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

PWSD Good News Report – November 2017

November 28, 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, November 30, 2017.

News from PWSD:

First JSET meeting of 2017-2018 school year planned for December 6
The first meeting of PWSD's Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) will take place at Sexsmith Secondary School on Wednesday, December 6, 9:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. JSET is made up of three students and one teacher champion from each PWSD school. In keeping with PWSD's Comprehensive School Health (CSH) focus, attendees will develop 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 way. Sessions on healthy eating, active living and mental wellbeing will be presented by Alberta Health Services, Be Fit for Life, Ever Active Schools and the AB Healthy School Community Wellness Fund. Students will participate in action planning at their individual schools prior to the event, in preparation for supported input from the provincial school health partners.

Grief boxes and wellness kits help PWSD students deal with loss, support healthy living

PWSD's Inclusive Education Learning Coach team will distribute grief boxes to PWSD schools that contain age-specific resources to support individual students or whole classes in developing resiliency during a loss and in the months that follow. In April, the Northern Spirit Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) Local No. 6 donated $1,500 to purchase books (pictured left) for the boxes, including The Invisible String, Badger's Parting Gifts, Lifetimes, and The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. At the end of October, the ATA Local provided a matching gift of $1,500 to purchase books (pictured right) for wellness kits, including Two Homes, I Wish You More, and A Handful of Quiet. Wellness kits, available in all PWSD schools, contain holistic health resources relating to social, emotional, physical and mental health. The staff and student resources provided in the kits are the result of a collaboration between PWSD schools, the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund, and the funding provided by the ATA. 

Four PWSD teams competed at ASAA Volleyball Provincials on November 23-25

  • Eaglesham School Sonics (pictured left) captured the NWASAA 1A Zones and were named champions at the 1A Girls Provincials in Bonnyville. 
  • Spirit River Regional Academy (SRRA) Renegades (pictured right) took home the NWASAA 2A Zone title, marking their ninth year in a row as Northwest Zone medalists. For the second year in a row, the team nabbed gold at the 2A Girls Provincial Championship. The team was undefeated during the entire tournament in Fairview. This year marks the team's ninth consecutive provincial medal for the school.
  • Peace Wapiti Academy Titans competed in the 3A Girls Provincials in Sylvan Lake and the 3A Boys Provincials in Strathmore.

PWSD schools invite you to celebrate the joy of Christmas
Awaken the spirit of the season by attending a Christmas event at a Peace Wapiti Public School in your community. For a list of Christmas concert information by school, visit http://bit.ly/PWSD-Christmas-2017. In the event of cancellations due to inclement weather, revised dates and times will be posted under 'News & Announcements on the PWSD website and all school websites.

News from PWSD schools:

Bezanson School

Dragon's Den meets Bulldog Pen – Bezanson students developing products, business plans to pitch to investors

Jillian Owens' Grades 8 and 9 students are learning about the world of business during their weekly 80-minute Careers block. Students are developing products and building business plans to market their products. Junior Achievement (JA) Program volunteer and local business owner Katherine Cissell (pictured kneeling, right) has been joining the weekly block to help students with their products and implement JA elements. By the end of the project, students will have a sense of how to set up a business, know what profits and losses are, and improve their public speaking skills. In January, students will present their ideas and business plans to the Bulldog Pen – a panel of external judges modeled after the televised Dragon's Den pitch show – with the hope of gaining investor interest.

Bulldog Pen Projects:

  1. The Scented Solution: A headphone cleaner made of essential oils.
  2. Sneaker Stickers: A sticker for court shoes to allow athletes to wear their shoes outside.
  3. Table on the tub: An adjustable tub table for reading and/or using a device without getting it wet.
  4. Power Alarm: A fire alarm with a timer – if toast burns, push the button to shut the alarm off for a short period.
  5. KVTV: A YouTube channel to teach basic volleyball skills.
  6. Golf Motors: A golf ball that returns itself to the player.
  7. Survival Kit: Elements of a survival kit.
  8. Domed: A domed shower that sprays water from many directions.
  9. Dog Brush: A double headed two-in-one dog brush.
  10. Cool Tape: An ice pack in the form of tape that sticks to the body, designed with athletes in mind.
  11. Project Waterproof: Swimsuits with a waterproof pocket.
  12. Wellbeing: An ice pack that fits around water bottles and can be used on the body. Some of the profits will support clean drinking water in third world countries.
  13. Whiteboard Eraser and Spray: A whiteboard eraser with built-in spray bottle to clean whiteboards as you erase.

