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Peace Wapiti Public School Division
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Peace Wapiti Public School Division No. 76
News Item

PWSD Good News Report – December 2017

December 12, 2017

​The following Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) and its schools will be shared at the upcoming Board Meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

News from PWSD:

Season's Greetings from PWSD – Winning submission in Division-wide art contest featured on 2017 Christmas card
Congratulations to Grade 10 student Rayanna Thiessen, winner of the 2017 PWSD Christmas card art contest. The contest is cycled through Grade divisions annually. This year, Grades 10-12 students submitted entries under the theme, "The best thing about Christmas is…" PWSD Trustees chose the winning artwork. Rayanna's peaceful scene, featuring two doves surrounded by holly and berries against a starlit background, earned her a $100 class pizza party. Congratulations to Rayanna and thanks to all who participated in the contest. To view a larger version of the winning artwork, visit http://bit.ly/2017-winner-PWSD.

Tour the Trades event exposes students to future career paths
Grades 12 students Sjoerd Hoekstra and Cauy Lutz of Sexsmith Secondary School, and Peace Wapiti Academy Grade 10 student Dustin Blackmore and Grade 12 student Russel Thatcher joined with students from the two other local districts for a 'Tour the Trades' event on December 6. During the tour, the group was exposed to potential work experience opportunities and future career paths at trades-based businesses in Grande Prairie. Trades featured on the tour are in high demand and provided an opportunity for students to talk with tradespeople on the job and learn about the trades and the steps required for certification. Prior to the tour, students completed the Alberta Education Workplace Safety Systems HCS-3000 course.

The group donned the appropriate safety gear before boarding a bus at Peace Wapiti Academy at 8:00 a.m. to see the sheet metal trade in action at Lee's Sheet Metal Shop. From there, the group saw examples of the electrical trade at ATCO Electric. After lunch, the group learned about the vast number of trades required to support home building during tours of KCM Construction sites in the Royal Oaks subdivision. The home building theme continued at Happy Trails RV, focusing on aspects of the RV Technician trade, including plumbing, electrical, structural, fibreglass, and heating/cooling systems. The full day of tours wrapped up at 4:00 p.m.

Through a partnership between CAREERS: The Next Generation and school-based off-campus coordinators, students can complete a three-day job shadowing experience at one of the industry partners during the summer months. Students who missed this opportunity can sign up for a second 'Tour the Trades' day planned for the second semester. 

Pictured left-right:
Sexsmith Secondary School Grade 12 students Cauy Lutz and Sjoerd Hoekstra check out the progress on a bathtub installation at a KCM Construction home building site in the Royal Oaks subdivision during the 'Tour the Trades' event on December 6, 2017.

Susan Ramroop, CAREERS: The Next Generation Field Director for Grande Prairie and area, chats with PWA Grade 10 student Dustin Blackmore (left), while KCM Construction Superintendent Steve Follert discusses aspects of homebuilding with PWA Grade 12 student Russel Thatcher (right). Four PWSD students joined with others from local districts for a 'Tour the Trades' event on December 6, 2017.

To view additional photos from the tour, visit PWSD's Facebook page. Read this story on the PWSD website at http://bit.ly/Tour-the-Trades2017.

Congratulations! Three PWSD students recruited by volleyball teams at Thompson Rivers University, GPRC

Healthy living focus of first JSET meeting of 2017-2018 school year

Left: During the Healthy School Communities Networking session, student pairs cycled through four wellness boards.
 Right: Grades 4-6 students brainstorm during the Ever Active Schools session, entitled Students as Agents of Change.

Health and wellbeing were explored during the first meeting of PWSD's Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) on December 6 at Sexsmith Secondary School. JSET is made up of three students and one teacher champion from each PWSD school. Sessions for students and staff reflected PWSD's Comprehensive School Health (CSH) focus, with attendees developing leadership skills to take action in creating healthy school communities. CSH is an internationally recognized approach to supporting improvements in students' educational outcomes while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic manner.

Sessions were presented by Alberta Health Services (AHS), Be Fit for Life, Ever Active Schools, and the AB Healthy School Community Wellness Fund.

