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Peace Wapiti Public School Division
Educating today for success tomorrow
Peace Wapiti Public School Division No. 76
News Item

Good News Report - May 7, 2015

May 05, 2015

Read PWSD's Good News report, presented during the Board Meeting on May 7, 2015:

News from PWSD schools:

  • PWSD to graduate 330 students during 2015 ceremonies:
    • Peace Wapiti Academy: Saturday, May 2, ENTREC Centre, 96 graduates
    • Spirit River Regional Academy: Friday, May 15, Spirit River Arena, 44 graduates
    • Beaverlodge Regional High School: Friday, May 22, Beaverlodge Arena, 97 graduates
    • Sexsmith Secondary School: Friday, May 22, Sexsmith Arena, 62 graduates
    • Ridgevalley School: Saturday, May 30, Ridgevalley School gym, 12 graduates
    • Eaglesham School: Saturday, May 30, Eaglesham School gym, 10 graduates.
    • PAVE: Thursday, June 18, Dunvegan, 3 graduates
    • Savanna School: Saturday, August 8, Savanna Rec Plex, 6 graduates
    • For more details, read the press release issued on April 27. 
  • CFL duo return for second leg of FNMI school tour
    • New this year: A special training camp for the Sexsmith Sabres Football team, Monday – Friday, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Monday, May 4: Sexsmith Secondary School and Sexsmith Group Home
    • Tuesday, May 5: Bezanson School and Ridgevalley School
    • Wednesday, May 6: LaGlace School and Elmworth School
    • Thursday, May 7: Bonanza School and Savanna School
    • Friday, May 8: Peace Wapiti Academy and Harry Balfour School
    • Read the press release issued on April 29, 2015.

  • The Dave Bleilie Track Meet, a Division-wide event for junior high students, will be held at 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 at the Legion Field in Grande Prairie. Awards will be handed out at 1:30 p.m.

  • PWSD's Student Leadership Team, made up of a cross-section of approximately 40 student-members, ranging from Grades 8-12 from 19 schools, along with 20 teachers, known as Student Leadership Champions, met for the first time on Tuesday, May 5 for a full day of facilitated sessions and group discussions to establish a vision for the team and develop avenues gathering student input on education issues. Read the press release issued on May 4, 2015.

Beaverlodge Elementary School

  • On April 23rd, the school participated in the annual Hop for Muscular Dystrophy. With the help from the Beaverlodge and County of Grande Prairie Fire Departments, the school raised more than $4,700.
  • The Grade 5 bake sale on April 22 resulted in more than $1,100 for the Grande Prairie SPCA.
  • An Annual Spring Tea event hosted by Grade 5 students was held on Thursday, April 30, with performances from all students. This year, the school was joined by Mr. Dwayne Paulson and band students from Sexsmith Secondary School who are touring schools in the West County. This event, held in conjunction with Education Week, honours local grandparents and their positive impact on students.
  • In support of Mental Health Week, students participated in a "Hats on for Mental Health" day on May 6.
  • Engineering students from the University of Alberta will work with Grades 1-6 classes on their science presentations on May 25-28.

Bezanson School

  • The 12th annual "Bezanson's Got Talent" show will be held on Friday, May 8, beginning at 12:45 p.m. The event will showcase a variety of student talents, including singing, dancing, BMX demonstration, hula hooping, and joke telling. Lego, weaving, crafts, sewing, and pictures will also be on display. New this year: student-produced video category.
  • A Play Day is scheduled for May 28. Teepee Creek School is invited to Bezanson School for a day of friendly competition and fun games.
  • A school-wide picnic is planned for June. Date TBA.

Bonanza School

  • Students in Grades 1 and 2 at Bonanza School are enjoying a variety of projects:
    • On Thursday, April 30, students participated in a virtual class with the Vancouver Aquarium and saw some of the animals there.
    • Thanks to donations from T&T Seeds, Hole's, Salt Spring Seeds and Hope Seeds, students have been busy planting flower and vegetable seeds at school and at home.
    • A gift of several frog eggs and small tadpoles have been added to the class aquarium.
    • Butterfly larva will arrive in two weeks. Students will study the life cycle of the butterfly.

