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

PWPSD Good News Report – June 2020

June 16, 2020

​The following Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) and its schools will be shared at the final Board meeting of the 2019-2020 school year on Thursday, June 18, 2020. The Good News Report is published two days prior to a Board meeting. 


School Re-entry Plan 2020-21

PWPSD is working a School Re-entry Plan that adheres the Government of Alberta School Re-entry Plan and guidance documents announced on June 10. PWPSD's first update to families was shared broadly on June 8 and is available on the PWPSD School Re-entry Plan webpage. The webpage includes a schedule of updates that families will receive by email throughout the summer months, as re-entry planning unfolds. To quickly access the webpage, click or tap the PWPSD School Re-Entry Plan 2020-21 banner available on the PWPSD website and all school websites. Additionally, all updates will be shared on the PWPSD Facebook and Twitter feeds.    

Congratulations to 389 members of PWPSD's Class of 2020

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 are following new formats this year, proving that this year's graduates are adaptable to change which will serve them well as they move forward to the next stage of their lives. One thing that has remained constant, and will never change, is the pride felt by principals, teachers, school staff and families as 389 graduates across the school division achieve this significant milestone.

The following is a breakdown of the 389 graduates across PWPSD's eight high schools. Graduation ceremony plans announced to date are included in the links below. Stay tuned for additional announcements in the near future.


New PWPSD Leadership Explorations Program wraps up for the school year

Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) launched a new Leadership Explorations Program this year, developed by a committee consisting of Deputy Superintendent Darren Young and School Administrators Penny Rose, Penny Calvert, Holly Gould and Lawrie McKeith.

The program, which saw 13 participants meet five times throughout the school year, was designed to help prospective leaders continue to become deeply committed instructional leaders who are able to find creative solutions to the most challenging school problems. 

The group met in November for the first of four Saturday sessions focusing on leadership dimensions, and wrapped up an informative year of professional growth and development on Wednesday, June 10 with a final virtual session via Google Meet (pictured).

The sessions were modelled on the competencies found within the Leadership Quality Standard and consisted of professional reading, online classroom discussion, and in-person sessions with presentations from current leaders from across PWPSD.

"Our first year offering this program has been a tremendous success," says Mr. Young. "The participants have engaged in deep learning, and were given opportunities to collaboratively develop their leadership knowledge and interact with leaders from across our District. We would like to thank all our participants for their dedication throughout the program."

Students receive PWPSD Indigenous Education Services Bursaries, Awards

Congratulations to four recipients of the PWPSD Post-Secondary Bursary for Indigenous Student Leadership. The Grade 12 students received a certificate, a letter and $400 toward their post-secondary education.

  • Raylene Badger, Sexsmith Secondary School
  • Rylan Fisher, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Bella Hebert, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Mackenzie Papastesis, Spirit River Regional Academy

Congratulations to 13 recipients of the PWPSD Seven Sacred Teachings Indigenous Student Recognition Award. The Grade 12 students received a certificate, a letter and a leather medicine pouch.  

  • Raylene Badger, Sexsmith Secondary School
  • Teagyn Campbell, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Rylan Fisher, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Keyairra Gairdner, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Hayley Gravengard, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Bella Hebert, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Paige Imes, Spirit River Regional Academy
  • Summer Neitz, Eaglesham School
  • Mackenzie Papastesis, Spirit River Regional Academy
  • Megan Pettyjohn, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Jacob Umble, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Brooklyn Welychka, Peace Wapiti Academy
  • Emma Young, Peace Wapiti Academy


PWPSD staff recognized with Long Service Awards 

The month of June marks the time of year when Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) staff are recognized for their dedication and service milestones. With the current restrictions around public gatherings, individual schools are acknowledging the following Long Service Award recipients, in lieu of the traditional three regional events. Congratulations to staff on achieving 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15 and 10 years of service. View the list of Long Service Award recipients.

PWPSD Ed Tech Team – Here to help

Students go to teachers when they have questions or need help, but where do teachers go when they need help? For all things technology, they go to Memorese Walter and Leah Montes, PWPSD's Ed Tech Team. The pair have been working tirelessly to create, support, and explain a variety of digital tools. Since the start of home learning in March, they have attended countless Google Meets, and created videos, screencasts and how-to documents to make the process a little easier. Beyond connecting with teachers, the team has provided telephone, email and Google Meet support to parents and students to assist them with the technical side of learning. The pair also built two websites – one for parents and one for staff – to provide one-stop shops for answers to the most frequently encountered issues. Leah and Memorese say they look forward to supporting the PWPSD learning community in the upcoming school year. Visit the student website and the teacher website.