Following registration in the cafeteria, Grades 4-12 students and their teachers enjoyed fun icebreaker activities in the gym. Groups completed a range of physical activities as outlined along a path of instruction cards taped to the floor. At first, students naturally teamed up with peers from their school. To encourage sharing between schools, the second part of the activity required students to find a new partner from another school.

Back in the cafeteria, students jumped into an energetic 20-minute Healthy School Communities Networking session, complete with dancing and superhero poses as a warm-up. To help students learn more about each other and the wellness initiatives already in place at other schools throughout the district, pairs cycled through four wellness boards located around the room – Spiritual/Cultural Wellbeing, Active Living, Mental Wellbeing, and Healthy Living. Those who completed their handouts were entered in a draw for one of four gift cards.

Students separated into groups of Grades 4-6 and 7-12 to circulate through four breakout sessions: Students as Agents of Change and School Connectedness by Ever Active Schools, Kindness in the Classroom by AHS, and Rethinking Physical Activity in the Classroom by the Be Fit for Life Network. Teachers could also attend a separate session, Who's Who in the Zoo, presented by the Health and Physical Education Council.

At the end of the day, groups of two school teams worked together to delve deeper into the learning, creating action plans that were shared with attendees. As a wrap-up, Ever Active Schools and Assistant Superintendent Darren Young led a discussion on how to bring the plans to life.

JSET members will come together for their second annual meeting next semester.

Great Kids Award nominations extended to January 16, 2018
The nomination period for the Great Kids Award is now open until 4 p.m. on January 16, 2018. The Award recognizes children and youth, ages five to 18, who have accomplished great things for others while overcoming life's challenges. These challenges include, but are not limited to, managing a physical or mental illness, overcoming a difficult living situation, or standing up against bullying. The awards are sponsored by Fantasyland Hotel, where the event will be hosted in the spring. For more information or a nomination form, visit www.greatkids.alberta.ca.

Many thanks to the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta

Two PWSD schools received grants at the Invest Northwest event on December 6. Peace Wapiti Academy received a $9,000 grant to support an audio/visual collaboration with C.I.A Solutions INC, and Spirit River Regional Academy received a $725 grant that will be used to offset the cost of student fitness memberships and purchase new fitness equipment.

Christmas concerts at PWSD schools

An up-to-date list of Christmas concert and event dates and times is available online at http://bit.ly/PWSD-Christmas-2017.

January Diploma Exams

Exams will run during Thursday, January 11 - Tuesday, January 30. To view a printable PDF schedule, visit the Alberta Education website at https://education.alberta.ca/media/3653376/schedules-significant-dates.pdf. Diploma Exam dates and times are also available on the upcoming events calendars on the PWSD website and all high school websites.

News from PWSD schools:

Beaverlodge Regional High School

BRHS students creating care packages for children in foster care

Each year, approximately 5,800 kids in Alberta are rescued from threatening home situations. These children frequently enter foster care with nothing of their own, often transporting what little they have in a garbage bag. Students at BRHS are working to change that by collecting items and funds to put together backpacks through the registered non-profit organization, My Luv Paks. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.myluvpak.org.

Eaglesham School

Dual Credit opportunities to be offered in January
In January, Eaglesham high school students can enrol in Dual Credit courses in Psychology, Medical Terminology, and Oil and Gas Production Operator. Dual Credit courses provide opportunities for students to complete post-secondary courses while earning credit at both high school and the post-secondary levels. Live streaming via video conferencing is available for some courses, while others are offered online. The Dual Credit Program introduces post-secondary education in familiar high school surroundings, while offering post-secondary credits and future tuition cost savings should the student pursue studies beyond high school. Some programs also offer summer employment opportunities.

Elmworth School

Healthy living a hit with Elmworth students

Elmworth School's new healthy living focus, which began in November, has been a huge hit with students. The school expresses thanks to Peace Draft Horse Club and Beaverlodge Christmas Hampers for their donations. Pictured: Students are invited to help themselves to bowls of fresh fruit placed in high traffic areas at Elmworth School.