Other news from Bezanson School

  • Junior high students and teachers will attend curling workshops in Debolt, thanks to busing sponsorship from the local Legion to cover the cost of three trips during November 27-30.
  • Grade 4-6 students have been reading and studying the book Wonder. In December, Grades 4-6 and junior high students will attend a movie by the same name.
  • Ms. Galbraith and students Keeley, Mackenzie and Koen, will represent Bezanson School at the PWSD Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) meeting in Sexsmith on December 6.

Bonanza School

Recent events at Bonanza School

Pictured left-right: Bonanza students dressed up for Halloween, hosted a Remembrance Day ceremony, and celebrated Canada's 150th with Michael Mitchell and his Canada is For Kids presentation.

Eaglesham School

Eaglesham student Mackenzie Laurin selected to AB Student Voice
Mackenzie Laurin, a Grade 11 student at Eaglesham School, represented PWSD as a member of AB Student Voice, a group of 42 Grades 9-12 students selected by the Public School Boards' Association of Alberta (PSBAA) to participate in their Fall Events Conference on November 15-16, 2017 in Edmonton.

According to the PSBAA website, the purpose of the AB Student Voice conference is to demonstrate that students have a voice, one that is valued and heard. Student Voice representatives met with school trustees and senior administrators from public school boards at the conference and shared what is important for them to see in the education system, what is working well, and what they would like to see changed or enhanced.

The conference began with a reception with MLAs from across the province and participation in a Legacy Panel on Public Education with Government Ministers.

"There was a lot of talk about Bill 24: An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, and as a member of Student Voice, I was asked what I thought of it," says Mackenzie. "I'm really for Bill 24 and how it protects students who are not ready to come out to their parents."

"I expressed concerns about Alberta Education's 45-credit cap on (Credit Enrolment Units) funding because it prevents students from taking as many courses as they would like."

Advocacy Skills and Training was the focus of the second day of Student Voice sessions, where students learned leadership skills to take back to their schools to influence change.

"We had a couple of different sessions with Maurice Fritze and he talked about how to best present your ideas so that what you are saying doesn't get ignored," added Mackenzie.

"We were given a chance to ask Ministers questions during the panel. It was really interesting to hear their plans for how education is going to change in Alberta. One of the first things proposed was, instead of having different school systems, Alberta would be unified under one system. I was interested to hear how that could change education for everyone."

PSBAA and AB Student Voice began working together in March 2015. Mackenzie said she plans to be a part of Student Voice again next year. The two-day event wrapped up with awards and presentations.

Pictured: Mackenzie Laurin received a participation certificate from PSBAA First Vice President Rick Massini at the PSBAA AB Student Voice conference, held in Edmonton on November 15-16, 2017.

What's new at Eaglesham School

  • The Grade 5-6 class (pictured) read the novel, Wonder, which opened up conversations on bullying and kindness. The group traveled to Peace River to watch the movie by the same name, and compared it with the book.
  • The Grades 4-6 Volleyball teams hosted their annual elementary tournament on Friday, Nov 24. Both Eaglesham teams won gold in their pools. Teams from Spirit River Regional Academy and Savanna, Rycroft and Woking Schools also competed in the event.
  • The Outdoor Pursuits class will build a teepee with the help of Peter Joachim, Elder Success Coach at Beaverlodge Regional High School.

Upcoming Events:

  • December 5: Grade 9-12 students will attend a Career Fair in Falher.
  • December 19: Elementary Christmas Craft Day, sponsored by the School council.
  • December 22: Staff versus student hockey game.

Helen E. Taylor School

HET canteen offering healthy choice options for students, by students

Recent changes to the menu at the HET canteen offer students additional healthy choice options. New healthy snacks, prepared by students in HET's General Living Skills class, include fruit parfaits, blueberry muffins, air popped popcorn and healthy banana splits made with granola.

Tower gardening

Thanks to a generous donation from Canadian Tire's JumpStart program, HET students are learning about indoor gardening using a tower garden. This month, Mr. Robinson has taken charge of the project and has set up growing lights and the water pump, balanced the water, and planted the seeds. It is only a matter of time before the school canteen will include school-grown veggies on the menu.

HET in the community:
SADD Campaign

HET students designed bags for local liquor stores as part of the Students Against Drunk Driving campaign.

Festival of Trees

For the second year, HET staff decorated the Northern Spirit Local entry in the Festival of Trees.  Spearheaded by Belinda Sieker, with help from Barb Murphy and Joelanne Liland, the tree garnered a third place finish in the Judge's Choice category.

Hythe Regional School

HRS playground transformed

The playground and school grounds at Hythe Regional School have been transformed, thanks to cooperation between the Friends of Hythe & Community Playground Society, volunteers, community members and PWSD. Upgrades include a new base for the play structure, additional parking space, a new dumpster enclosure, and new benches and planters.

