Four
Directions
Jennifer McMaster
Four Directions Administrator
Keewatin Patricia District School Board
(807) 737-3500 ext 1224
jennifer.mcmaster@kpdsb.ca
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June Board Meeting Highlights - KPDSB Approves 2019-2024 Strategic Plan

12 Jun. 2019

Media Release - June 12, 2019

Trustees met at Red Lake District High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, for the last regular Board Meeting of the 2018-2019 school year. 

The June Kids Come First presentation titled ‘The Red Lake DHS Food and Nutrition Initiative’ was received by Trustees.  RLDHS teacher Darren Bausch, and students Connar Oster, Morgan Howell and Logan Ryczek, shared details of the initiative and how it has impacted them personally since it was implemented.  The goal of the initiative is to encourage students to know where their food comes from, as well as to provide healthy food options in the school and to model healthy eating for students. From student athletes who have noticed an improvement in their conditioning, to students and staff composting and growing their own healthy foods right at the school, the benefits to the school community as a whole are being celebrated. 

The 2019-2024 Strategic Plan was presented and approved by the Trustees, and concludes months of consultations and gathering of feedback from stakeholders. The new plan will guide the work of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board for the next five years.  The plan includes a new vision statement; the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board puts students first by creating a culture of learning.  New goals or areas of focus include:

  • Student Achievement – Ensure the necessary resources are provided to all students to increase their individual achievement.
  • Safe and Supportive Schools – Ensure all students and staff have safe learning and working environments, where the academic and mental health needs of the child are met.
  • Innovative Practice – Demonstrate effective “Change Ready” leadership.
  • Reconciliation – Ensure all school and staff are actively engaged in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

To view the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan in full, please click here.

Director of Education Sean Monteith presented the 2019 Employee Recognition Report.  Each June, The Board publically acknowledges all employees with 25 years of service and retirees for their achievement and contributions to education in the Northwest.  The 2018-2019 school year brought with it the retirement of 17 dedicated employees and another 11 were recognized for reaching the 25-year milestone. Combined, these employees have more than 700 years of service to public education.  The Board of Trustees acknowledge this incredible contribution and expressed gratitude for all they have done for children and youth throughout their careers.

The Sioux Lookout Capital Assets Report was presented to the Board. Trustees voted to direct Board Administration to approach the Ministry of Education to utilize $1 million in existing reserve funds to proceed with the demolition of the prohibitive to repair portion of Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout (students and staff moved into their new school, Sioux North High School, in March 2019).  The remaining portions of the building would be renovated and retrofitted in conjunction with Seven Generations Education Institute to offer post-secondary programming, including paraprofessional worker programs, Indigenous Nursing programs and Adult Education programs to support adults without a high school diploma. 

Under Business Arising from Committee of the Whole, Monteith presented the KPDSB Consolidation Report.  Recent government funding rollbacks amounting to approximately 4% of the overall annual Board operating budget have caused the administration and Trustees to look at all areas of spending for potential savings. The Board’s adopted stance to protect teaching positions and instructional services means that all operations needed review including the way the Board does business between the two offices, one in Dryden and the Head Office Kenora Board Office.  After careful consideration, a motion was put forward and approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees to consolidate the two Board Offices and relocate both offices to Keewatin Public School in Kenora for September 2022.  In total, the cost to operate both offices including lease and overall costs associated is in excess of $200,000 per year. In addition, the merging of the two offices into one location would allow for unprecedented job and portfolio consolidations, and in the process find significant savings at the central level. The end result of consolidating the Board Offices would be a mitigation of reductions in classrooms and school based positions at both elementary and secondary panel.

At present, Keewatin Public School is currently operating at approximately 50% capacity in terms of student occupancy and pupil places.  The elimination of the remaining 160 pupil places on the second floor of Keewatin Public School to accommodate the KPDSB Board Office supports the Board’s efforts to apply and secure funding for its only remaining major capital project priority: a replacement school for Valleyview Public School in Kenora.

Monteith stated “Tonight the Board of Trustees have made the decision to act on their commitment to the vision of the KPDSB, to put kids first. By approving a new Strategic Plan for the next five years and to make progressive decisions on capital and consolidation that protect classrooms, the Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board have taken the hard course of action and not shied away from our challenges. In the end our staff, our schools and our students will be the better for it.”

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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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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. 

 

http://www.kenoraonline.com/local/14269-student-achievement-goes-beyond-the-classroom-in-dryden 

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Four Directions Youtube Video

10 Feb. 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5resiBIgNog 

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FIRST NATIONS, METIS & INUIT (FNMI) COACHING PROGRAM BEGINS AT DRYDEN HIGH

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.
 

- See more at: http://www.drydenrotary.org/Stories/first-nations-metis-amp-inuit-(fnmi)-coaching-program-begins-at-dryden-high#sthash.hsIpr6O5.dpuf

 

 

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