As an educational organization, we place the highest priority on supporting our youngest learners. Kindergarten is the beginning of a child’s education pathway, and our two-year Kindergarten programs provide rich learning environments to prepare children for success all the way through Grade 12, and beyond.
Our Kindergarten classes are staffed with caring and dedicated educators who always put the physical, social, emotional, and learning needs of the child first. We are proud to offer 28 Kindergarten programs within our 16 elementary schools, providing rich learning experiences to 570 four- and five-year children throughout the board. In the KPDSB, we focus on learning through relationships in a culture of inquiry. The learning in our classrooms is strengths-based and student-driven. Our caring and supportive Kindergarten educators foster children’s natural curiosity, often allowing students to direct the learning in their areas of interest using authentic and hands-on learning opportunities, all while supporting the development of a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy.
In addition to English programs in all of our elementary schools, we also offer French Immersion Kindergarten programs at Valleyview Public School in Kenora and New Prospect Public School in Dryden. Children enrolled in one of these programs are immersed in the French language 100% of their classroom day, beginning in the first year of the program. This rich language environment provides children with a solid foundation in their second language while complementing the growth of their English language skills as well.
Our Buddy System website is designed to help parents learn more about the school where their child will have their first educational experiences. For first-hand accounts from other parents, their children, and our educators, please take a moment to watch the videos included throughout the Buddy System website at www.buddysystem.ca.
Our schools offer a variety of child care options for our families right in our schools, from before- and after-school programming for a wide range of ages, to toddler and preschool programs. Subsidies are available for some families based on financial need and we ensure we include the information on our website to support families in finding the care that works for them: www.kpdsb.on.ca/pages/view/child-care-programs-1
We continue to welcome families into our schools and expand programming with our partnerships through EarlyON Child and Family Centres. EarlyON centres offer free, high-quality drop-in programs for families and children from birth to six years old. EarlyON centres are welcoming places that also offer a range of services and resources, where you can join fun activities such as reading, storytelling, sing-alongs and games, and connect with other families with young children.
Dryden Alternative Education Program
October 2019 marked the exciting opening of Dryden High School’s Off-Site Alternative Education Program. The program opened in the beautiful old Boffo Bag Home and Garden Store building located at 10 King Street. With its old wood floors and large windows, the space offers a one of a kind learning and growing environment that is special to the students who make up our program. Its homey and welcoming environment not only invites students, families and partners but also makes students feel like it is their space.
The program reaches out to students who want to learn but, for various reasons, find the regular school environment does not meet their needs. Although we create plans for each of our students to graduate, we also want to prepare them to be happy and productive. Under the umbrella of graduation, we tailor students’ programming to be unique to their current needs. When mapping out pathways with our students, we rely on the insight of their parents, teachers, special education resource teachers, and other supports. We create focuses or pathways for each of our students like graduation, job skills, co-operative education, post-secondary planning, wellbeing, and independent living.
Apart from our regular high school courses, we offer ‘value-added’ programming or experiential learning to enrich our students’ training. Value-added programming includes; job experience, certificates like Safe Food Handling, various workshops, and tailored volunteer opportunities.
With our new space, we have the flexibility to create and enhance family and community partnerships. Our goal is to work with the whole family and we welcome parents/guardians and students who are parents themselves along with their little ones into our learning space. Our unique space allows us to include additional supports and flexibility to meet students’ needs, as we are not bound by the schedule of the regular school. Our beautiful kitchen allows us to cook and share food with our partners and students and their families, which further makes our space an impactful and warm environment.
Our community partnerships are fundamental to our programming. Although we are always building new partnerships, we currently have strong relations with Northwest Employment Works (N.E.W.), Dryden Native Friendship Centre, Wabigoon Lake Ojibwe Nation and Eagle Lake First Nation, Dryden Attendance Centre, numerous addictions and mental health programs, Youth Justice Ontario and local child and family services. The Dryden Native Friendship Centre is a partner that is with us all day every Tuesday, and N.E.W. is located in the same building.
