Pathways, Planning & Supports
In 2018-2019, over 1100 students in the KPDSB participated in programs that incorporate experiential learning including SHSM, Co-op/OYAP and Dual Credits.
KPDSB Creating Pathways to Success is founded on a vision that views students as the architects of their own lives. What students believe about themselves and their opportunities, significantly influences the choices students make and the degree to which they achieve their goals. Pathways teachers will guide students as they develop the ability to implement and revise or adapt their plan throughout their school lives and beyond as they and the world around them change. Parents/Guardians and the broader community will influence the choices students make and will be encouraged to be engaged in this student-led process.
The education and career/life pathways planning program is based on three core beliefs, namely, that; all students can be successful; success comes in many forms; and there are many pathways to success. Students develop a web-based individual pathways plan (IPP) using myBlueprint as a foundation for exploration of self, their interests, and education/career goals. Pathways learning in and outside of the classroom will ensure that students develop the knowledge and skills they need to make informed education and career/life choice through the effective application of a four-step inquiry process. Who am I? What are my opportunities? Who do I want to become? What is my plan for achieving my goals?
Students may continue to choose a technical or skilled trades focus into high school where they have the opportunity to compete in secondary competitions. Pathways enhancing programs including Co-op/OYAP, SHSM and SCWI Dual Credits prepare students for these experiences and advance their preparedness for their initial post secondary destination.
Pathways education is focused on supporting students as they prepare to transition to their initial post-secondary destination. Programs that contribute to focused planning support a variety of pathway choices including apprenticeship, college, community living, university, or the workplace. KPDSB pathways enhanced programs are uniquely designed to develop skills and habits necessary to succeed in their education, career and life planning. Each of our six high schools will provide opportunities for students to complete Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) training as one of the components of their Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). In 2018-2019, KPDSB had 283 senior students developing their skills in 16 different SHSM programs being offered at 5 high schools. KPDSB currently offers SHSM programs in transportation, construction, manufacturing, environment, mining, business and health and wellness. Students benefit from experiential learning opportunities that include site visits to regional industries where students learn firsthand about future career opportunities in a variety of sector related fields.
KPDSB partners with Confederation College to support the delivery of Dual Credit programs where students can earn a high school and college credit. Dual Credit programs are designed to engage students and the success rate for students who participate, graduate and transition to a post-secondary destination is very high. Dryden High School is very proud of a new dual credit course offering, “Teaching from the Land”, an Interdisciplinary studies course initiated in Semester two of the 2018-19 school year. The course provides students with a way to connect with the land and apply elements from various subject curriculum such as; Native Studies, Science, Health and Physical Education, in a meaningful way. This connection, to the past traditional knowledge and skill, enhances and supports the students land-based and experiential learning opportunities specific to the region. Having students learn from the local land, as first nation ancestors did, helps students understand its true value, importance and connection to local culture, language and identity. The course was available to all students regardless of ancestry and provided all with land-based activities within various traditions and practices that encouraged high levels of engagement. “Teaching from the Land” course is set out to help in our efforts of reconciliation and helping all students understand who they are, where they come from, where they are going. DHS will continue implementing programming that encourages everyone to work and learn together helping all our students succeed and develop a positive vision of the future.
KPDSB students who identify the apprenticeship pathway may choose to participate in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) which includes a trade-related cooperative education placement. Students begin to develop the necessary skills for the trade as well as confidence that this is an area in which he or she could be successful prior to graduating. KPDSB students participated in a wide variety of skilled trade related placements including heavy duty equipment, general carpentry, construction, child and youth worker and hairstylist.
KPDSB hosted many activities through partnership with Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) to support awareness of the apprenticeship pathways including the Women in Trades Event hosted by Beaver Brae Secondary School in partnership with TransCanada Pipeline Ltd. Students also participated in Skills Ontario elementary and secondary trades and technology competitions as well as the Lac Seul Trades Fair in Sioux Lookout where students connect with community mentors and stakeholders who share their experience and provide information related to employment opportunities.
KPDSB is committed to programs that enhance pathways planning and successful transition to a student’s initial post-secondary destination.
Students from Red Lake Madsen Public School competed in the Elementary Cardboard Boat Races hosted by Skills Ontario in Dryden and are testing the buoyancy of the boat (weight challenge) they constructed as a team. They earned a silver medal and qualified for the provincial Skills Ontario competition.
KPDSB students David and Jonathon Werstler from DHS competed in the provincial team carpentry competition and won the gold medal. Outstanding accomplishment as they competed against 50 other teams from various School Boards.
