The Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) and its schools will be shared at the upcoming Board meeting on Thursday, April 23, 2020. During the indefinite cancellation of in-school classes, this report will focus on the Learn @ Home with PWPSD experience.
News from PWPSD
Harry Balfour School wins National Inclusive Education Award
Congratulations to Harry Balfour School (HBS) on winning a National Inclusive Education Award from the Canadian Association for Community Living and its provincial member association, Inclusion Alberta. The school was nominated by Jackie Ryder and Dennis Lodge, parents of Grade 8 student Matthew Lodge. In light of the current COVID-19 restrictions, the award will be presented live via a virtual ceremony on May 8 at 11:00 a.m.
"We, along with our son Matthew, are proud and honored to nominate HBS for a National Inclusive Education Award. In particular, we would like to nominate Mrs. Jen Clevette, Principal; Mrs. Kim Schellenberg, Vice-Principal; and Mrs. Rochelle Dempsey, Inclusive Education Coordinator. This is only Matthew's second year at HBS and what a difference they have made.
The award honours a teacher, school or school district whose commitment to inclusive education is exemplary and deserving of recognition. Inclusion Alberta formalized the award announcement in a letter to the school.
"As an organization that values and supports the full inclusion of children in regular classrooms, Inclusion Alberta would like to thank you for your commitment to Matthew and all the other students who have been fortunate to be fully included in your regular classrooms."
Read the full media release.
Graduation ceremonies postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak
With the indefinite cancellation of classes, and in light of the information provided during the televised announcement by Premier Kenney on April 7, 2020 regarding the projected peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta, all PWPSD high school graduation ceremonies planned for May and June have been postponed until late August or early September, pending further public health announcements, and future consultations with individual school communities. Read the full media release.
Learn @ Home with PWPSD
Reading with Lexia
Harry Balfour School Grade 2 student Madison uses Lexia at home to support her reading progress.
Lexia is an interactive online reading program that conducts a pre-assessment to establish where the student is, and then tailors instruction to their reading ability. If a student runs into difficulty, their PWPSD teacher receives an alert to connect with them via Google Meet.
As of the first of April, more than 2,000 PWPSD students have been registered to use Lexia during the indefinite cancellation of in-school classes.
Lexia was introduced to PWPSD by Rowena Stewart, Reading Intervention Coordinator. During the indefinite cancellation of in-school classes, Lexia has offered unlimited access to students. Thanks to PWPSD staff who helped facilitate this larger roll-out: Kasia Pfefferle of Whispering Ridge Community School (WRCS) for creating a video to help parents access it online, and Darren Robertson of Teepee Creek School, Kelsie Jones of Clairmont Community School, and Tori Stewart of WRCS who helped launch the service to students.
Parading into Easter Break
Some PWPSD schools celebrated the start of Easter Break with a parade through their community or attendance areas. The sirens, horns and shouting were all part of a social distancing-appropriate celebration!
- Harry Balfour School: Teachers paraded through Carriage Lane Estates on Wednesday, April 8.
- Wembley: First responders and teachers paraded through the community on Thursday, April 9.
- Clairmont: A parade through the community on Thursday, April 9.
- Eaglesham: On Easter Sunday, Eaglesham School staff conducted "Operation Easter Bunny", making their way throughout the community to offer Easter best wishes to students and their families. Mr. McKay, the Happy Christmas Bunny, tossed eggs to the students from a safe distance.
Star of the Month
Grade 11 student Marisa is PWEC's April Star of the Month.
During the period of home learning, PWPSD school staff are working hard to maintain the extras that contribute to the full student experience, offering stability in this time of unprecedented change.
Alternative Education Principal Kate Thon says their "Star of the Month" recognition program is special to their students and staff.
"The program recognizes and celebrates a student for their achievement in realizing their monthly goals," adds Ms. Thon. "It's a pat on the back for a student who is taking responsibility for their learning, doing an excellent job of maintaining communication, and demonstrating compassion and understanding toward all members of our learning community."
Congratulations to Marisa, a Grade 11 student enrolled at the Peace Wapiti Enterprise Centre (PWEC) in Grande Prairie, on being named the April Star of the Month.
Beaverlodge Regional High School
Wow! Take a look at the intricate hair designs by Beaverlodge Regional High School students! Cosmetology Studies teacher Miss Stamp says, "Students have been working on refining their skills in recreating a style from an image. Working from a selection of styles, students recreate the look on themselves or someone else who is in their home. Students are also developing step-by-step instructional images and videos based on a selection of reference images."
Grade 5 student measures his way to small business success
Holden working on his crayon holder. Photos courtesy of Dawn Nelmes.