Staffing is vital to the success of this program and we have a champion team of teachers that are involved and committed to the students. We look forward to the unlimited opportunities this program can bring to support our students. We will continue working and learning together to help our students succeed and develop a positive vision of their future.
Hockey Canada Skills Academies
The KPDSB Hockey Canada Skills Academy (HCSA) continues to show that it is a viable and progressive option for students to improve their academic and athletic engagement, while simultaneously building leadership and hockey skills. The program continues to operate at both secondary and elementary levels with universal success. Enrolment in the program remains strong, and has shown no signs of waning. The program has grown every year; this attests to the ability of the program to sustain growth into the future. One of the reasons for this sustained growth is that the hockey academy has proven that it can help students improve their skills in hockey while simultaneously leading to increased student engagement and academic success.
The Hockey Canada Skills Academy continues to focus on the “whole student” by building leadership skills and fostering academic prowess in addition to core hockey skills. One of the most important aspects of this program is that we have developed partnerships that help us remove participation barriers and ensure that every student has the ability to participate in the program. Our partnership with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program ensures that no youth encounters financial barriers that would preclude participation in the hockey program.
Last April, Jumpstart provided the chance of a lifetime, for 10 of our KPDSB/HCSA students by hosting them at an NHL game. The students were able to watch the Jets vs the New York Islanders. An experience they will not soon forget.
Recently, we were very fortunate to have Hockey Canada reach out to us regarding our program and the success of it. Hockey Canada was interested in our approach and spent a week in our board, visiting each community, learning from our staff. Following the visit, they were very impressed to say the least but they made special mention that the staff we have involved with our program are top notch and they truly make a difference, not only to the success of the program but the positive role they play in the lives of our students. Thanks to each and everyone one of our staff, your contributions are greatly appreciated.
CBC News: The National – The KPDSB Hockey Solution
The KPDSB welcomed a news team from CBC’s The National into our classrooms in Sioux Lookout and Kenora in early January 2016 to show them the impact our Hockey Canada Skills Academies are having on students across the board area.
The Fine Arts Program is a dynamic and specialized, academically vigorous program that allows students to experience the arts on a day-to-day basis. It’s a highly successful, long-running program that drives students to learn and achieve in a unique way.
Our Fine Arts Program is designed for students in grades 6, 7 and 8 who are interested in the arts. A modified timetable allows students to explore the subjects of Music, Art and Drama in a more intense way than the regular classroom structure allows.
One-third of the Fine Arts day is devoted to the arts which means students are required to complete the regular Ontario curriculum in a condensed manner. As a result, it is imperative students have excellent learning skills such as; responsibility, organization, independent work, initiative, collaboration and self-regulation. Potential students do not have to be “A” students but they do have to have a strong work ethic as this will help them be successful with the condensed curriculum.
- Three music classes per week
- Choice of brass, woodwind or percussion instruments
- Learn various musical selections in various genres
- Present in school assemblies and perform within the community
- Take part in available music workshops and attend performances when possible
- Three classes a week are spent in the art room
- Hands on art projects
- Classes include: drawing, painting, sculpting and experimenting in various media
- Students learn art history
- Involvement in community art projects as available
DRAMA AND DANCE
- Three drama and/or dance classes a week
- Learn and experiment with various dramatic techniques
- Participate in three major theatre productions throughout the year
- Attend professional theatre shows/lessons/productions where possible
Fine Arts students create a video each year, watch below to check out their latest work!
Forest School Programming
Keewatin Public School (Kenora)
Keewatin Public School in Kenora is proud to be delivering quality outdoor and environmental education based on Forest and Nature School ideology and pedagogy. Forest School is an educational approach that started in Scandinavia and has been around for 50+ years. Children foster their curiosity and develop great ideas in an outdoor setting by learning and playing in nature. Four school staff are currently training as Forest School Practitioners. Students follow the Ontario curriculum and as often as possible the outdoor environment serves as the classroom. Opportunities are provided for children to explore, create and solve problems in the natural environment through regular and repeated access to the same natural space. Keewatin Public School is surrounded by mature wooded forest, the Mink Bay Trail system, Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River. Keewatin Public School is a perfect location for outdoor learning and Forest School experiences and we look forward to watching the program grow and expand to benefit more of our students.