Upcoming events

The established PWPSD 2019-2020 School Year Calendar will continue as planned for the remainder of the school year. Staff and students will continue to observe all non-operational days and holidays. 

  • Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1: PWPSD offices and shops closed.
  • Civic Holiday, Monday, August 3: PWPSD offices and shops closed.
  • First day of school: Tuesday, September 1

  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, September 3. The PWPSD Organizational Meeting will begin at 10:30, followed by the first Board Meeting of the 2020-21 school year at 11:00 a.m.
  • Labour Day, Monday, September 7: No school. All PWPSD offices and shops closed.

School News

Beaverlodge Elementary School

Uncertainty sparks creativity: Pritchard

"In times of great uncertainty, there is the potential for great creativity to emerge," says BES teacher Laurel Pritchard. "When schools moved to home learning in March, Fine Arts Program teachers at Beaverlodge Elementary School began to search for ways to do what we do best; using what we have to go beyond what we've done before."

Staff took on the challenge of using technology to do something new. Beat by Beat Press, a new online publisher of contemporary children's musicals founded by a group of writers and arts educators in New York City, wrote a virtual musical in March called The Show Must Go Online. A group of 16 BES Grades 2-6 students, plus four star struck pets, volunteered to act as cast and crew, spending countless hours learning lines, practicing parts, recording themselves at home and submitting their final cuts.

"With the help of a volunteer tech team, we created a hilarious homespun version of this story," add Ms. Pritchard. "To celebrate the end of the school year, our show was made available to our school community on Monday June 15."

Bonanza School
School staff tour Bonanza, Bay Tree

Bonanza School staff held a parade on May 28 to say hello to students and their families in the two communities they serve, Bay Tree and Bonanza. Staff decorated their vehicles in a spring theme and delivered goody bags to students and their siblings. Mr. and Mrs. Broadway dressed up as Woody and Jessie from the movie, Toy Story. Principal Theresa Simmonds said they event provided a great opportunity to bring cheer to students and their parents, and that staff appreciated seeing the signs and posters made by the families.


Eaglesham School

Congratulations to the Class of 2020
Congratulations to (left-right) Melody Mattson-Smith, Summer Neitz, Dustin Schempp and Koy Schempp.

Eaglesham School will honour four graduates with a virtual slideshow presentation on Friday, June 19, hosted on the Eaglesham School Facebook page. The school also placed banners in Wanham, Eaglesham, and at the corner of Highways 49 and 740 as a way to recognize graduates in lieu of an in-person event.

Helen E. Taylor School

HET students place first, third in Trauma Drama essay contest

Congratulations to FCSS Trauma Drama essay contest winners Ambert Barfett (left) who placed first, and Cassidy Quinton (right) who placed third. Trauma Drama event offers Grade 9 students a realistic reenactment about the perils of impaired driving. This year's event was cancelled due to public health restrictions and the move to home learning.

The Show Must Go Online

On June 11, the HET music teacher Rhonda Johnson launched a live viewing of the musical, The Show Must Go Online, featuring several talented Grades 4-9 students who performed in this "play within a play" that is a timely and entertaining commentary on class cancellations due to COVID-19. Students recorded their parts and sent them to Mrs. Johnson who created the compilation video. Principal Rob Robinson says, "The live event was a big hit, and the amazing show can be viewed online. Congratulations to the actors for their amazing performances and a huge shout out to Mrs. Johnson for her incredible efforts in putting this musical together."

Hythe Regional School

HRS congratulates Long Service Award recipients

HRS congratulates Kelly Wolter (left) for 25 years of service, and Holly Gould (right) for 20 years of service. The school says both have taught at HRS for all those years.

LaGlace School

Pride of Province

Prior to the move to home learning, members of the La Glace School Student Leadership Team created a string art version of the map of Alberta, with help from a local parent. The piece is now hanging in the office of The Honourable Travis Toews, Minister of Finance and MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti. Well done, students!


LaGlace continues home learning; bids farewell to Grade 9 class

Mrs. Otthal is encouraging the use of manipulatives in math and science class to foster students' understanding of curricular outcomes. Kassidy (top left) uses lollipops for beginning multiplication, while Maisy uses Oreos (top middle) to show her knowledge of moon phases.

