20 Nov. 2017
Letter to Families - Potential Student Walk-Out on April 4, 2019
Dear Families, Parents and Guardians, and Students,
We are aware of the potential of a provincial act of civil disobedience in the form of a “walk-out” tomorrow (April 4, 2019, at 1:15 pm) by students across Ontario to protest proposed changes to education following recent announcements by the Ontario government. To be clear, our intention is not to condone nor deny our students their individual expression of a right to protest, but rather to provide you with information.
We wanted to clarify with families that the walk-out is not a Keewatin-Patricia District School Board sanctioned event. It is our expectation as a school board that our students will attend their regularly scheduled classes the afternoon of April 4; however, it is not our intention to prevent students from participating in this planned action. Any students not in attendance in their classes will be marked as absent as per our school board policies, and families will be notified accordingly as per usual.
Our top priority is always the safety of our students and the planned walk-out raises concerns around student safety, especially if students plan to go off-site. Please be aware that we cannot, and will not provide supervision of students off-site as classes will be in session, and any student action will be deemed to be outside of the scope of the KPDSB. Should an elementary student leave the school property without parental consent, we will contact the family as per our policies.
As a Board, we would encourage parents and guardians to use this potential action as a learning opportunity. You might consider initiating a conversation with your child(ren) to discuss why a student may choose to participate in such actions; in other words, what it means to participate in an event like this. There are many ways students can voice their concerns and we believe it’s an important conversation for families to have.
Should you have any questions, we ask that you please contact your school’s principal.
Director of Education and Chief Executive Officer
Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
April Board Meeting - Trustees learn about entrepreneurship programming in schools, receive learning technologies update
Media Release - April 11, 2019
Trustees met at the Kenora Education Centre on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, for a regular Board Meeting.
The April Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Valleyview Entrepreneurship Program’ was received by Trustees. Lisa Achilles, Principal of Valleyview Public School, Valleyview students, and Cierra Parkhill, Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation (LOWBIC), shared their recent learning with Trustees. Valleyview Public School has introduced a focus on business and entrepreneurship in partnership with LOWBIC through the Head Start in Business program. The goal of the program is to create learning environments that expose students to entrepreneurship experiences. The creativity and experiences shared by the students through programs like Be a Business Bee (Kindergarten-Grade 2), Create a Business Logo (Grades 3-6), and Kids Invent Program (Grade 6), impressed the Board of Trustees. With programs also available for intermediate and secondary students, there is no shortage of opportunities for program expansion in KPDSB schools. Components of the program are also available in French to support French Immersion students. Trustees thanked the presenters and expressed their hope to see more of this programming in schools in the future.
Jason McDonald, Learning Technologies Administrator, and Alexander McEachern, Technology-Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact, presented an update on the 2017-2020 KPDSB Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. Currently, in the second year of the three-year plan, technology-enabled learning has continued to expand and be available to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Key components of the plan include:
- The introduction of more than 400 Chromebooks in all primary grades with purposeful planning as to which applications will best meet student learning needs.
- The implementation of the G Suite set of educational tools from Google to support online classroom environments that allow for access to learning anytime and anywhere.
- Leveraging technology to collaborate across the region and beyond using video conferencing software that enables teachers to bring experts from various fields into classrooms, and helps students to develop global connections with students all over the world.
- Fostering creativity and critical problem-solving skills in students across the Board including providing more STEAM-focused learning opportunities through hands-on Makerspaces, computer coding and robotics.
- Integrating design technology into schools like 3-D printers and plasma cutters that allow students to learn with industry-standard tools.
- Ensuring on-going professional learning for staff through Learning Technology Champions at each elementary and secondary school who work with the Technology Enhanced Learning Teacher to mobilize and support the purposeful integration of technology for teaching and learning.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented an update on the KPDSB’s migration to new financial/accounting software called Sparkrock. Implementation began in October 2018 with a planned go-live date of July 1, 2019. Benefits provided by Sparkrock include cloud-based accessibility from anywhere with internet, timely and accurate financial reporting resulting in more informed decision making, and electronic approval routing for invoice payments, purchase orders and expense claims, making financial processes much more efficient and streamlined.
