Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, visits KPDSB’s Four Directions
Media Release - October 3, 2018
Staff and students of Dryden High School (DHS) were honoured to welcome Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, to Dryden High School today.
Minister Bennett spent most of her visit with DHS staff and students in the Four Directions space, an innovative approach focused on student success and graduation from secondary school for Indigenous students. The Four Directions approach has received national attention as graduation rates improve for Indigenous students, with the goal being to closing the graduation gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Minister Bennett also met with Board Administration and was welcomed by members of the Board of Trustees.
Four Directions provides intensive support to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students and their families with the goal of seeing each learner through to graduation. Four Directions staff assist with leading and implementing programs, and connecting students and families to support services within the school and the greater community to increase each learners network of support throughout and beyond high school. Dryden High School was the first school within the KPDSB to implement Four Directions, celebrating a 41% increase to 80% of Indigenous students graduating in four years after four years of coaching. Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora will celebrate their first graduating Four Directions class this June, followed by Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout in 2020, and Red Lake District High School in 2021.
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board remains a strong advocate for northern children and their families, with an unwavering focus on reconciliation and supporting the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Minister Bennett stated “Dryden High School’s Four Directions program is an inspiring example of the critical role our schools can play in reconciliation. By increasing the graduation of high school First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, as well as the retention, and their transition from elementary school to high school, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is demonstrating how we all can work together to build a stronger future for Indigenous Peoples and Canadians alike.”
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, added “While we have been visited by dignitaries and officials before, we are particularly proud to welcome and host the Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations to the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and specifically to our Indigenous Student Graduation Coach program. Having Minister Bennett here to meet with staff and students on the front lines, only validates what many of us have felt for a number of years now and that is that our efforts to close graduation gaps and improve educational opportunities for Indigenous students is reconciliation in action, very much a real effort in the KPDSB. With critical partners such as the Northwestern Health Unit, we welcome all First Nation students and their families to our schools, and we will stop at nothing until that gap is finally closed.”
KPDSB celebrates staff on World Teachers’ Day
Media Release - October 5, 2018
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board is celebrating teachers and educators across the Board area today for World Teachers’ Day.
World Teachers’ Day is day to celebrate and thank our teachers for the work they do with the children, youth and adult learners in our communities. Our teachers do more than teach academics. They are an empathetic ear, a guiding light, a shoulder to cry on, a source of inspiration, and so much more.
Sean Monteith, Director of Education, stated “While today is the day of the year that we officially recognize our world class educators, our teachers, it is even more important to recognize their heroic efforts each and every other day of the year. We don’t need just good teachers in the KPDSB, we need the best and that is exactly what we have. As Director of Education, I want to publicly acknowledge our elementary, secondary, special education, and adult education teachers this World Teachers’ Day.”
Thank you to all of our teachers across the KPDSB for always putting our students first.
Trustees receive update on efficacy in the KPDSB, learn more about new approaches to increase student achievement
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 kicks off Treaty Recognition Week with special assembly and Living Library at Beaver Brae Secondary School
Media Release - November 5, 2018
Staff and students of Beaver Brae Secondary School were honoured to welcome Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Treaty No. 3, and Greg Rickford, Federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, to the school today for a special assembly and Living Library in recognition of Treaty Recognition Week (November 4-10).
The goal of Treaty Recognition Week is to promote public education and awareness of treaties and treaty relationships to facilitate greater understanding of treaty history and current issues.
Following an opening prayer by Elder Bert Landon, Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh, and Minister Rickford spoke, encouraging students and staff to learn more about treaties and their history, while stressing the importance of Treaty Recognition Week and corresponding events and activities, particularly involving children and youth. Students, staff and guests were then part of a Living Library session by Elder Robert Greene. Greene shared a history of local treaties, and the historical and current impact of those treaties.
Grand Chief Kavanaugh stated "Treaties with Indigenous people are the foundation of Canada; honouring and upholding these sacred and everlasting commitments should be the upmost importance to all Canadians. I am pleased to participate in the initiatives held during the third annual Treaties Recognition Week, which I hope will foster greater awareness and serve as a reminder of our relationship to our treaty partners."
Tracey Benoit, Principal of Beaver Brae Secondary School, added “We were honoured to host an event like the Living Library as a kick off to Treaty Recognition Week for the region. Thank you to the Elders who were an important part of today’s events and to Grand Chief Kavanaugh and Minister Rickford for sharing in this event with our students. As a school and school board, we are committed to reconciliation and are proud of the work we do every day in our schools.”
Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake named first Downie Wenjack Fund Legacy School in Canada
Media Release - November 7, 2018
Staff and students at Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake, and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, are honoured to announce Crolancia Public School has been named the first Legacy School in Canada through the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (or Downie Wenjack Fund). The announcement was made at a school-wide assembly in October.
During the special assembly, Principal Holly Szumowski, announced the school’s plans to honour the Downie Wenjack Fund, including the dedication of two benches outside of the school, the dedication of the school’s Native as a Second Language (NSL) classroom as the Legacy Classroom, and the renaming of the school’s end of year NSL award as the Charlie Wenjack Award.
The Downie Wenjack Fund Legacy School program is an opportunity for classrooms/schools to lead the movement in awareness of the history and impact of the Residential School System on Indigenous Peoples. Legacy Schools are provided a Secret Path Toolkit and educational support resources to engage students, staff and school communities as a catalyst for reconciliation in Canada. The toolkits are being well used at the school, with staff engaging students in a wide variety of activities related to the book, the Secret Path.
Szumowski stated “When our teacher Harriet Visitor shared her work, connection, and involvement with the Downie Wenjack Fund, I knew that our school had to be a part of this movement. Being named the first Legacy School is a wonderful honour, however, the real work begins now. In the spirit of reconciliation, we must all continue to not only share Chanie’s story, but listen, respect, and respond to all survivors’ stories. As Justice Sinclair said, ‘Education is what got us here, and education is what will get us out.’”