Mrs. Noseworthy's class has been working diligently on a Taco Truck assignment, incorporating numeracy and literacy outcomes alongside entrepreneurial skills. Grade 6 student Robert Clark made homemade tacos for his family and used photos of the food in his advertisement (top right).

With the move to home learning and the public health restrictions, Grade 9 students did not experience their usual Calgary trip and farewell event. Mrs. Pol, Mrs. Nickel, and Mrs. Moodie (bottom right) designed and created a quilt for each student as a keepsake of their final year at the school, incorporating the students' favorite colors and passions, along with pictures from activities throughout the school year. Principal Heidi Hargreaves says, "The quilts turned out better than they could have dreamed and we hope the kids love them as much as the group loved sewing them." Farewell, Grade 9s!

Mr. Rycroft issued a challenge to Grade 9 Social Studies students to design and market a personal handheld device that would appeal to both teenagers and parents, including an outline of the device's capabilities and cost, and a marketing strategy complete with an ad and slogan. Students presented their designs to Rycroft Electronics Incorporated with the hope of having their design selected for manufacture. (no photo available)

Peace Wapiti Academy
Teachers launch a sewing bee for graduates
In March when schools first moved to home learning, PWA learned that a reduction in staffing at the factory in Quebec would affect their access to academic regalia for this year's graduation. The PWA Parent Committee members who typically fundraise to cover the cost of gown rentals instead directed their funds to purchasing gowns for the graduates. Through a sewing bee project spearheaded by English and Foods teacher Debbi Kendall, various members of the PWA staff volunteered to cut, pin, and sew v-stoles for PWA graduates to wear at the upcoming PWA drive-in graduation ceremony at Evergreen Park on June 25. Graduates will get to keep their gowns, v-stoles, caps and tassels from the event to wear in photos with their family members. Stay tuned for a further announcement on the drive-in ceremony this week.  

PWA students achieve career goal, win gold

Left: Mathew Unrau, PWA's first 4
th Class Power Engineering graduate. Middle-right: Grade 11 student Madison Bulford took gold in the virtual Skills Canada Alberta Competition on May 29 in the Baking category.

Mathew Unrau – Graduating high school and college in one fell swoop
Congratulations to Grade 12 student Mathew Unrau who passed his 4th Class Power Engineering exam on May 29. Mathew will end his final year at Peace Wapiti Academy as both a high school and a college graduate with a diploma in 4th Class Power Engineering, achieved through PWPSD's Dual Credit Program partnership with Northern Lakes College. He is also the first PWA student to successfully complete this program.

Madison Bulford – Gold medalist at virtual Skills Canada Alberta Competition
Congratulations to Grade 11 student Madison Bulford who won gold in the Baking category against 14 other competitors from across Alberta during the virtual Skills Canada Alberta Competition. Her achievement was announced via a virtual ceremony on May 29 and she will receive her medal in the mail.

"We had begun training for the competition, but were interrupted by Covid-19," says PWA Foods teacher Margaret Fehr. "There was a lull, and then registration opened suddenly for an abbreviated one-hour virtual competition.

"Competitors baked a sponge cake that had to be split into three layers and filled it with pastry cream, then covered with Swiss buttercream and decorated with rolled fondant to express an Indigenous Art theme. Thanks to Mrs. Kendall, another Foods teacher at PWA, who weighed in on the decoration choices.

"Madison figured out her flavours and practiced. Then she submitted her recipes along with a write-up about herself and the justification for her decoration choices," adds Ms. Fehr. "The competition is tougher than it seems – cake sides had to be bare and straight, no icing swipes anywhere, and a slice of cake had to be cut, showing perfectly even layers and proper proportion of filling."

Two PWA Cosmetology students complete practical training

Congratulations to Sumer Cavanaugh (left) and Kacie Vandemark (right) for completing their Hairstyling Practical Training at Peace Wapiti Academy. Cosmetology teacher Mrs. Durand joins the school staff in wishing them a wonderful career as they complete the required salon hours to become Journeymen Hairstylists and young entrepreneurs.

Band, yoga news

Mrs. Nielsen's Band students are using SmartMusicβ„’ to play and practice songs they were learning in class, along with a variety of other music. Yoga students are submitting time-lapse videos of themselves as they practice yoga flows.

Learn @ Home with PWA Foods

Left: Jared Steinke, Foods 30, made Chicken Corn Chowder for his family using Mrs. Kendall's decades-old family recipe that has gone on to become a favourite among many PWA families.