Grade 5 student Holden Nelmes of Bezanson School has taken an assignment on measurements to a whole new level, launching a small business in the process.
Teacher Becky Mayer says she assigned a lesson on measurements to her Grade 5 class.
"In the assignment, students were asked to measure things around their house, recording the length, width and height in centimetres and millimetres, and to also identify examples of right angles."
Ms. Mayer was pleasantly surprised to receive an email and photos from Holden's mom, describing how he had applied his knowledge of measuring to create a personal woodworking project – a crayon holder.
Holden's creation is a local hit. His mom reports that he is currently working on 18 orders.
Ms. Mayer expressed pride and admiration for his entrepreneurial spirit. She says she has already placed an order with Holden and is looking forward to displaying one of his custom crayon holders on her desk at school.
Harry Balfour School
HBS develops student supports for distance learning
Photo: Harry Balfour School Principal Jen Clevette and Grade 3 teacher Jaime Baker participate in a CRM meeting.
Harry Balfour School staff held a Collaborative Response Model (CRM) meeting early in April to focus on developing student supports for distance learning outcomes. Teachers were asked to identify students and families who need assistance during the transition to home learning.
Principal Jen Clevette said Teachers and Educational Assistants (EAs) met for an hour in each Grade cohort (K-1, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and Junior High) to brainstorm possible actions to address identified needs.
"We varied our support plans based on family needs. Our planning includes check-ins with identified families who need social-emotional support, EAs working one-on-one with small groups of students to support assigned work, Friday phone calls to identified families, and setting up remote programming with Peace Collaborative Services to provide speech, occupational and physical therapy, and counselling."
Future planning is underway for parent sessions that will allow families to connect with each other and access resources to help them support student learning at home.
Meeting home learning needs
During the period of home learning, LaGlace School teachers have been assigned a group of school families to touch base with by telephone on Tuesdays. Principal Heidi Hargreaves says, "We created Family Coordinators with a goal to enhance communication to ensure we are providing necessary supports for home learning."
Here's a look at other ways the school is meeting home learning needs:
- Online speech sessions: Vera Nickel is continuing individualized programming through online speech sessions, meeting with students via Google Meet.
- Google Class: Mrs. Pol has set up a Google Class, supplemented with math tutorial videos to support students with Key Math intervention programming.
- Google Meet: Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Pol used Google Meet with Paizley, a Kindergarten student, to share her "show and tell."
- Remembering the special things: Mrs. Browne and her family are doing drive by "Happy Birthday" shout outs to kids in the area.
- Video recordings: Parents are enjoying the school's unique online learning experience. Students in Mrs. Moodie's Science 7-9 class can submit video recordings of their experiments and projects.
- Video and photo sharing: Mrs. Eady and Mrs. Torgerson are continuing connection building by sharing videos and photos with the students, such as this St. Patrick's Day-themed photo.
Peace Wapiti Academy
Students adapt learning to home environments
Clockwise from top left:
- Cosmetology students share before and after apprentice haircuts with Ms. Durand, using family members as models.
- Students and staff can participate in live workouts produced by Mrs. MacIsaac, Ms. Konno and Grade 12 student volunteer Breanna Cote who is featured in the live videos.
- Mr. Hassanali is using Screencastify to review notes with students and work through physics problems. He uploads the videos to Google Classroom where students can watch them as often as needed.
- Mrs. Kendall's Cooking 20 and 30 classes are using their home kitchens to meet course requirements. Grade 12 student Lawson Garant made donuts to complete requirements for a past unit. For the unit on soups and sauces, Grade 11 students Graham Gill prepared a variation dish for his family, while Becky Price made chicken corn chowder.
- The PWA Administrative team participates in online Collaborative Response Meetings (CRM) to determine appropriate supports for students.
- Ms. Bednard (no photo available) has led one-to-one video conferencing with students, conducted evening Google Meets classes to accommodate her Grade 12 students' work schedules, along with email check-ins to assess how her students are managing in the new home learning environment.
Grade 3 students embrace online learning
Grade 3 student Daelin listens as Ms. Speager teaches an online math class.
Penson School Grade 3 students are adapting to the new Learn @ Home environment. Grade 3 teacher Alecia Speager says she is able to stay in contact with her students using a variety of technology tools.
"Our students seem to especially appreciate Google Classroom as I can post videos and messages. Moving to online learning has been an adjustment for teachers, parents and students, but we are making the best of it. We miss the in-class connections, but are finding new ways to make online education work."
Writing contest examines strength, courage, love
Penson School is hosting a writing contest for their students using the topic, "Strength, Courage and Love: We're All in This Together!" Winning submissions will be published as an anthology and will become part of the school library.