Lillian Berg Public School (Vermilion Bay)
At Lillian Berg, the focus of the new Forest Classroom program is having K-2 students in the outdoor classroom from 40 to 90 minutes a day. The program provides students repeated experiences in a natural area, where they can play, explore, create, problem solve, and learn from the land. Sometimes students and teachers build a fire and have some camp snacks, other times participants play freely, while teachers observe and make connections to the curriculum.
Other activities students enjoy at forest school include building forts, learning to use tools, playing in the mud kitchen, hide and seek, balancing on fallen trees, oral storytelling, learning about the flora and fauna of the area, and reflecting and relaxing in a hammock. Educators are trained to observe what students are doing, ask probing questions, and make connections to the Ontario curriculum. The outdoor learning taking place, touches on learning goals in most curriculum areas, especially oral language, health and physical education, and science.
Four Directions Approach
The KPDSB Graduation Coach approach continues to be a leading model for improving academic achievement and well being for First Nations, Metis and Inuit students. Our Graduation Coaches and Student Support Navigators work collaboratively to support our learners and their families with a goal of seeing each student through to graduation.
Our school based support:
Dryden High School:
- Graduation Coach
- Student Support Navigator
Beaver Brae Secondary School (Kenora)
- Graduation Coach
- Student Support Navigator
Sioux North High School (Sioux Lookout)
- Graduation Coach
Red Lake District High School
- Graduation Coach
Sioux Mountain Public School (Sioux Lookout)
- Indigenous Family Case Worker
Open Roads Public School (Dryden)
- Indigenous Family Case Manager
Our team continues to grow thanks to a partnership with the Northwestern Health Unit which provides funding and mentorship for the new student support navigator position. The collaboration of health and education allows increased access to supports for our students and their families/caregivers.
Four Directions works with students and families:
- To ease the transition from elementary to high school and transitions throughout high school into post-secondary life
- Build a sense of community within the school
- Link students with school resources and opportunities
- Link students with community resources and opportunities
- Promote school engagement
- Advocate for students
- Develop leadership skills
- Support school and home communication
- Goal setting
- Educational and career pathway planning
Students receive customized and personalized support delivered by a “circle of caring adults” that includes teachers, school staff, parents/caregivers and community supports. The Four Directions Graduation Coaches and Student Support Navigators work to ensure a sense of belonging and security for students by building relationships with caring adults, role models, peer tutors and students and community members.
Our programs are supported by many community partnerships. The Northwestern Health unit, above the navigator supports, funds student nutrition programs which ensure our students have access to nutrient rich food. Our local Friendship Centres, Metis Nation and First Nation communities offer learning opportunities and mentorship for students. We are fortunate to work with unique partners in each community to ensure that students receive the supports they require.
Our supports continue to lead to improved outcomes as more students are finding academic success and graduating. We have celebrated sustained 4-year graduation rates, with Dryden High School seeing over a 40% increase in FNMI 4-year graduates up to 77%. Beaver Brae has experienced a 25% increase in 4-year FNMI graduates. We are looking forward to celebrating Sioux North High School’s first Four Directions graduating class in June of 2020.
Four Directions continues to be one of our most celebrated and impactful support mechanisms for our First Nations, Metis and Inuit Students. We are pleased to be able to continue to support this approach in our board and look forward to continuing to support the growth within our board and our province.
French Language Programs
2019 has been a year of continued growth in our French as a Second Language (FSL) programs. In addition to our Core French programs, KPDSB offers French Immersion programs at Valleyview Public School in Kenora, and at New Prospect Public School and Dryden High School in Dryden. At Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora, Extended French programming is now available in grades 7-12. These options provide students with the opportunity to select the language learning that works best for them.
