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

PWPSD Good News Report – October 2019

October 22, 2019

The following Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) and its schools will be shared at the upcoming Board meeting on Thursday, October 24, 2019.


PWA student selected to Minister's Youth Council
Congratulations to Brookelyn Sorensen, a Grade 12 student at Peace Wapiti Academy, who has been named to the 2019-2020 Minister's Youth Council. She is among 40 youth, aged 14-19, selected from 200 applications from across Alberta. Council members will share diverse student perspectives and provide input on education issues during three meetings with the Minister of Education in Edmonton in October, February and May, while engaging in ongoing communication and/or engagement opportunities.

"During my time on the council, I want to bring awareness to issues such as overcrowded classrooms, the need to provide more assistance to teachers in their classrooms, and the lack of opportunities for students who are passionate about the arts," says Miss Sorensen. "I would like to see neglected programs in smaller high schools receive the proper funding to keep them current and updated. I also believe that the education system should continue their efforts to be inclusive of differentiated learning styles, and our curriculum should reflect that." Read the full story.

PWPSD schools raise $37,870 for cancer research through Terry Fox School Run events

Whispering Ridge Community School was the top fundraising school, generating $6,441 for cancer research.

PWPSD schools honoured the 39th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run with fundraising campaigns and school run events this fall, generating $37,870.42 for cancer research. Many thanks to all PWPSD staff, students and community members for contributing to this worthy cause.

Top fundraisers:

  1. Whispering Ridge Community School was this year's top fundraiser, collecting $6,441.

  2. Beaverlodge Elementary School followed closely with $6,232.

  3. Robert W. Zahara Public School rounded out the top three, raising $5,345. As promised, Principal Lawrie McKeith and Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem were 'slimed' by students for beating their goal.

  4. Honourable mention goes to Wembley Elementary School where a Grade 2 student singlehandedly raised more than $1,500 of the school's $3,708 total, placing the school fourth overall for fundraising.

Grade 12s invited to explore post-secondary options at GPRC
Grade 12 students who are looking at post-secondary options will explore one program or two trades during the GPRC Open House event beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 8, followed by a booth fair during 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. More information at www.gprc.ab.ca/recruitment/open_house.html

Health Care focus of October Tour the Trades event

Four PWPSD high school students joined others from the local school districts to explore potential work experience opportunities and future career paths in health care during a Tour the Trades event on October 17. Peace Wapiti Academy students Sierra Garnish, Madison Bulford and Danika Vezina; along with Jessica Boehmer of Sexsmith Secondary School and Alternative Education teacher Joe LaValley started their full-day tour at Kinesis Physical Therapy, followed by a visit to the QEII Hospital to meet with practitioners and participate in simulations in nursing, X-Ray technology and laboratory collections. Nurse Shelby Gitzel shared her professional experience with the group over lunch. During the afternoon, students visited South 40 Dental where Office Manger Lee Wrigley provided information on becoming a dental administrator, dental assistant, dental hygienist and dentist. At the Lakeview Seniors Complex in Clairmont, students learned about becoming a Health Care Aide.

Trades featured on the tour are in high demand and provide opportunities for students to talk with tradespeople on the job and learn about the trades and the steps required for certification. Prior to the tours, students complete the Alberta Education Workplace Safety Systems HCS-3000 course. Students can complete a three-day job shadowing experience at one of the industry partners during the summer months, thanks to a partnership between CAREERS: The Next Generation and the participating high schools.

New teachers find support during first Mentorship Program PD day

PWPSD partners with the Northern Spirit ATA Local 6 to offer a valuable mentorship program designed to welcome and support new teachers. This year, the program has paired 13 new first-year teachers with an equal number of experienced teachers. Mentors and protégés met at Central Office on October 17 for orientation workshops in the morning, followed by an ATA-led session on Winning Strategies for Classrooms and time for the partners to work together during the afternoon.


Holocaust survivor Dr. Eva Olsson returning to PWPSD schools

Holocaust survivor, renowned author and Order of Ontario recipient Dr. Eva Olsson will bring her story of survival to PWPSD schools and Horse Lake First Nation on October 21 - 25. The public is invited to a free presentation on Thursday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre, 11633-100 Street, Grande Prairie.

Robert W. Zahara Public School – Assembly Monday, October 21
9:30 a.m.