June Board Meeting Highlights - KPDSB Approves 2019-2024 Strategic Plan
Media Release - June 12, 2019
Trustees met at Red Lake District High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, for the last regular Board Meeting of the 2018-2019 school year.
The June Kids Come First presentation titled ‘The Red Lake DHS Food and Nutrition Initiative’ was received by Trustees. RLDHS teacher Darren Bausch, and students Connar Oster, Morgan Howell and Logan Ryczek, shared details of the initiative and how it has impacted them personally since it was implemented. The goal of the initiative is to encourage students to know where their food comes from, as well as to provide healthy food options in the school and to model healthy eating for students. From student athletes who have noticed an improvement in their conditioning, to students and staff composting and growing their own healthy foods right at the school, the benefits to the school community as a whole are being celebrated.
The 2019-2024 Strategic Plan was presented and approved by the Trustees, and concludes months of consultations and gathering of feedback from stakeholders. The new plan will guide the work of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board for the next five years. The plan includes a new vision statement; the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board puts students first by creating a culture of learning. New goals or areas of focus include:
- Student Achievement – Ensure the necessary resources are provided to all students to increase their individual achievement.
- Safe and Supportive Schools – Ensure all students and staff have safe learning and working environments, where the academic and mental health needs of the child are met.
- Innovative Practice – Demonstrate effective “Change Ready” leadership.
- Reconciliation – Ensure all school and staff are actively engaged in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Director of Education Sean Monteith presented the 2019 Employee Recognition Report. Each June, The Board publically acknowledges all employees with 25 years of service and retirees for their achievement and contributions to education in the Northwest. The 2018-2019 school year brought with it the retirement of 17 dedicated employees and another 11 were recognized for reaching the 25-year milestone. Combined, these employees have more than 700 years of service to public education. The Board of Trustees acknowledge this incredible contribution and expressed gratitude for all they have done for children and youth throughout their careers.
The Sioux Lookout Capital Assets Report was presented to the Board. Trustees voted to direct Board Administration to approach the Ministry of Education to utilize $1 million in existing reserve funds to proceed with the demolition of the prohibitive to repair portion of Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout (students and staff moved into their new school, Sioux North High School, in March 2019). The remaining portions of the building would be renovated and retrofitted in conjunction with Seven Generations Education Institute to offer post-secondary programming, including paraprofessional worker programs, Indigenous Nursing programs and Adult Education programs to support adults without a high school diploma.
Under Business Arising from Committee of the Whole, Monteith presented the KPDSB Consolidation Report. Recent government funding rollbacks amounting to approximately 4% of the overall annual Board operating budget have caused the administration and Trustees to look at all areas of spending for potential savings. The Board’s adopted stance to protect teaching positions and instructional services means that all operations needed review including the way the Board does business between the two offices, one in Dryden and the Head Office Kenora Board Office. After careful consideration, a motion was put forward and approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees to consolidate the two Board Offices and relocate both offices to Keewatin Public School in Kenora for September 2022. In total, the cost to operate both offices including lease and overall costs associated is in excess of $200,000 per year. In addition, the merging of the two offices into one location would allow for unprecedented job and portfolio consolidations, and in the process find significant savings at the central level. The end result of consolidating the Board Offices would be a mitigation of reductions in classrooms and school based positions at both elementary and secondary panel.
At present, Keewatin Public School is currently operating at approximately 50% capacity in terms of student occupancy and pupil places. The elimination of the remaining 160 pupil places on the second floor of Keewatin Public School to accommodate the KPDSB Board Office supports the Board’s efforts to apply and secure funding for its only remaining major capital project priority: a replacement school for Valleyview Public School in Kenora.
Monteith stated “Tonight the Board of Trustees have made the decision to act on their commitment to the vision of the KPDSB, to put kids first. By approving a new Strategic Plan for the next five years and to make progressive decisions on capital and consolidation that protect classrooms, the Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board have taken the hard course of action and not shied away from our challenges. In the end our staff, our schools and our students will be the better for it.”
KPDSB announces resignation of Director of Education
Media Release - July 15, 2019
Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board have accepted the resignation of Sean Monteith, Director of Education, effective August 15, 2019.