In spring of 2019, twenty Grade 12 Core and French Immersion students participated in the Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) assessment, which provides language certification issued by the Republic of France through the French Ministry for National Education. We are extremely proud that 100% of participants successfully earned their diploma, and we expect to see this number double for the 2019-2020 school year. We are pleased to maintain our partnership with the DELF Centre so that we can continue to support our students with this internationally recognized initiative.
In addition to our students’ learning, we continue to provide professional learning opportunities for our FSL educators to further develop effective instructional practices, and a growing number of our teachers have become DELF certified. FSL instruction and professional learning are built around the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which we continue to implement in classrooms. The CEFR is a proven framework and tool for French language instruction and an anchor to building student confidence. One of the characteristics of the CEFR, is the recognition that interactions matter, not just the grammatical aspect of language. The CEFR encourages a natural development of language and is based on student interest and authentic learning. This approach has also allowed educators to use experiential learning to enhance and maximize French language acquisition.
KPDSB has been fortunate to be able to offer state of the art professional learning to our educators with the continued support of distinguished guests to the board. These opportunities have included face-to-face professional learning sessions with the Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers, Dr. Michael Salvatori, and renowned CEFR presenter Denis Cousineau. Both learning opportunities provided educators with instructional strategies based on research and current best practices. The school board also received funding to send French Immersion teachers to the conference of l’Association canadienne des professionnels de l’immersion (ACPI) in Quebec this fall where they were able to gain incredible learning to support programming in primary and junior divisions for our French Immersion schools.
Ongoing opportunities such as those described above help to foster the development of communities of learners in the classroom, the school and the board.
Project Sunset is an opportunity for students to take part in a program that encourages a community-centred approach aimed at building youth resiliency. Led by local law enforcement, including Dryden Police, Treaty Three Police Service, and OPP Detachments in Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Fort Frances, the program works with community partners to build positive relationships with students and encourage participation in a wide variety of activities, including hands-on outdoor education opportunities as well as in-school activities.
The program engages our students in positive, alternative-based activities like hiking, camping, rock climbing and rappelling, water sports, and community service learning projects. Project Sunset embeds a strength based experiential learning model, is designed to engage youth and aims to prevent substance misuse and related problems through:
- Classroom-based problem-solving activities
- Outdoor experiential activities
- Adventure camps and treks
- Community-oriented service learning
The program is offered at New Prospect Public School in Dryden, Evergreen Public School in Kenora, and Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout.
Partnership information can be found through out this report and is not limited to this section.
In September 2012, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) embarked on a partnership to deliver adult education throughout Northwestern Ontario. The goals of this partnership include:
- Increasing opportunities for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal adult learners throughout the KPDSB jurisdiction to achieve their Ontario Secondary School Diploma;
- Improving access for adult learners to high quality curriculum resources on a full-time or part-time basis;
- Committing to excellence and innovation in serving the needs of adult learners.
The partnership has proved to be an overwhelming success across the region. Below you will find some highlights from the past year.
Early Years Partnerships
KPDSB’s community partners are integral resources for the success of the Kindergarten programs we offer. We have developed strong relationships with providers of child care and other services to support the early years in our communities. Our many partnerships can provide expertise, skills, materials, and programs that are not available through the school or that supplement those that are. Working closely with our community partners provides support to our students and their families, as well as to the entire community.
The school board’s Early Years Advisory Committee has been an excellent forum for the school board and the community to come together. The work of this committee has brought greater awareness of existing services and ongoing needs in our communities, along with a greater understanding of each other’s (and our own) roles in supporting the whole child.
In addition to the board’s partnerships with regional organizations, individual schools and individual classrooms develop creative partnerships with groups and organizations in our communities to meet specific goals for children. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child, and KPDSB is so grateful for the ongoing support and commitment from the many partnerships that we have. We look forward to continuing to cultivate our existing partnerships, and seek out opportunities for new collaboration, to best serve all children and families in the region.