Peace Wapiti Academy –

Presentations to Grade 9 A and B classes

Tuesday, October 219A: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
9B: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Sexsmith Secondary School, with junior high students from LaGlace and Teepee Creek SchoolsWednesday, October 2310:00 a.m.
Woking School, with students from Rycroft SchoolThursday, October 241:30 p.m.
Pomeroy Hotel Ballroom – Public presentationThursday, October 247:00 p.m.
Horse Lake First Nation Recreation CentreFriday, October 2510:00 a.m.

Mamawhitowin "Coming Together" Conference 2019

PWPSD Indigenous Education Coordinator Brigitte Benning and Métis Elder Angie Crerar delivered a presentation entitled Understanding the Métis in Canada at the Mamawhitowin Conference in Grande Prairie on October 18. Educators, Indigenous liaisons and ASBA Zone 1 leadership attended the session that explored the unique history of Métis people, their stories of oppression and resistance, their distinct culture, and current day experiences. Attendees strengthened their foundational knowledge and received student-focused classroom resources. The pair also shared personal stories of their Métis experiences. A well known Métis Elder and residential school survivor, Ms. Crerar was born in Ft. Resolution, NT and now lives in Grande Prairie where she serves as president of the Métis Local 1990. She has received a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Esquao Awards, Grande Prairie's 2005 Centennial Award, the Governor General's Award in 2008, and was named Hometown Hero by the City of Grande Prairie in 2009.


Merv Crouse 'Coats for Kids' Distribution Centre open until October 31

PWPSD Trustee Dana McIntosh and Board Vice Chair Bob Knull volunteered at the Centre on October 11.

The Distribution Centre is open until October 31 at the Towne Centre Mall at 9845-99 Avenue in Grande Prairie. Gently used winter wear in all sizes will be available free of charge to those in need.


PWPSD schools participate in Student Vote

PWPSD students were among the 8,000 schools nationwide to participate in Student Vote Canada 2019 during October 15-18.  Results from the mock vote were released following the official close of polls on Monday, October 21. Results from the Grande Prairie – Mackenzie riding included 20 PWPSD schools and saw Conservative candidate Chis Warkentin elected with 62.8 per cent of the mock vote. Results from the Peace River – Westlock riding included one PWPSD school and saw Conservative candidate Arnold Viersen elected with 58.84 per cent of the mock vote. View complete results at https://studentvote.ca/results/canada2019/.

School News

Alternative Education

PWPSD Alt. Ed. providing varied programming to students

Students can participate in varied Alternative Education programming at the Peace Wapiti Enterprise Centre located at 11735-105 Street, Unit #106 in Grande Prairie. The course line-up kicked off on October 11 with Yoga. See poster for upcoming Friday courses, including environmental stewardship, photography, junior high programming and more.

Bonanza School

Junior ATB comes to Bonanza School
Earlier this month, Spirit River ATB Financial branch manager Rhonda Yurchyshyn and Personal Banking Specialist Casandra Jones presented the Junior ATB program at Bonanza School, offering "deposit days" for students on a biweekly basis during the school year. Grades 4-8 students who would like hold positions as bank tellers, board members and promotions staff on banking days will undergo an interview process beginning on October 29, followed by three training days. The grand opening will take place on January 28, 2020 and run the remainder of the school year. Once the Junior ATB is up and running, any student may open an account with parental permission and contribute during designated deposit days. Junior ATB staff will reconcile the deposits with the help of ATB branch staff who will deposit funds into accounts at the Spirit River ATB. Principal Theresa Simmonds says this is an excellent opportunity for the students to learn about saving money, and for the older students to learn about holding a job in the banking field. "Thank you to ATB Financial in Spirit River for making this excellent opportunity available to our students."

Bonanza after-school youth program launching on October 21

Bonanza school will launch U.Fit.Here on October 21, a fantastic after-school youth program for children aged 8-13 on Mondays at 3:45 - 5:45 p.m. The program will run until December 2. Students will learn about building healthy relationships and confidence, anti-bullying, family connections and healthy communication, while enjoying fun activities, games, and healthy snacks. Support for the program comes from a Family and Community Safety Program grant, and Saddle Hills County, Central Peace Health and Wellness Coalition, Alberta Health Services, Central Peace Early Childhood Coalition, and Central Peace Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). 

