innovation, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork through their coding activities, with some students even designing their own video game.  Elliott shared how proud she is of her students and how coding encourages them to take risks, teaches them not to be afraid to make mistakes and to celebrate their successes when they overcome challenges.

Tim Flynn, Principal, Nicole Vingerhoeds, Vice-Principal, and student Isaiah Stahls from King Geroge VI Public School in Kenora presented the Special Education Assistive Device presentation.  Students at King George and schools across the Board area are using technology to support student learning, including different assistive technology and devices for Special Education students, including students with learning disabilities.  Technology, and in particular assistive technology, helps to remove barriers to learning for students. Isaiah shared some of his experiences with using assistive technology, including how it has supported him in completing his assignments by allowing him to use speech to text for writing rather than pen and paper, an area he struggled with in the past.  He shared with Trustees that he can write faster using the technology and that it helps him not to get frustrated with his school work so he can focus on completing his assignments.  Isaiah’s mother, Robyn, shared that they have seen improvement in many different areas since the introduction of assistive technology to support him in the classroom.

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, and Sheena Valley, Communications & Strategic Branding Officer, presented the 2018 Director’s Annual Report.  The Director’s Annual Report highlights the work of our staff and students in 2018.  Areas of focus in the report include our continued work in the area of reconciliation, academic success, mental health in schools, 21st Century learning, Indigenous student support and success, wrap around supports, specialized programs and strategic partnerships.  The report also includes a notable achievements section.  In 2018, the KPDSB celebrated a variety of achievements, including:

  • A visit to Dryden High School by Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, where she met with students who are a part of our Four Directions First Nation, Metis and Inuit Graduation Coach approach.  The KPDSB’s Four Directions approach has received National attention with our first graduating cohort in June 2018 from Dryden High School showing a 40 percentage point increase in the number of self-identified students graduating from Dryden High School compared to previous averages.  The Four Directions approach was also recognized by Indspire at the 2018 National Gathering for Indigenous Education in Edmonton, Alberta, where Tania Sterling, Superintendent of Education, was presented the Indspire Nurturing Capacity: Documenting Community plaque.
  • The appointment of two of our students, Drea Sinclair from Red Lake District High School, and Tristan Bouchard from Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout to the 2018-2019 Minister’s Student Advisory Council.  Drea and Tristan were chosen from more than 400 applicants from across Ontario.
  • Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake was named the first Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy School in Canada.  The school has a variety of initiatives planned to honour the designation, including the dedication of two benches outside of the schools, the dedication of the school’s Native as a Second Language classroom as the Legacy Classroom, and the renaming of the school’s end of the year NSL award.
  • The KPSDB became the first school board in Ontario to register all of its schools for OPHEA Healthy Schools Certification.  OPHEA’s Health Schools Certification recognizes and celebrates school communities for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff, and the broader community.

To view the 2018 Director’s Annual Report, please click here.

Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented the Ear Falls Public School Capital Project update.  Construction is set to begin on the $5 million project for the total renovation of Ear Falls Public School.  The project will be done in two phases, with the first set to begin in March 2019, and the second beginning in June 2019, with completion anticipated for September 2019. 

Findlay also presented the Sioux North High School Capital Project update.  Work continues on our new school, Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout, and excitement continues to build as we prepare to move into the new building from the old Queen Elizabeth District High School site.  Spaces built for our partners in the building, FIREFLY and Confederation College, are now complete and staff from those organizations are beginning their move into the building.  Staff and students are anticipated to move into the new building following the March Break.  A grand opening for the new $30 million school is being planned for spring 2019.

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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.

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