Sioux Lookout Adult Education Site Growth
In 2019-2020 our Sioux Lookout Adult Education program has grown to now hosting half day teacher support, evening dual credits (English, TCJ/TMJ, Photography, and Employment Skills Readiness), a full-time teacher at the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board (SLAAMB), a site monitor, evening Language Circles, evening adult Co-Op programs, and breakfast and lunch programs provided by the Native Women’s Association (NWAO) in a family-friendly, comfortable adult learning environment in our new site.. Enrolment increased to over 500 students this year and 52 students graduated on June 12, 2019, with eight of these graduates earning their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) at our Sioux Lookout site. Joe Paishk, Graduate,and Adult Education Graduation Valedictorian is a 76 year old residential school survivor who wanted to honor all those who’ve gone before him.
We piloted our first blended learning, DCO30 Co-Op credit for adult education—an asynchronous BrightSpace course. We offered Eng4C, considered to be a barrier course, in a synchronous Google classroom delivered from Wabigoon/Eagle River to each of our sites. Students have access to netbooks for online courses and to work in Google classroom and our four largest classrooms now have wall-mounted projectors/white board surfaces for online course delivery. In October 2019, capital purchases now allow students in multiple sites to access one class virtually.
Sioux Lookout Aboriginal Advisory Management Board Partnership (SLAAMB)
We have committed to continuing our partnership agreement with SLAAMB into the 2019-2020 school year with a replica of the previous year’s contracted services agreement to support the Youth Pre-Employment Program. We are also currently working together to offer Co-Operative Education and an Adult Dual Credit/OYAP Level 1 Carpentry program with the building of new SLAAMB residences in Hudson. Adult students are earning their high school diploma, upgrading Construction Math skills, and are registered as Apprentices in the Native Residential Construction Worker program.
Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre, Red Lake Adult Literacy Centre
We are pleased to see the expansion of adult education services in two sites in Red Lake. Establishment of a three-year contract with Red Lake Adult Literacy Centre and a continuation of our service-provider agreement at Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre will ensure adult learners in the Red Lake area have easy access to our programs and staff. This program supports after-school tutorial services for RLDHS students and OSSD credit opportunities for their parents.
We are thankful for the support of two PQP candidates in our partnership with SGEI and the certification of an adult education Co-Op teacher in each of our community sites this year. Adult students can now access Co-Operative Education credit opportunities to meet their OSSD requirements. As well, in our efforts to better meet the needs of our students, each of our site monitors, our front-line client supports, participated in Mental Health First Aide training this year.
Language Circles in partnership with Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Center (KERC)
We have provided regular language instruction in Cree/Oji-Cree in Sioux Lookout in our partnership with KERC. Adult students earn a Native Language credit, community feasts are provided through our partnership with the Ontario Native Women’s Association, Community members, students and their families participate in monthly Language Circles with teaching, translation services, and educational resources provided in our partnership with KERC. Language acquisition and preservation combined with cultural learnings and a community feast promote our KP/SGEI Adult Education programs in Sioux Lookout.
Adult Dual Credits (SCWI)
Dual Credit opportunities support transitions to College programs for our adult students. We have doubled our SCWI programs in Dryden and Sioux Lookout, providing evening courses in both semesters in Culinary, Esthetics, Building Skills for Success, Photography, Computers, Workplace Readiness and Construction. Kenora will host our first Dual Credit evening adult courses in land-Based Learning in the 2019-2020 school year.
Construction – Level 1 Apprenticeship
Sioux Lookout will host our first Apprenticeship Level 1 Carpentry certification as a dual credit opportunity in the 2019-2020 school year in a partnership with SLAAMB, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and SGEI. The project proposes completion of two student housing duplexes in Hudson within a Co-Op-OYAP learning model.