Site visits to Weyerhaeuser guided by team leads for human resources, health and safety, construction and maintenance electrical, stationary engineer, heavy duty equipment technician, and industrial mechanic millwright.
SHSM student, Sydney McInnis, shares her experience at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital with elementary students who attended the Co-op Career Fair to learn about the variety of career/Co-op opportunities in the health and wellness sector. Sydney also completed valuable industry recognized certifications and training as a required component for completion of the SHSM program.
Health and Wellness student Lily Moore working in the lab at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital.
Dual Credit welding instructor Natasha Gunderson with BBSS, Dual Credit T-Joints Welding student, Cordel Tittlemeir at Riverview Industries during a community partner trades tour.
We are proud of the accomplishments of our students and staff, and of the work that has been accomplished in implementing the KPDSB’s Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. The plan, established in 2017, helps to guide our practices in the area of technology-enabled learning, for both students and staff. Implementation of the plan includes focus on promoting student, parent, and teacher engagement, and integration of technology across the entire curriculum, from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Access to Hardware in Schools
A significant new implementation in 2019 involved the purchase of Chromebooks for primary grades (Kindergarten to Grade 3). A total of over 400 devices were purchased for 16 elementary schools. The key new feature of these devices is their touch screen capability. This functionality allows students to interact and collaborate easily with a variety of learning materials, and the option of using the touchpad or screen for navigation is of particular value to our youngest learners.
We have also established a single sign-on system for primary students this year, where students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 can use individual badges to log in without having to type their password. This system promotes independence, and allows our youngest learners the opportunity to engage more easily with their learning. Along with their touchscreen capability, and being able to access web-based tools and resources like a laptop computer, the new Chromebooks can also run Android apps, like those that will run on a tablet or phone. We recognize the importance of making technology use meaningful, and have been purposeful in selecting apps that are intended to meet student learning needs, and not just to entertain.
Another key component in the implementation of learning technologies has been the G Suite set of educational tools from Google. This integrated set of learning tools has been made available to all students and staff. Whether students are sharing their interests in a Google Site, collaborating with other classrooms (or with a classmate who was in Africa) through Google Hangouts, using online sticky notes in Google Slides for brainstorming, or even Grade 1 students using voice-to-text to write in Google Docs, students at all levels have used these tools to grow and extend their learning. Read&Write for Google Chrome, which provides text-to-speech and speech-to-text amongst various other language tools, is available to all students and acts as assistive technology for students who may require additional support in reading and/or writing. Read&Write supports the universal design for learning, and the philosophy of “essential for some, good for all”.
One of the best-subscribed components of G Suite is Google Classroom which allows access to learning anywhere, anytime. Parental engagement with children’s learning has a significant effect on academic success, and the ability for parents to subscribe to email updates via Google Classroom helps parents to stay updated on their children’s progress, and to allow them to engage more easily in learning conversations with their children.
Blended Learning and E-learning
Teachers at the elementary and secondary levels have also continued to implement blended learning and e-learning using the Brightspace platform. Introducing this D2L format to students helps to prepare them for possible learning environments as they move towards post-secondary education. Students have begun using the Brightspace Portfolio to document their learning, and Pathways teachers have been working with students in Grade 7 and up in myBlueprint, an online school and career pathway exploration tool.
Collaboration and Professional Learning
Leveraging technology to collaborate across and beyond our region is another priority in the Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. Video Conferencing software, such as Google Hangouts, Connected North, or Skype enables teachers to bring experts from various fields into classrooms to support student learning. This has included making virtual connections to far away museums, zoos/aquariums, and even renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. These communication tools have also helped students to develop global connections with students in other provinces, countries, and even continents. Staff are also using digital tools to receive training, collaborate in virtual learning communities, and learn about important topics such as self-regulation and technology, digital citizenship, and responsible social media use.
Ongoing professional learning is crucial to the success of the KPDSB Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. Learning Technology Champions have been identified in every elementary and secondary school to work with our central Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) contact to mobilize and support the purposeful integration of technology in teaching and learning. This has helped with the growth of Professional Learning Networks throughout the region. The largest of these, to date, has been a book study relating to Tanya Talaga’s All Our Relations. Over 170 staff members across the board engaged in online and face-to-face conversations after school and evenings to help support our individual and collective learning as educators.