Harry Balfour School

  • Teacher appreciation luncheon, hosted by the HBS School Council, will be held on Wednesday, May 27, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Track and Field Day for Grades 4-6 will be held on Tuesday, June 9 at the Legion Field.
  • Modular classrooms have arrived at Central Office and are awaiting installation.
  • New fitness playground will be installed mid-June and will include 24 fitness stations for students.

Helen E. Taylor School

  • Eighteen HET students challenged the DELF French exam on April 23.
  • Grade 6 students celebrated DARE Graduation on April 28, with Constable Spencer presenting well-deserved certificates of completion. 
  • HET students and staff enjoyed an all-day Art Day on Thursday, April 30 with students rotating through five art centers to explore a wide variety of media and projects.
  • Local radio station, Big Country, donated 12 cases of juice to the HET Breakfast Program.
  • HET will host an Art Fair on Wednesday, May 13 beginning with a chili supper at 5:30 p.m., followed by an art show and auction at 6:30 p.m. Central Office staff and Board Trustees are welcome to attend.
  • The school will host a 30-Hour Famine event on May 21-22, 2015.

Hythe Regional School

  • The Healthy Initiatives Program at Hythe Regional School (HRS) recently received a $1,000 boost from NuVista Energy. The program benefits all students at HRS, providing them with healthy food choices when they need to recharge throughout the day. On hand for the donation were Holly Martin and Ashton Kyle, HRS teachers and Healthy Initiatives Program Coordinators; Mark Buchanan, NuVista Energy; Barb Belcourt, FNMI Liaison Worker at HRS; and HRS students.

Eaglesham teacher job shadows in France

Thanks to the recently-signed agreement between Grande Prairie's French Language Resource Centre (FLRC) and the Nancy-Metz region of France, Eaglesham School's Fiona Logan was one of three Peace-region teachers to job shadow with teachers in France on March 28 - April 11.

Ms. Logan spent a week at K. and M. Krafft Primary School in the village of Houdemont, a suburb of Nancy, where she interacted with students in all classrooms. During the second week, she visited a number of classes at the Collège/Lycée Chopin in Nancy.

Teachers and administrators were enthusiastic about the opportunities made available through the partnership. At the primary school, Ms. Logan collaborated with a teacher who is very interested in working together to enhance her English classes. The pair created a Google community with plans to establish active communication and sharing activities between the two Grade 5 classes. At the Collège/Lycée Chopin, Ms. Logan identified a number of teachers willing to participate in virtual partnerships. Ms. Logan and Mme. Marie-Anne Phillips compared programs and identified shared projects. With approval from the Proviseur (Principal), Mme. Phillips has agreed to become the contact for partnerships at both the junior and senior high levels. With assistance from Lesley Doell, Ms. Logan will contact PWSD teachers who are interested in entering into a project.

Ms. Logan noted similarities and differences in both the pedagogical techniques and the school cultures.

In Nancy, Kindergarten is a three-year program which includes cursive writing. Students are expected to use it exclusively from Grade 1 onward. At both the primary and secondary levels, technology use is not emphasized, but language study is given greater emphasis. Language course content is more profound than the Canadian curriculum; rather than focusing on media or traveling, their program revolves around themes of human rights and gender roles in society. Students graduating from Grade 12 are expected to achieve a B1 of the Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues, as compared to Alberta's A2 level.

At the primary level, there were little differences in the school culture, with the exception that the Principal greets staff each morning with kisses on both cheeks and permits wine with lunch. The Lycée offered a greater contrast – teachers, much like university professors, arrive and leave depending on their schedules.

"I am looking forward to creating a positive experience for students where authentic communication will help develop a better appreciation of learning a second language and open their eyes to other cultures," says Ms. Logan. "I am also really excited at the opportunity offered to our students to participate in the exchange. Travel and getting to know other cultures is one of the best educational experiences available. I really enjoyed my experience and would like to thank Lesley Doell and the FLRC for her work and support. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this venture.  I will do my best to ensure that my students, and other teachers in the Division and their students, benefit from this educational agreement."