Pilot tri-school career exploration field trip supported and organized by Saddle Hills County

Grades 3-9 students from Bonanza, Savanna and Woking Schools will embark on a career exploration field trip on Tuesday, October 22, funded and organized by Saddle Hills County. Students will go through stations at the Central Peace Health Complex in Spirit River, learning from presenters about their careers and working successfully in their own communities. After lunch at a local hall, the group will hear from a Saddle Hills County Peace Officer, a general contractor and an electrician, followed by visits to two local businesses to learn about the challenges and successes of being entrepreneurs. Principal Theresa Simmonds says, "This is an excellent learning opportunity for all, one that we hope will be the first in a series of career development opportunities for our students." 

Bonanza Agricultural Society renovates, donates fire hall to Bonanza School for makerspace

"Bonanza School is very blessed to have amazing support from our community and our Bonanza Agricultural Society," says Principal Theresa Simmonds. "This past summer, the Society, spearheaded by Leanna Shore, completed renovations to the old Bonanza Fire Hall that included a bathroom renovation, paint, new storage work benches, whiteboards, tables and chairs to create a makerspace for the school."

An invitation went out to the community for donations of used items to include in the makerspace. 

"We have received many items that will help with creative projects, along with designs for students to complete. In addition, our school hot lunch organizers donated funds to help purchase tools, necessary items and supplies." 

The new makerspace opened on October 15, welcoming Grades 1, 2, 5 and 6 students who worked together to create a makerspace banner that gave students a sense of ownership of the building.

"The building will be accessible to all students, and will also be used for our Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) classes in the months to come," says Principal Simmonds. "Thank you to the Bonanza Ag Society, the community in general and the hot lunch ladies from Bonanza School who have all helped make this amazing learning space a reality for the students of Bonanza School."

Elmworth School

Learning good citizenship – Elmworth students participate in Student Vote

Grades 3-9 students lined up to cast their vote before heading outside for recess.

As part of the Vote For Your Future campaign, Elmworth students joined millions of students across Canada to participate in the Student Vote.

Harry Balfour School

'Circle of Life' support group for children dealing with loss

Harry Balfour School will once again offer 'Circle of Life' beginning in November, a grief and loss support group for students provided through a partnership with the Grande Prairie and District Grief Support Association. Six hour-long sessions will run during school hours and offer support to children who have experienced loss through death, divorce or separation. Children will be involved in open discussions, activities and crafts geared to help them process, understand and teach others about their grief.

Dez the therapy dog assisting HBS students on Mondays and Wednesdays

Dez, the Educational Assistant Therapy Dog (pictured), along with his handler Mrs. Sieben, will visit the Harry Balfour School library on Mondays and Wednesdays. The school says Dez is a five-year-old Papillon with a very quiet, calm personality. A retired champion show dog, he has therapy dog certification through St. John's Ambulance and up-to-date vaccinations. There are many reported benefits of therapy animals, including improving cognitive functioning by relieving daily stress, providing emotional and social support in the form of comfort, increasing social engagement, and improving self-confidence and self-esteem.

Upcoming events:

  • Saturday, November 2: Harry Balfour 'B' Tripleball Tournament at the school. Open to Boys, Girls and Mixed 'B' teams from all districts. 

Hythe Regional School

International Paper donates $15,000 for books for HRS students

A $15,000 grant from International Paper will help build students' literacy at Hythe Regional School and in their homes. Funds will be used to purchase books for use in school that students can take home at the end of the school year.

Assistant Principal Holly Gould who applied for the grant says, "Students will use the books all year long at school and can then create, or add to, a library of books they know, love and have the skills to read at home. Research shows that homes with more books promote increased literacy. We're hoping to reach as many students as possible with the books, and provide a book bag to transport them home at the end of the school year. We are thrilled with the donation and plan to get started on this new project in the very near future." Planning for a formal cheque presentation is in the works. 

LaGlace School

Chris Warkentin presented to Grades 5-9 classes on October 15.

Upcoming events:

  • October 22: Grades K-9 will attend a presentation by local author Sue Farrell Holler at the LaGlace Community Library.
  • October 23: Jr. High attending the Eva Olson presentation at Sexsmith Secondary School.
  • October 29-30: Grades 7/8 class EUREKA workshop, hosted by the John Howard Society.
  • October 31: Author Sigmund Brouwer presentation to Kindergarten - Grade 9 with visiting students from Woking School.
  • November 7: Remembrance Day Ceremony at La Glace School, 10:30 a.m. in the gym.