The availability of Google Hangouts has allowed teachers and administrators to meet “face-to-face” without the need to travel for hours. Networked learning has included principal learning teams, as well as online learning sessions for the New Teacher Induction Program. We have been able to use the available technology to record some of these sessions, including those presented by our own Student Achievement Team, as well as one presented by the Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers. Having these sessions recorded has allowed for ongoing, asynchronous teacher learning for staff who were unable to attend the scheduled sessions, or those who wish to review content again at a later date.
Learning technologies in KPDSB are about much more than just Chromebooks and G Suite. A wide variety of hands-on technology-enabled learning is taking place throughout the board. Coding involves learning opportunities where students develop a set of clear instructions in order to complete a task, and helps learners to develop skills in the areas of problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and resilience, among others. Coding can be done with visual tools like Scratch or Scratch Jr for younger students, or more complex coding languages for older students, as well as through hands-on activities involving physical movement, the arts, and even developing algorithms for completing simple daily tasks. Teachers have also had opportunities to learn more about coding through Science North workshops, providing them with valuable knowledge that will help them to provide students with more impactful learning experiences.
Technology is also fostering creativity and critical problem-solving skills across the board. Schools are planning more STEAM-focused learning opportunities through hands-on Makerspaces and other critical making opportunities, computer coding, and robotics. Lego Leagues and Lego Robotics competitions have been held in schools, and between schools, with further growth taking place this year. With 3D printers, students can design prototypes with 3D models on a computer, and then print these objects with polymer filaments. Integration of design technology—through the use of 3-D printers and computer-based design, coupled with the use of a CNC lathe or plasma cutter—allows students to learn with industry-standard tools and helps prepare them for the regional labour market.
Educators have been sharing their learning and student learning through school Facebook pages, through the @KPDSB_Schools Twitter account, and #KPDSBPride hashtag on Twitter and on Instagram. These hashtags are about far more than show, as we have used hashtags to make professional learning visible through Twitter chats and to promote connections with colleagues in other areas of the board, as well as nationally and internationally. We appreciate the opportunities afforded by the tools to celebrate our learning by our students and staff.
We look forward to continued implementation of the Learning Technologies Strategic Plan, and to deepen our students and staff learning through technology-enabled instruction. To follow and celebrate student learning across KPDSB, like or follow the board on Facebook or Twitter: @KPDSB_Schools #KPDSBpride.
Rapid Response Northern School Team (RRNST)
The purpose of the RRNST is to provide interim support to schools during times of crisis so that schools remain open as a safe, caring environment for students. When requested by a community or Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the team provides support for staff to continue to deliver education and wellness for students. This support is provided as a result of the support of the Ministry of Indigenous Education for all NAN and Treaty 3 communities.
The team consists of four educators and one crisis counsellor. In addition to the crisis counsellor, all educators on the team have specific training related to mental health and wellness such as Mental Health First Aid, Assessing for Suicide in Kids (ASK), and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
The team works collaboratively with the school administration and staff in order to support youth, parents and staff at the school in a variety of ways. This support looks different in each community. The following is an example of some of the work the team has done:
- Coordination and organization of information to aid with supporting students at risk
- Wellness checks for struggling students
- Collaborative creation of a school support plan to identify the needs of the school and what types of support are needed
- Support to organize and gather information required for Jordan’s Principle funding
- Organize and run staff meetings to help educators understand and respond to grief and provide strategies on how to best support students
- Short term mental health support for staff and students, with a focus on creating pathways to care
- Staff coverage and at the elbow support
- Organize and run wellness workshops for parents, staff and/or students after school
- Create and teach lessons, both curriculum and wellness related
- Set up and run grief room for students and staff
- Check-ins with the principal/admin team
- Follow up support as requested e.g. resources, aftercare ideas
A map of the communities we serve:
Leadership at KPDSB
At the KPDSB, we believe that all staff should have the opportunity to develop themselves as those that serve the needs of our students in our various roles and communities. Each of us has the potential to develop our skill set to facilitate a shared vision of leadership within our schools and board. It is important that we promote a common understanding of what it means to be a leader in the KPDSB, while providing staff with a framework for self-reflection and personal goal setting.
Our new resource, leadershipatkp.ca identifies the practices, actions, and personal resources that describe leadership and helps to connect staff to learning opportunities. For staff interested in more formal positions of leadership, they can connect with system leaders through the ID Portal to arrange further discussion about goal setting, or to have feedback on your own personal and professional growth aspirations. The new platform aims to be inclusive to all staff in the KPDSB and guide personal and professional learning for ALL staff, including school, central and system leaders.