Adult Education Pathways – Online Registration Project
Adult Education registration, promotion, information and pathway guidance will be housed on-line in a quality, interactive web-based portal highlighting adult education programs, MyBlueprint tools, our KPDSB/SGEI partnership, post-secondary opportunities and an adult education credit calculator.
Developing & Strengthening Partnerships
Continued relationships with educational, community, and agency-specific partners to access wrap-around supports on-site for adult learners is a strength of the RPAE work and reduces barriers for adult students. Our partners include: SGEI, KERC, SLAAMB, NWAO, Independent First Nations Alliance, FNA, Adult Basic Literacy, Indian Friendship Centre, Ontario Works, Supportive Housing, NWOntario Employment Services, Lac Seul FN, and others. We continue to work with our existing partners to maintain program implementation.
CESBA (Continuing Education School Board Association) Promotion & Advocacy
We have worked cooperatively with SGEI administrators and teachers to share our partnership work at CESBA, presenting, sharing and advocating for the continuation of Adult Education funding. We formally recognize SGEI as our partner in Adult Education and have highlighted the unique and complex nature of the Kenora/Rainy River regions west of Thunder Bay including the inclusion of Indigenous partners and the importance of these partnerships beyond the traditional school board funding models. In June 2019, we conducted a KPDSB/SGEI Adult Education Partnership Graduate Exit Survey, some of the results can be found below.
- Over 30% of our Adult students are over the age of 35—it’s never too late to earn your diploma.
- 59% of our students voluntarily self-identify as FNMI and 25% of our students speak Ojibway or Oji-Cree at home—our Language Circles are key to language preservation and developing a sense of culture and belonging in our Adult Education classrooms. Adult students earn language credits for participating or speaking their language.
- The majority (>75%) of our students are highly motivated to earn their diploma, Over half of our students only have 5-6 credits to earn and spend less than six months with us to meet their diploma requirements—most of our students are closer than they think to graduation!
- 67% of our graduates identify a sense of responsibility to family and maturity as critical to helping them graduate.
- Our Adult Education programs change lives, 58% of our students are headed off to college or post-secondary education.
- A graduate suggests, “Don’t be afraid to step through the door—it’s different now.”
Why an Equity Action Plan?
In 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Education issued Program Policy Memorandum 119 entitled: Developing and Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario Schools. Ontario’s subsequent Education Action Plan (2017) further outlined boards responsibilities to ensure equity of access and equity of opportunity for all learners. Our new Equity Action Plan was created and approved by Trustees in September 2019.
How was this plan developed?
An environmental scan of other public school board Equity Action Plans and websites provided models for aligning priorities and documenting our work. Extensive consultation was also done to develop the plan with community agencies, members of the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, KPDSB Mental Health Leaders, and Senior Administration. Opportunities to gather student voice throughout the implementation of this plan is a priority in the 2019-2020 school year.
Who does an Equity Action Plan support?
Our school communities are comprised of rich diversity. Our students are children, adolescents, young adults or adults. With such diversity comes a variety of strengths, needs, interests, goals, identities and cultural backgrounds. Students are cared for by different people, who all show their love and support in the way that best meets their child’s background and beliefs.
What and who does the plan include?
In the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, we strive to ensure that all students and staff have inclusive learning and working environments. This Equity Action Plan outlines who we are as a board, our commitment to reconciliation, illustrates the equity work already underway and describes the work we still need to commit to do under the following eight equity focus areas:
Eight Equity Focus Areas:
- Board Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Practices
- Shared and Committed Leadership
- School-Community Relationship
- Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment Practices
- Religious Accommodations
- School Climate and Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment
- Professional Learning
- Accountability and Transparency
How will we track our progress?
On-going monitoring and reporting of our collective actions towards meeting our identified equity targets is essential to achieving our goals as a system. To this end, the KPDSB Equity and Inclusion Administrator will work with schools and the board to integrate and track how the equity strategies are embedded into School and Board Improvement Plans and KPDSB committees. Regular progress updates will be brought forward to Senior Administration and the Board of Trustees.