LaGlace School

  • Students raised $235 in a recent taco-in-a-bag sale for the Parkinson's Society of Canada. To date, the school has raised approximately $6,000 for various charities.
  • The school hosted artist-in-residence Lynn LeCorre-Dallaire. Kindergarten to Grade 9 students created paintings and prints.

Peace Wapiti Academy

  • Local company supporting high school football: Papa John's Pizza committed to donating one dollar to support local high school football from every pizza sold during April 23 - May 7. Pictured are Peace Wapiti Academy Football Titans Caleb Facette (left) and Thomas Diodoro (right) with Papa John's owner Thomas Kung (middle).
  • On Your Mark Diploma Exam Tutorial Sessions are planned for June – The six-hour tutorial sessions, open to all PWSD students, will review course content and develop strategies to tackle question formats in Social Studies 30-1 and 30-2 on Saturday, June 6; Biology 30 and Chemistry 30 on Saturday, June 13; Science 30 on Friday, June 19; and Math 30-1 and 30-2, and Physics 30 on Saturday, June 20. Lunch and snacks provided by PWSD.

Penson School

  • The Grades 5 and 6 Social Studies class participated in the Provincial Student Vote on May 4.
  • On May 5, Grades 5 and 6 students participated in the Walk Through the Forest Program sponsored by the Alberta Science Network.
  • On May 6-7, physical education classes featured Zumba.
  • In celebration of Arbor Day on May 7, the Alberta Science Network presented members of the Grade 1 class with a seedling to plant at home.
  • Junior High Adopt-a-Highway ditch clean-up will take place on Friday May 8. As part of environmental stewardship, students volunteer to clean the stretch of highway from the top of the river hill to the Ainsworth Connector Road.
  • On May 20, Darrell Willier will give a presentation on Residential Schools to Grades 5-7 Social Studies students.
  • A Jump Rope for Heart event will be held on May 21 for Kindergarten – Grade 9 students.
  • An Aboriginal Day celebration will be held on May 21 with entertainment at 11:00 a.m., followed by a stew and bannock luncheon at noon.   
  • A spring concert will be held during the afternoon of May 28, featuring Chaos in Fairytale Forest by the drama club and a performance by the school choir. Guests are invited to tour of the school's art gallery.
  • The Grande Prairie Cricket Association is coming to Penson School on June 3 to teach the Grades 5-8 physical education classes the fundamentals of the sport.
  • Master builder Adam Hutchison will build tin bird houses with the Grade 3 class as part of their science curriculum.

Ridgevalley School

  • On June 13-14, Grade 7 students will attend the Peace River Pow Wow to participate in activities and speak with elders from the community. The class has been studying First Nations cultures, focusing on Cree culture and society.

Sexsmith Secondary School

  • The 30-Hour Famine event held on April 17-18 resulted in more than $2,000 in fundraising to support ending world hunger.
  • The Drama Club participated in the Northern Zone One Act Play Festival on April 24-25 and won numerous awards:
    • Best Female Actor of the Festival: Sydney Martell for Harlequin Rhapsody
    • Best Ensemble: cast and crew of And
    • Best Director: And
    • Best Play: And
    • Jenna Warner best performer for the play And
    • Sydney Martell best performer in the play Harlequin Rhapsody
    • The play And will be showcased at the Provincial Festival in Red Deer on May 7-10. 
  • Grade 12 student Austin Patrick selected to CBC Radio One's three-member student panel: Joined by students from Olds and Camrose, the panel provided youthful perspectives on the provincial election. The panel first aired on the Alberta@Noon program on Friday, May 1 and reconvened on election night, May 5, during CBC Radio's election coverage. Read the full story at http://bit.ly/1EwO9xb


Encouraging Education beyond the Classroom: Islam in Our Community – Imam Issa visits Sexsmith Secondary School

On April 15, 2015, Sexsmith Secondary School welcomed guest presenter Imam Mohamud Issa from the Islamic Association of Grande Prairie.  As part of the school's flexibility ideals and Encouraging Education beyond the Classroom, high school students were invited to attend an optional iPlan block to hear Imam Issa speak about the Islamic faith and the contemporary issues that Muslims and non-Muslims face, both locally and globally.

Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss current topics with Imam Issa, who was eager and willing to answer their questions and present the moderate face of Islam in contrast to the more radical images held by many people.

During the presentation and question period, students and Imam Issa discussed the origins of Islam, Muslim attitudes towards women and family, moderate Muslim opposition to extremism in the Muslim faith, and stereotypes and building relationships in the community.

Imam Issa also spoke about his national pride as a Canadian citizen. It was the first opportunity for most students who attended the presentation to meet and interact with a member of the local Muslim community. 

Following the event, students provided feedback on the presentation:

"I loved the presentation! It was a very beneficial presentation for students to hear and understand, and Imam Issa did a wonderful job of connecting with the students and teachers. His words were significant in presenting clarity on the Muslim religion, and the vast ambiguity between the Muslim religion and what members of the ISIS terrorist group represent. He was very friendly and easy to ask questions and listen too!" – Kristina

"It really opened my eyes to how ignorant I was about the culture and traditions. I was nervous at first because of how media has portrayed the Islamic faith, mainly in regard to women, but it turned out to be perfectly fine." – Jessica

"The Imam presentation was very enlightening, and I would encourage people to have open minds about the current ISIS predicament and the Islam faith. The Imam was very respectful and covered topics that I may not have known, had it not been for him. Overall, it was really exciting to be a part of!" – Molly

"I learned a lot about the Muslim religion. For example, the Imam expressed that he believed the most important commandment in the Quran and Muslim religion is to "Love unto others what you love for yourself." This is a very important value in my own religion. I was unaware of how similar the divine religions are. The Imam also talked about Muslim extremists, saying they are completely different from him and his people, and he went as far as to call them evil and un-Muslim. I thought the presentation was very educational and important for people who do not know about the Muslim faith or how the extremist differ in a great way. Thank you to Imam Issa for the amazing presentation. I hope that students in the future can also have similar presentations."  – Cody

"I'm thankful we had the chance to ask questions about the Muslim community and about his life before he came to Canada. Great experience!" – Shae

"I had no idea how little I actually knew about the Islamic faith! I did not realize they believed in the same God as that of Christianity or Judaism, and I was unaware of the amount of respect held for women. I think that repeating this presentation and allowing him to speak to classes is a great idea because lack of education or exposure to the faith breeds ignorance and racism in our town. The presentation was great and I appreciated the insight we received into the Muslim community. It is important to give them the opportunity to differentiate between themselves and those of ISIS… Thank you very much for allowing us the opportunity to speak and listen to the Imam, and I am very grateful to see the amount of people who became more educated about the Islamic faith, myself included."  – Jillian

Spirit River Regional Academy

  • The school hosted a 30-Hour Famine event on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25.
  • In cooperation with the Alberta Opera, Grades 1-6 students will present Rumpelstiltskin on Monday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Woking School

  • Students raised $2,528 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation through a Jump Rope for Heart event.
  • The new Learning Commons at Woking School is nearing completion – a space connected to the library for students to do independent learning and personalized projects. The infrastructure is in place and is now awaiting materials and resources, such as science experiments, social studies maps and cultural studies, art materials and math manipulatives.

News from Press Releases:

May. 06, 2015  PWSD hosts first Student Leadership Team meeting
May. 04, 2015  PWSD launches Student Leadership Team initiative
May. 04, 2015  School Bus Driver Appreciation Day – May 4, 2015
Apr. 30, 2015  Sexsmith student selected to CBC Radio high school election panel
Apr. 29, 2015  CFL duo return for second leg of FNMI school tour – Special training camp scheduled for Sexsmith Sabres Football team
Apr. 28, 2015  3-D Charity Hockey Tournament this weekend
Apr. 27, 2015  The results are in – PWSD students bring home the hardware from Regional Skills Canada Competition
Apr. 27, 2015  PWSD to bid farewell to 330 students in the Class of 2015
Apr. 20, 2015  PWSD students heading to Regional Skills Canada Competition
Apr. 20, 2015  PWSD analyzing the impact of the Provincial Budget
Apr. 20, 2015  PWSD students recognized as ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’

In the News:

  • PWSD and its schools were featured in a total of 63 media stories during the month of April, 2015.