Fractions + chocolate = Math skills
RVS Grade 5 student Colton did some chocolatey baking at home as a practical application of his math curriculum. Teacher Cynthia Johnson said, "The type of math learning involved in preparing a recipe falls under the Grade 5 math unit on converting fractions and equivalent fractions."
Teepee Creek School
Math participation grows in online environment
TCS teacher Mr. Clarkson has embraced the challenge of online learning by developing an innovative solution to teach new math concepts to his students using BitPaper™, an interactive whiteboard. After posting a question, students join Mr. Clarkson on the virtual whiteboard to show him how to solve the problem. Using the whiteboard and the integrated chat, he is able to support students much the same as he would in a face-to-face classroom.
Principal Darren Robertson says, "The students have taken to this new form of learning, and are often anticipating their turn to solve a problem. We have even heard reports of students complaining at home when Mr. Clarkson is busy with his other online class! Despite the challenge of writing numbers legibly with a mouse, being a true math teacher, Mr. Clarkson still requires students to show their work."
As seen on Facebook: Videos
Beaverlodge Elementary School students and staff created a video to say "Thank you to front line workers!" Thank you, Alberta Health Services staff, and all others who are working hard to provide essential services during the public health emergency.
Beaverlodge Regional High School Math 30-2 teacher Mrs. Lambert is busy preparing videos for her students. "Sometimes reading math notes can be very difficult, so they get to hear me in their own private homes. It's fabulous! They can see what I would do normally in the classroom, and they can use the Remind app to ask me any questions they would like."
Helen E. Taylor School created this collaborative video to the song, "Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face".
Hythe Regional School staff took a movement break today to enjoy a social distancing-style Round Dance.
Barb Belcourt, Indigenous
Liaison Worker and Cree Instructor at Hythe
Regional School, is offering Cree lessons on the school’s Facebook page.
Penson School staff would like you to remember to wash your hands!
Rycroft School staff created a collaborative video to share an Easter book with students.
Savanna School Grade 8 students Janae and Clara built and tested bridges as a project in Mrs. Earl's science class, and shared their outcomes in a video.
Sexsmith Secondary School compiled a video celebrating an awesome season by the Sabres Women's Basketball Team.
Wembley Elementary School staff and students took a break from learning for a fun social distancing dance party.
As seen on Facebook: Photos
Clockwise from top left:
- How does a Bonanza School teacher adjust to teaching in an online/home learning environment? Here's how! Aside from their teaching flexibility, many of our teachers have been, and continue to be, home learners themselves as they work to complete additional training or Masters level studies. We're all in this together!
- Elmworth School encouraged students and families to stay connected by making and hanging a heart in their window. "Let us support each other by creating our own community of hearts!"
- Robert W. Zahara Public School's Indigenous Liaison Worker Cindy Wunsch shared printable Indigenous colouring pages to celebrate Indigenous Culture. Download them here and here.
- Spirit River Regional Academy Grade 10 student Zoe Lipon has adjusted to her new normal of learning from home. Educational Assistant Chris Coleman participates in a Zoom meeting with Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Sheila Knoot and SLP Assistants.
- Whispering Ridge Community School Paisley Sandboe, a Grade 3 student at, stopped by the school to see her teacher, Mrs. Harrison. Even though the visit had to be through a window, it was a very special experience for both.
- Woking School staff were greeted by a sidewalk chalk message when they returned from Easter Break on Monday morning.
The established PWPSD 2019-2020 School Year Calendar will continue as planned during the indefinite cancellation of classes. Staff and students will continue to observe all non-operational days and holidays.
Recent Media Releases
Recent Media Coverage
- April 17, 2020 Harry Balfour School wins National Inclusive Education Award, Daily Herald Tribune
- April 16, 2020 Harry Balfour School honoured with National Inclusive Education Award, 2day FM
- April 16, 2020 Harry Balfour School wins National Inclusive Education Award, Reach FM
- April 16, 2020 Harry Balfour School wins National Inclusive Education Award, Everything GP
- April 16, 2020 Youth of the Week: Allison Harcourt, Gr. 7, HRS, Town & Country News
- April 16, 2020 Time for toasts! Town & Country News
- April 16, 2020 WES/HET teachers' Easter parade, Town & Country News
- April 14, 2020 Graduation ceremonies postponed, Central Peace Signal
- Apr. 09, 2020 PWPSD Grade 12 graduations postponed, Reach FM
- Apr. 08, 2020 PWPSD schools throw parades to celebrate Spring Break, Reach FM
Keep up-to-date with the latest news from PWPSD, and local media coverage.