LaGlace School

Upcoming events:

  • November 30: Grades 3-4 students will visit the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum to make a fossil and participate in a scavenger hunt.
  • Month of December: LaGlace School is collecting food items for the Sexsmith Food Bank and socks for the St. Lawrence Center.
  • December 19: Grades 1-6 students will perform Christmas carols at Hythe Pioneer Home during the afternoon of Tues., Dec. 19.

Pictured left-right: Remembrance Day contest winners Nathaniel Wilson, Grade 6, 2nd place, essay; Ty Smith, Grade 6, 2nd place, poetry; Sydnie White, Grade 7, 2nd place, essay; Joanna Jones, Grade 9, 1st place, essay and poetry.

Peace Wapiti Academy

Community Foundation of NW AB bestows $9,000 grant for audio/visual collaboration
Peace Wapiti Academy (PWA) will receive a $9,000 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, to support an audio/visual collaboration with CIA Solutions, a local digital advertising company. Through the collaboration, PWA students will receive exposure to the audio/visual industry by participating in real-life production activities. Amanda Crouse, who teaches media, art and photography at PWA, will collaborate with CIA Solutions to secure mentoring opportunities for students at CIA's offices. Students will learn to use the equipment to create unique audio/visual projects, gain work experience in a constantly changing industry, and become informed about future career path decisions. The collaboration will also provide opportunities to earn credits toward a high school diploma. Currently, 172 students are enroled in Film and Media Arts and Photography courses at PWA. The cheque will be presented at the Invest Northwest granting ceremony at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at Centre 2000.

What's new at PWA

Photographer presents book to PWA

Suzanne Sagmeister and Laurel Walker presented PWA with a copy of Suzanne's book, 100 stories of Hope from Survivors of Suicide, an amazing gift to the PWA learning community. Special thanks to Suzanne for supporting PWA students.

Students attend AB GSA Conference
Four members of the Titan's Pride GSA attended the sixth annual Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Alliance Conference in Calgary on November 19.

Last Chance Cooking
Offered by PWA foods teacher Mrs. Erker, the class is open to PWA students on a drop-in basis on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during iPlan, to prepare high school students for cooking on their own. For many students, this is their last chance to learn fundamental cooking skills before leaving home.

PWA photography class releases calendar

A beautiful calendar featuring student work can be purchased for $20.00. Funds raised from calendar sales will help send students to Skills Competitions. The PWA photography class is taught by Mrs. Crouse.

Upcoming events:

  • PWA Acti-Parent Christmas Market: Thursday, December 7, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the PWA gym. Shop at 40 tables filled with homemade crafts, jewelry, make-up, toys, art and more. All funds raised will be directed to Hayley's Angels.

Ridgevalley School

Students fundraise for Red Cross, Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association

Led by the Ridgevalley School junior high leadership team, two groups of students raised money and collected supplies for two organizations during the month of October. Students involved in a three-week fundraiser for Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association collected donations of pet supplies and generated $263 from two ice cream float sales. A second group of students (pictured) sold cupcakes for two weeks in support of the Red Cross Puerto Rico hurricane relief effort, raising $281 for the cause. Great work, students!

Grade 6 students collect for homeless
New personal items were collected by a group of Grade 6 students at Ridgevalley School, to be donated to Rotary House for distribution to the homeless and those living in shelters.

Ridgevalley Principal, Assistant Principal achieve Masters in Education degrees
Congratulations to Principal Penny Rose and Assistant Principal Barry DeFord on graduating from the University of Alberta with Masters in Education degrees, conferred during the fall convocation ceremony held on November 22. Ridgevalley School is proud of their administrators for their dedication to students and staff in their pursuit of higher education.

Robert W. Zahara Public School

RWZ Action News – RWZ students launch weekly newspaper

In October, RWZ students launched the first edition of a weekly online newsletter that teachers can share with their classes. The newsletter included tips for students, a new teacher profile, an interview with Sexsmith's re-elected Mayor Claude Lagace, and a report on guest speaker Eva Olsson. Read the October 30th edition of RWZ Action News at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ay0QhTzc8kt10rc__aCOX5LrAThlPDrKtHVt3_daz7E/edit#slide=id.p

Rycroft School

Christmas is in the air at Rycroft School

The Christmas Store has become a cherished tradition at Rycroft School. Open during the week of December 4, the store provides a fantastic opportunity for students to shop for family members and friends. Products are reasonably priced and giftwrapping is provided. The project promotes empathy and encourages thinking of others.

Rycroft School will support the local FCSS Christmas Hamper 2017 Donation Drive by collecting donations of non-perishable foods and new toys during December 1-15.

December 4 is Candy Cane Day. Students and staff are encouraged to wear red and white. Christmas Sweater Day will be held on December 8.