Upcoming Events:

  • Senior caroling and skating: Grades 1-6 students will sing carols to seniors at Amisk Court in Beaverlodge on December 14, followed by skating at the rink.


Harry Balfour School / Whispering Ridge Community School

HBS and WRCS students give back

Student Council and Miss Chandler organized an initiative to collect and deliver items for care packages for Rotary House, and held a hot chocolate and candy cane sale in conjunction with the Citizenship class to raise funds for Odyssey House. Harry Balfour students also issued a challenge to Whispering Ridge students, to see who can bring in the most food bank items before December 20.
Pictured: Grade 7 students, Cole Thiessen and Terry Robbins with some of the Rotary House donations.

At the end of November, a group of Grade 8 students organized a weeklong bake sale and donation drive to benefit the local animal rescue group, Bandaged Paws. The students raised more than $530, along with donations of pet food and other animal supplies. The school expressed thanks to students Norah Johnson, Amber Boivin, Teegan Davis, Issy Kazakoff, Kaylea MacMillan and Kealyn Kimble for working so hard on this very successful fundraiser.

First Christmas Carnival a success

Above: Students enjoyed a fun-filled day during the first HBS/WRCS Christmas Carnival on Thursday, December 7.
Below: Grade 2 student Emma Melom submitted a drawing and short story about the Christmas Carnival.

Current and upcoming events:

  • December 11-15: Annual door decorating competition. A week of hot chocolate and candy cane sales, organized by Student Council.
  • December 15: HBS/WRCS "Snow Ball" semi-formal junior high dance, 8:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., with proceeds donated to a family who is experiencing medical issues.  
  • December 18-22: HBS and WRCS students will get in the Christmas spirit during a week of carol singing in the gym, 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. daily.

Ridgevalley School

Velvet Energy donation boosts breakfast program
Ridgevalley School's breakfast program will receive a boost, thanks to a $4,500 donation from Velvet Energy. Funds will be used to buy food and materials to provide breakfast for both primary and secondary students. The Ridgevalley School Leadership Council has developed a menu of healthy food choices for students. A thank-you was extended to representatives from Velvet Energy during the official cheque presentation at the school assembly on December 4. The school welcomes parent volunteers to help with breakfast prep and distribution – those interested may contact Assistant Principal Barry DeFord.

R.W. Zahara Public School

Upcoming events:

  • Early Bird Choir tour of seniors' facilities: Students conducted fundraising activities to cover the cost of a bus to visit and sing at the Wild Rose Manor, MacKenzie Place, and Lakeview seniors' homes on December 14. In an effort to give back to the community, the choir visits local seniors' homes twice annually – at Christmas and in the spring.  
  • School-wide pizza party: Noon on December 14. Many thanks from RWZ to the St. Laurent family for this wonderful gift.
  • Evening of Music: In addition to two performances of the Christmas concert on December 20 and 21 at 1:00 p.m., the school will host an evening of music in the gym on December 19 at 7:00 p.m., featuring the Early Bird Choir, FBO, Grade 5-6 Band, Rising Windz Flute Circle, and R Muzika.

Rycroft  School

Winter sports, Christmas cheer at Rycroft School
During the next two weeks, Rycroft Grades 3-8 classes will enjoy several days of curling at the Spirit River Curling Club.

December 14 marks the last day of collections for FCSS food hampers and new and unwrapped toys at Rycroft School, with donations accepted that evening at the Christmas concert. Students, families and staff have come through once again, generously contributing to this worthy cause.

Rycroft School's Hot Lunch Ladies, with support from the Friends of Rycroft School Society, members of the School Advisory Council, and parents, will host the highly anticipated annual Christmas dinner in the gym, beginning at noon Wednesday, December 20.

Students will skate with Santa at the Rycroft Arena on Thursday, December 21 at 10:30 a.m., followed by popcorn and a movie. Pajama Day will be held on Friday, the final day of school before the break.

Recent Press Releases:


Other news:

  • PWSD and its schools were featured in 56 media stories during the month of November 2017.
  • To keep up-to-date with the latest news from PWSD, and local media coverage, check out PWSD's online Media Room at http://www.pwsd76.ab.ca/mediaroom.