Peace Wapiti Academy

Grade 12 student set to graduate trade ready

Grade 12 student Matthew Unrau passed Part A of the Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) exam in September – the first of two parts required for licensing as a Class 4 Power Engineer. Matthew is on track to finish his Power Engineer studies in June, when he will be eligible to write the Part B exam. Congratulations, Matthew!


Classroom news:

  • French 20: Students are corresponding with high school students in Nancy, France. They enjoyed reading the students' profiles. Both classes benefit from authentic communication as the French teens write in English, while PWA students respond in French.

  • Outdoor Ed 10: Classes took a trip to Ambler Mountain near Grande Cache where they spent the day hiking. They also created maps of their trip, cooked a meal on top of the mountain, and took geotagged photos to create a map when they returned to school.

  • Grade 9: Ms. Bednard's class participated in a selfie scavenger hunt in the library – a fun way to become familiar with the library.

  • Foods classes: Students prepared a luncheon for Academy Awards attendees on October 10. Teachers are looking forward to the meal students will prepare for them to enjoy before Parent-Teacher Interviews. 


Recent and upcoming events:

  • Annual PWA Academy Awards: Congratulations to award and scholarships winners from the past school year who were recognized at the PWA Academy Awards on October 10. View a slideshow of winners.

  • National Take our Kids to Work Day: Grade 9 students will learn about work and career opportunities by spending a day at work with a parent, relative or friend on Wednesday, November 6.

Ridgevalley School

'Night in the Trenches' planned for RVS

RVS is planning a 'Night in the Trenches' event for the late afternoon/early evening of November 10. Location to be determined. Students will spend the night re-enacting activities experienced by soldiers who fought in The Great War.

Other RVS news:

  • Congratulations to three RVS students for their performance at Cross-Country Zones: Silas Brochu, 2nd; Jonathon Altamirano-Pina, 6th; and Matt Parrish, 22nd.
  • Outdoor Pursuits students learned how to construct survival shelters.
  • Elder Barb Goodswimmer joined staff and students for the Orange Shirt Day assembly on October 4.

Spirit River Regional Academy

Junior/Senior High Academic Awards Ceremony

Awards for the past 2018-2019 school year were handed out on Thursday, October 10 recognizing students' achievements from the 2018-2019 school year.

Top left:  Diane Fulton (left), Top Junior High Student Award and Kayla Paulson (right), Top Senior High Student Award.

Top right: Rocky & Ruby Renegade Award, presented to one male and one female student in Grade 9 who show exceptional qualities in the school community: Brandy Nicholson (left) and Forest Conrad (right).

Bottom: The SRRA Achievement Award recognizes students who have worked beyond expectations, and who reflect the school mission statement: Encouraging Success, Responsibility, Respect and Achievement. Left to right: Graden Vandeligt, Grade 7; Arika Pullishy, Grade 8; Evan Pullishy, Grade 11; Coralee Zesko, Grade 9; and Kayla Paulson, Grade 10. Missing from photo: Gracie Hayden, Grade 12.

Teepee Creek School

Grade 3 student Samantha Binks wins Principal for a Day

Teepee Creek raised $1,826 in their annual Terry Fox Run, exceeding their $1,000 goal. As a reward, Grade 3 student Samantha Binks won Principal for a Day and replaced Mr. Robertson on October 10. Principal Binks (pictured) enjoyed taking charge of Teepee Creek School, handling morning announcements and organizing an upcoming Hot Dog Day with the School Council Chair. She met with a bus driver to work out some busing issues and responded to a request from Central Office for a student count. Samantha did a wonderful job but is now back in Grade 3 with the rest of her class, ready to take over again when Mr. Robertson is away.

Whispering Ridge Community School
WRCS named top 3D Charity fundraising school, awarded inaugural Ryan Wagner Memorial banner

On October 16, students and staff at Whispering Ridge Community School (WRCS) were honoured during a special ceremony for the inaugural Ryan Wagner Memorial Award banner presentation, recognizing them as the top fundraising school for this year's 3D Charity Hockey and Soccer Tournament, held in February in support of seriously ill children. WRCS students raised $5,186. Read the full story.


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