National postcard exchange in celebration of Canada 150
The Grades 5-6 Social Studies class will communicate with students at 23 schools across Canada as part of the Canadian Postcard Exchange program in celebration of Canada 150. By exchanging postcards, students will learn about other Canadian communities – an excellent way to celebrate Canada 150.

Sexsmith Secondary School

Running shoes, water bottles and T-shirts donated to local students

More than 90 pairs of running shoes, 30 water bottles and 30 T-shirts were donated to Peace Region schools by Walk, Run & More; New Balance; and participants in the Roots & Ruts Trail Race. The entry fee for the 2017 Roots & Ruts Trail Race, held on September 22, included a pair of ON Cloud running shoes, and more than 30 racers opted to donate their shoes to the drive. Walk, Run & More donated an additional 45 pairs, while New Balance kicked in 15 pairs. The shoes were distributed to area schools for use by students who do not have appropriate footwear for physical education classes or run clubs. Many thanks to all donors, including the volunteers (pictured) who ensured that the shoes reached kids in need.
Pictured left-right: Lisa Lauzon, Walk, Run & More; Stephanie Murphy, Grande Prairie Public School District; Michelle Phillips, Smoky River Runners; Stephanie MacKay, Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools; Amanda Frayn, Regional EMS Foundation; and Henry Mitton, Peace Wapiti Public School Division.

Empowerβ„’ Reading at Sexsmith Secondary School
Thanks to the Classroom Improvement Fund, announced by the Government of Alberta in June 2017, a district-wide remedial program has been launched at PWSD schools for the 2017-2018 school year to support students with word reading disabilities. In larger schools such as Sexsmith Secondary, Empowerβ„’ Reading programming is being administered, while Toe by Toe programming is offered at smaller schools.

Teacher Cathe Dickson, who has worked with a group of Grades 7, 8 and 9 students since the end of September, says students are beginning to read words that have been a struggle in the past.

"We've focused on decoding (pronouncing) words, which allows students to identify almost any word they are given," says Ms. Dickson. "For five days a week, an hour at a time, kids are using three powerful strategies to figure out words: Sounding Out, which is based on how each letter and letter combination sounds; Rhyming to compare word parts to words they already know; and Peeling Off prefixes and suffixes. Spelling has also improved significantly. English isn't the easiest language to learn but these kids are well on their way."

Ms. Dickson asked students to comment on how the program has affected them:

  • "Everyone should know and use these strategies because they really work."
  • "After only one month I was able to improve a lot."
  • "I can use these strategies when I read and in other classes, so it's really helpful."

SSS Building Construction class tours Windy Acres cabinet shop

On November 24, Sexsmith Secondary School's Building Construction 20/30 class toured Windy Acres Wood Furnishings and Cabinetry Ltd. in Sexsmith. Students saw what goes into building a cabinet from beginning to completion, and learned about the tools of the trade. Husband and wife team Randy and Susan Germain were fantastic hosts and made a keepsake plaque on their CNC machine for students to hang in the school wood shop. Shop teacher Darrel Bogdanek said it was a wonderful experience for the students and the class appreciated the invitation to the shop. 

Wembley Elementary School

Artist-in-residency, Wonder inspire WES students

WES students enjoyed a two-week artist-in-residence program with Amanda Syryda of Hula Hoop Circus. This is the third year WES students have learned circus-style performance skills from Ms. Syryda using hoola, hoops, poi, scarves, plates and sticks. Students performed a final presentation on Friday, November 24. WES students also attended the movie Wonder, based on a book by the same name, at the Cineplex on November 20-21.

Whispering Ridge Community School

WRCS logo contest
The WRCS logo contest is in full swing with more than 200 entries. During the week of November 27, the school community will vote on the top three logos, with the winner announced during the December WRCS assembly.

In sports:

  • Volleyball season has wrapped up. Thanks to coaches Mrs. Green, Miss Scheideman, Miss Chandler, Mr. Groff, Mrs. Tillotson, Ms. Wieler and Mrs. Stilwell.
  • Junior High Basketball tryouts are underway for HBS/WRCS. Final try-out dates are Nov. 28-29. Thanks to coaches Mr. O'Shea and Miss Gaucher.
  • The Grades 4-8 Curling Club continues, wrapping up on December 7.

Woking School

Snow Squad lending a hand in Woking

Snow Squad, a band of student volunteers, can be seen shoveling snow around the community of Woking. "We received a grant last year from Saddle Hills County that we used to purchase 15 shovels and toques and mittens embroidered with "Snow Squad," says Principal Danelle Boychuk. "We have a dedicated group of Grades 3-8 students who volunteer in the morning and at lunch time to shovel sidewalks and driveways for those in need."

Recent Press Releases:

Other news:

  • PWSD and its schools were featured in a total of 48 media stories to date 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.