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Beaver Brae’s Tracey Benoit appointed to Ontario Minister of Education’s Principal Reference Group

11 Oct. 2017

Media Release - October 11, 2017

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board wishes to congratulate Tracey Benoit, Principal of Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora, on her recent appointment to the Minister of Education’s Principal Reference Group (MPRG).  Benoit will join the MPRG for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. 

The Minister’s Principal Reference Group (established in 2006) is made up of 20 principals and vice-principals from across Ontario who are appointed by the Minister of Education.  Principals serving on the MPRG provide the Minister with invaluable advice on a wide range of policy and program matters through their perspectives and experiences with Ministry of Education programs and policies.  They also share their individual insights, feedback and recommendations for education in Ontario directly with the Minister of Education.

Benoit stated “My initial reaction was one of shock when I learned I was chosen to be a part of the Minister’s Principal Reference Group.  It’s now sinking in and I understand the importance of the role, I feel very honoured to be a part of this group.  We have a firsthand opportunity to provide feedback on Ministry initiatives and their impact on our students and schools, and it’s exciting to think about the impact that my voice will have on future education policies and programs.  The Minister is interested in what educators, students and stakeholders have to say and I feel that it is critical to have the input of everyone across Ontario.”

Benoit added “I’m also excited to be able to collaborate with the principal group to share effective practices and to hear about their programs that foster student success. I know that what I learn over the next two years will help me develop immensely as an instructional leader and I’m really looking forward to that part of it.”

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, said “We are indeed pleased and proud of Tracey’s appointment to the Minister’s Principal Reference Group; but we are not surprised.  Those that know Tracey know her to be a leader among her peers and she deserves this appointment.”

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October Board Meeting Highlights

12 Oct. 2017

Media Release - October 12, 2017

Trustees met at Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, October 10, for a regular board meeting.  Trustees held their board meeting following an opportunity for a firsthand look at the progress to date on the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board‘s new high school, Sioux North High School.  Trustees were pleased with the progress and were informed that the walls have now been erected with roof work to begin within the week.  Please click here to view a live stream of the construction.

The October Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Project Sunset – Sioux Mountain Public School’ was received by Trustees.  Project Sunset Coordinator, Curtis Robb, and Sioux Mountain student, Kanaysah Kakegamic, shared their experiences in the program with Trustees. Project Sunset is an OPP-led initiative, designed to empower children and build skills like resiliency and self-awareness through a strengths-based, outdoors-focused experiential learning curriculum.  Some of the hands-on activities students in the program participate in include dogsledding, rock climbing, canoeing, and camping.  Kanaysah had plenty to say about the program, including that the program makes her feel safe and throughout the presentation, she referred to those involved as her family.  Kanaysah plans to return to the program once she goes on to high school as a mentor for the younger students.  Project Sunset is offered to students at KPDSB schools in Sioux Lookout, Dryden and Kenora.

Deanna Pacheco, Student Achievement Administrator, presented the Student Achievement report.  The position of Student Achievement Administrator was put in place in February 2016 and works closely with central Student Achievement Special Assignment Teachers and school administration.  Six KPDSB school were identified as the focus of the student achievement work for the 2017-2018 school year.  The work includes school and classroom visits to talk about instruction and assessment, sharing resources and best practices, and support for both school administrators and staff based on school and classroom needs.  The province’s renewed Math strategy is also an important component of this work and ultimately, the goal is to see students’ literacy and numeracy scores improve over time.

Superintendents Caryl Hron, Joan Kantola and Tania Sterling presented the 2017-2018 Board Continuous Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BCIP) update. The 2017-2018 BCIP, along with individual School Improvement Plans, guides the work of our schools.  Taking a grass roots approach to the plan, this year’s plan development includes increased analysis of school data with school administration, discussions around areas of student and teachers needs in each school, prioritization of centralized supports for schools, consultation with elementary and secondary administrators and central staff to identify priorities, and development of a draft BCIP for sharing with schools for feedback prior to presenting the BCIP to the Board of Trustees.

Kim Carlson, Facilities Manager, along with Chris Edie, Assistant Manager Facility Operations & Maintenance, and Steve Parker, Assistant Manager Facility Planning & Development, presented the 2017 Capital Projects report.  Highlights of capital work included:

  • Construction of Sioux North High School (Sioux Lookout)
  • Child care space planning at Sioux Mountain Public School (Sioux Lookout), New Prospect and Open Roads Public Schools (Dryden)
  • Roof replacements at Evergreen, King George and Keewatin Public Schools (Kenora)
  • Parking lot improvements at Red Lake District High School

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KPSDB Continues to See Enrolment Increases

15 Nov. 2017

Media Release - November 15, 2017

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is pleased to report increased student enrolment for the 2017-2018 school year. The KPDSB for the first time in its history, will no longer be eligible for the “Declining Enrolment Grant” in 2017-2018. 

The Board credits several factors for the increase in enrolment including its expansion of innovative student-based programs that increase student engagement and the efforts of front-line school staff to put the needs of students first. Additional acknowledgement must be given to ongoing and exhaustive efforts of administration to work closely with and sign formal agreements with Indigenous partners such as Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO), Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI), and Lac Seul First Nation (LSFN).

Budgeted enrolment for the 2017-2018 school year was 4,842 students.  Current enrolment for the KPDSB is 4,868, 26 students above the projected or budgeted enrolment.

Notable enrolment increases include:

  • All Kenora elementary schools: Valleyview, Evergreen, Keewatin, and King George VI Public Schools are above projected and actual 2016-17 enrolments;
  • Beaver Brae Grades 7/8 increased enrolment by 17 students;
  • Golden Learning Centre in Balmertown is 17 students over budget;
  • Sioux Narrows Public School enrolment at historic high; enrolment of 31 students;
  • Lillian Berg Public School in Vermilion Bay, increase of 22 students over 2016-17;
  • Queen Elizabeth DHS in Sioux Lookout is an additional 20 students higher than historic 2016-17 numbers with a total of 508; up from 396 students in 2013-14;
  • Enrolment in Senior Kindergarten was 12 higher than projected at 296 students.

 

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, said “There are always compelling indicators that clearly and indisputably demonstrate the direction an organization is headed in.  The enrolment growth in many of our schools and the enrolment picture across the Board is strong.  The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board continues to strengthen and with that so does our responsibility to Northern Ontario children.”

The KPDSB is currently seeking applicants for employment in all positions and will hold Recruitment Fairs in communities across the board area following a successful event in Sioux Lookout on November 8. Upcoming events include:

  • Dryden/Ignace/Vermilion Bay areas – December 11, 2017 at Dryden High School from 3:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Red Lake/Ear Falls areas – January 10, 2018 at Red Lake District High School from 3:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Kenora/Sioux Narrows areas – January 30, 2018 at Manidoo Baawaatig from 3:00pm to 8:00pm

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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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