The Nishnawbe Aski Nation/KPDSB School Support Program
The program was first introduced in September 2016, following the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board. As part of the support program, our school board collaborates with eight First Nation schools to, “design and promote strategies to equip First Nation students with the self-confidence and educational opportunities required to be successful in reaching their educational goals”.
The following First Nations participate in the NAN/KPDSB School Support Program: Bearskin Lake First Nation, Fort Severn First Nation, North Spirit Lake First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Mattagami First Nation, Mishkeegogamang First Nation, Webequie First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation.
The NAN/KPDSB School Support Program provides assistance in the following program areas: Principal Mentoring/Coaching, New Teacher Induction Program, and the Mental Health Champion Program.
The KPDSB Principal Mentor/Coach collaborates with the NAN principals to provide opportunities for them to develop the knowledge and skills needed to:
- Implement high impact leadership practices to ensure that the everyday actions of staff are focused on improving student outcomes.
- Utilize instructional leadership practices that encourage exemplary teacher practice, while setting targets to improve student learning.
- Create and implement effective school improvement plans based on student and staff needs, including culturally-relevant programming.
- Develop a collaborative professional learning environment in which staff work continuously to improve their practice to meet individual student needs.·
- Support teacher learning through ongoing feedback and the effective use of the teacher performance appraisal process.
The KPDSB Principal Mentor/Coach works with the NAN principals to support the implementation of the New Teacher Induction Program. The NAN NTIP teachers participate in a variety of professional learning sessions facilitated by the KPDSB. The teacher mentees are also given the opportunity to work with experienced teacher mentors from the KPDSB. Successful teacher candidates receive NTIP Accreditation on their Ontario Teacher Certificate following completion of the program.
The Mental Health Champion Program focuses on training initiatives and networking opportunities that support capacity building among school staff, including an awareness of mental health and wellness among staff and students.
Rapid Response Northern Support Team
The work of RRNST continues despite the pandemic and perhaps is even more critical given our current reality. In the spring of 2021, much of its work continued virtually and involved ongoing resource provision to support land-based learning opportunities for youth. With the loosening of health regulations this past fall, the team can now travel again to support communities in person.
The team is actively engaged with several communities to provide various support options both in person and virtually; these include crisis response and educational support services for communities upon request. Once requested, the team works collaboratively with the school/community staff to determine the area they would like support with. Educational support services include professional learning, mentorship, cross-community learning opportunities, and resources to continue to help school staff achieve their goals of improving student achievement and well-being. This year, the team now has two certified trainers who can offer Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to community schools. The work of crisis response is unique to each situation and community. The team’s ability to be responsive, flexible, and collaborative remains key to supporting communities.
Virtual Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While the KPDSB created a virtual school to welcome students for the 2020-2021 school year, the 2021-2022 school year saw a dramatic decline in the number of families choosing remote learning. In September 2020, more than 800 students were enrolled in virtual learning. In September 2021. Just under 100 students Board-wide were learning virtually.
Due to the decline in virtual learning students, Open Roads Public School in Dryden oversaw the provision of elementary virtual learning, while KPDSB secondary schools provided remote learning for their students who had chosen that option.
September 2021 had a smooth start with three virtual classes for elementary learners (42 students total). Students learning virtually have all the staff resources of an in-person school including special education programming and access to the school counsellor. Virtual learning students have access to Ojibway or French as a second language during their day.
Elementary students learning virtually were welcomed into the Open Roads family/community. The school ensured remote learning students were connected to the school with welcome-back-to-school assemblies, a Halloween costume show and participation in the Open Roads Christmas concert. Each remote learning student also received a backpack full of school supplies to start the year.
We continue to be amazed at the ingenuity of our virtual staff in finding and developing authentic technological academic experiences for our kids.
KPDSB Educators Recipients of 2021 Prime Minister’s Achievement Awards
We are pleased to announce that Michelle Parrish, Principal of Golden Learning Centre Public School in Balmertown, and Cheri Grandbois, Early Childhood Educator at Valleyview Public School in Kenora, are recipients of 2021 Prime Minister’s Achievement Awards.
Parrish is one of 15 educators across Canada to receive a 2021 Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence in STEM Certificate of Achievement. The Teaching Excellence in STEM awards recognizes inspirational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers at the elementary or secondary school level who keep students engaged in STEM learning and who help develop the culture of innovation that Canada needs today, and in the future. Please visit this link for more details on Parrish’s award.
Grandbois is one of 10 Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) across Canada to receive a 2021 Prime Minister’s Excellence in Early Childhood Education Certificate of Achievement. Recipients of this award are honoured for their leadership, exemplary early childhood education practices, and their commitment to help build the foundation children need to make the best possible start in life. Please visit this link for more details on Grandbois’ award.
Sherri-Lynne Pharand, Director of Education, stated “To have two members of our team recognized at the federal level for their work is an incredible achievement. Both Michelle and Cheri are valued members of our team and deserve this recognition and more. Thank you to both of you for all that you do for our students and schools each day, we are proud to celebrate this achievement with you.”
The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence have honoured exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines since 1994, with over 1,600 teachers honoured to date. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education have honoured outstanding early childhood educators since 2002, with almost 300 educators honoured to date.