Monteith, who has been with the Board for 25 years in a variety of roles, including elementary and secondary teacher, vice-principal and principal, Superintendent of Education and for the past six years, as Director of Education, has accepted the position of Director of Education with the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.
Under Monteith’s leadership, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has gone through significant organizational restructuring resulting in a flattened organization, and a succession strategy that has positioned the work of the Board centrally around students. Over the last six years, the Board has established numerous agreements and partnerships with agencies and First Nations, particularly Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and Lac Seul First Nation, established the provincially recognized Four Directions Graduation Coach Program and Rapid Response Northern Support Team, seconded staff to various First Nation schools, and created the province’s first-ever Hockey Canada Skills Academy programs. Indigenous students are now graduating on par with non-Indigenous students in the KPDSB, and the Boards’ vision of “Kids First” has become the standard for all schools and staff. The KPDSB also recently completed its biggest capital project, the construction of Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout, after six years of work.
Monteith stated, “Many emotions and thoughts are going through my head tonight, with so many years and work behind us; I am grateful to the staff, students, communities and trustees. I am excited to begin a new chapter of hard work and effort in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, but without question, saying goodbye is very bittersweet. I think the best way to sign off is to say to everyone in the KPDSB…thank you.”
Upon accepting Monteith’s resignation, Chair of the Board, Cecile Marcino stated, “It is with regret that we say goodbye to Sean Monteith as our Director of Education. He has worked tirelessly to advocate not only for our students and staff, but education in the Northwest as a whole. Many of the achievements of our Board under his leadership will undoubtedly change lives, and we are proud of the organization we are today. We wish to thank him for his leadership and dedication to our schools; he will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best in future.”
Trustees will begin their work to replace Monteith this fall. Current Superintendent of Education, Caryl Hron, will step into the role of interim Director of Education effective August 15, 2019, and will remain in the position until a new Director of Education is officially appointed. Hron has been with the Board for 30 years and has been Superintendent of Education since 2010.
Trustees approve 2019-2020 budget
Media Release - July 16, 2019
Trustees met via teleconference on Monday, July 15, 2019, for a Special Board Meeting.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented the 2019-2020 Budget Estimates Report. The 2019-2020 Budget Estimates contain an in-year surplus of $196,000 on a Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) basis and is in a deficit of $602,000 on a Ministry of Education compliance basis. The government allows a 1% deficit to offset funding changes and the KPDSB is compliant with Ministry guidelines. Total budget for the KPDSB for the 2019-2020 school year is $94.8 million.
While 2019-2020 proved to be a challenging budget due to changes mandated by the provincial government, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board stayed true to its commitment to protect front-line staff in schools wherever possible.
Total revenues for 2019-2020 are projected to decrease by $1.1 Million (1.2%) compared to the 2018-19 budget. Changes are due to a decrease in grants for student needs ($1.8 Million) to reflect provincial austerity measures.
Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolment for the 2019-2020 school year is projected at 4,706 students. This includes 2,876 elementary students and 1,830 secondary students. Enrolment at KPDSB schools is projected to increase in the elementary panel by 95 students, with a decrease in the secondary panel of 98 students compared to 2018-2019 Budget Estimates. Overall, most of the enrolment decline is at secondary schools in Dryden (down 30 students or 5%) and Ignace (down 11 students or 22%). As a result, there are some teacher staffing reductions in some areas due to declining enrolment.
Most of the budgeted capital activity for 2019-2020 is for two major renovation projects at Ear Falls Public School and Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora. Other major capital projects include child care spaces at Keewatin Public School and Evergreen Public School in Kenora.
Overall, staffing is up 0.8 FTE positions from the 2018-2019 budget. There is an increase of 5.1 FTE front-line staff in the schools and a decrease of 4.3 FTE staff outside the schools.
Findlay stated, “Despite the funding cuts, we made a commitment to protect the jobs of front-line staff in our schools to continue to provide quality programming for kids. We cut department budgets by 25% and streamlined operations through attrition and reductions in staffing positions outside the classroom. We are changing the way we do business. By making cuts in areas that don’t directly impact students, we found savings to protect teaching positions and we will continue to look for more efficient and effective ways to deliver programming to students.”