Middle: Spencer Van nieuwkerk, Foods 20, is taking over the dinnertime menu at home. His mother has been texting pictures to Mrs. Kendall, and has great things to say about his creations.

Right: Jordan Green, Foods 30, received top marks from her family for her Shepherd's Pie.


Ridgevalley School

Learn @ Home with RVS: Kindergarten virtual field trip, Fun Day 2.0 and home learning projects

For their annual Community Day this year, Kindergarten students enjoyed a virtual field trip with visits to CJ Alpacas, Debolt Fire Station, Debolt Library, Trapper Gord Homestead and Survival, The Feedlot CafΓ©, the Debolt General Store, and the post office. (pictured top row)

June typically sees Grades 1-6 students from Bezanson and Ridgevalley Schools bused to Teepee Creek School for an annual Fun Day, filled with track and field events and a barbeque. For this year's Fun Day 2.0, students from RVS and Teepee Creek School watched videos of physical activities on YouTube (top right) to try at home. 

Pictured, left-right:

  • Grade 8 Social Studies inquiry project: Aztec Pyramid by Blaire Audet.
  • Grade 4 students Rylan Gerwatoski, Keeghan Studley and Casey King put their measurement skills to good use in their kitchens.
  • Grade 2 students celebrated 100, bringing an end to their yearlong focus on numbers to 100. One student picked 100 dandelions (no photo available).

RVS staff visited students during three drives along different bus routes during May and June. Staff also walked through the hamlet of Ridgevalley, giving them a greater sense of how far from school some students live.

Before and after – RVS renovates gymnasium

The RVS gym received a renovation during the period of home learning.


Robert W. Zahara Public School

Up, up and away – RWZ Kindergarten classes set to graduate

Kindergarten students from RWZ's three classes will say good-bye to Mrs. Hauser, Miss Lovrod, Mrs. Trydal, Mrs. Summach, Mrs. Hildebrand and Mrs. Thompson during an outdoor photo opportunity on June 15-16. Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem said, "Families can drop by to take pictures in front of an amazing balloon arch. Staff also prepared a gift of lemonade for parents, as a thank you for 'turning lemons into lemonade', along with a Kit Kat bar because they deserve a break. The kids are getting a giant piece of chalk because we hope their summer is chalk full of fun."


Upcoming events

  • Reverse Parade, Tuesday, June 23: Parents will drive their students through the drop-off loop and bus lane to say goodbye, drop off devices and pick up memory books and year-end gifts from their teachers.

  • Grade 6 Farewell events, Thursday, June 25: Students and parents are invited to three private outdoor celebratory events for photos and farewells to teachers, classmates and RWZ. Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem says, "We will miss this special group of young people as they move to Sexsmith Secondary School in the fall." 


Teepee Creek School

Unique Kindergarten graduation ceremony celebrates one student at a time

Celebrating the joy of Kindergarten graduation at Teepee Creek School.

Teepee Creek School took a unique year-end approach to a unique school year, hosting a safe, in-person Kindergarten graduation ceremony for each student and their families that consisted of individual one-hour time slots for cap and gown pictures on the school grounds. Teachers Danielle Devoe, Andrea Ungurian, Tracey Driedger and Theresa McLeod hosted the event, surprising the young graduates with treats and a class photo from the first day together in September.

Principal Darren Robertson says, "Although a ceremony like no other before, it was wonderful to be able to focus on one child at a time, paying special attention to them as an individual to celebrate. It was easy to see how proud the Kinder graduates were to have a special celebration all about them."

Whispering Ridge Community School

Upcoming events

WRCS support staff created a window display to celebrate the outgoing Grade 8 Class of 2020.

  • Week of June 15-19: Digital Grade 8 Farewell and Awards event via Facebook. Student celebrations and awards will be shared daily at 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

  • Week of June 15-19: Digital 'Welcome to Kindergarten 2020-21' event for incoming families. Families will receive an e-mail identifying their child's class and teacher, along with a link to a special video featuring classroom tours and messages from school administration, teachers, specialists and educational assistants. The email also includes information about gift bags that will be available for pick-up at the school on June 24 or 25.

  • Monday - Tuesday, June 15-16: Kindergarten Graduation. A photo opportunity and presentation of certificates and year-end gift.

  • Wednesday, June 24: WRCS staff parade through Whispering Ridge and Westlake Village subdivisions, starting at 2:00 p.m. Additional details and parade routes will be shared via e-mail and Facebook.

  • Ongoing: Google Meet Talent Shows are happening for multiple grades, including Grades 3 and 6.

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