The Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) and its schools will be shared at the upcoming Board meeting on Thursday, May 28, 2020. For the remainder of the school year, this report will focus on the Learn @ Home with PWPSD experience.
News from PWPSD
School Nutrition Program funding directed to providing food for families
PWPSD has worked with schools to develop a plan to direct the remainder of this year's School Nutrition Program funding to providing greater food security for students and their families during this time of economic uncertainty. PWPSD Assistant Superintendent Kevin Elias and Brigitte Benning, Indigenous Education Coordinator, looked to school principals for input on how to best serve their students. The support is being shared throughout the division on a monthly basis, and is based on student populations and identified needs in each area. See list of participating foodbanks, churches and organizations here.
PWPSD staff invited to participate in a virtual Round Dance – Video submissions due May 29
In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, PWPSD staff are invited to participate in a virtual Round Dance. Brigitte Benning, Indigenous Education Coordinator, said the idea came out of a brainstorming session with the Indigenous Liaison team.
"Participating is easy. Staff should send a 10-second video of themselves doing a few round dance steps to the left," says Ms. Benning. "There is no need to worry about sound or editing; just ensure that the video is filmed vertical/portrait."
Send videos to BrigitteBenning@pwpsd.ca by May 29. For tips on how to Round Dance, watch this video of Mrs. Belcourt, Cree Instructor and Indigenous Liaison at Hythe Regional School, or this video prepared by the University of Alberta.
Beaverlodge Elementary School
Coming June 1: We have the "BEST" news!
On June 1, BES will be going live on Facebook to announce a number of changes, including a new logo, mascot and after-school sports programs that will fall under the umbrella of "BEST" – a combination of the school's acronym, BES, and the word 'Team'.
During the month of May, staff members are being profiled on the school's Facebook page. At the end of the school year, staff and students will bid a fond farewell to two long-time staff members – Principal Paul Cincurak who will retire after serving the school for the past 14 years, and Grade 6 teacher Devany May who has been with the school for 28 years.
The school will also run a contest to name the new mascot. Deadline for entries is September 20. Stay tuned for more information in the official announcement from BES on June 1.
Annual Teddy Bear Picnic event goes virtual
On May 14, Grade 1 teacher Crystal Myskos hosted the annual class Teddy Bear Picnic as a virtual event, creating a way for her students to connect and share with each other during the period of home learning.
Mrs. Myskos says the event provides an opportunity to celebrate the school year together and have some fun.
"Using Google Meet, we visited over snacks and drinks with our stuffies and then played some games. Students were very excited to show each other their special stuffies."
BES meeting programming needs
Aleks tries his new tricycle, provided by Beaverlodge Elementary School to help him continue his physical activity programming during the period of home learning.
Programming needs can be different for every student, whether in school or at home. Near the end of April, BES provided a large tricycle to Aleks, one of their students, to help his family continue his programming, which includes physical activity.
Capturing this moment in time
Grade 2 student Liam Hotte buried a time capsule that he worked on for more than a month.
Liam Hotte is capturing this moment in time. The Grade 2 student from Beaverlodge Elementary School has been busy creating a time capsule for one of his home learning projects.
Grade 2 teacher Joey Wieliczko says, "Liam has worked on several memory activities over the past month, from interviewing his parents about these unprecedented times, to documenting family handprints, including his pets' paw prints, to collecting newspaper clippings."
"I wonder what Liam's future self will reminisce about as he revisits the memories stored in his sealed container," muses Ms. Wieliczko.
According to his parents, the time capsule is stuffed with everything imaginable; adding their challenge now is convincing Liam to wait more than two years to reopen it. Liam was the one who suggested a two-year timeframe, but his parents are hoping he can hold out for 10 years and open it on his Grade 12 graduation.
Beaverlodge Regional High School
Congratulations to the Class of 2020 – Virtual grad held May 22
BRHS prepared a "Grad in a Box" for each graduate, created a virtual grad ceremony video and teacher video, and displayed graduates' photos on the school lawn to celebrate the Class of 2020.
BRHS hosted a virtual graduation ceremony on May 22, their planned graduation ceremony date. The event included a "Grad in a Box", prepared for each graduate ahead of the event, consisting of a hat and tassel, certificate and a program. On May 22, the school used their website and social media channels to share the event program, pre-recorded graduation ceremony video, and a teacher video. The school also printed photos of each graduate and displayed them on the school lawn as a surprise for the Class of 2020. Congratulations, graduates!
Numeracy Intervention at Home
Louise Strayer, an Educational Assistant at Bezanson School, has been implementing small group numeracy intervention during the past two years.
Grades 4-8 students experiencing difficulties in math complete a Level B KeyMath™ Assessment, administered by either Principal Elizabeth Linfield or an Inclusive Learning Coach. After compiling KeyMath™ Essential Resource materials for each student last year, consisting of tailored skill lessons to target individual learning needs, lead teacher Becky Mayer noted a significant improvement in student marks and MIPI scores.
Since the fall, Educational Assistant Louise Strayer has worked alongside coordinating teachers Holly Galbraith, Stacy Hanna, and Chantel Matlock to support small groups of students from their classes in this manner. Both Mrs. Strayer and the homeroom teachers report that student confidence and mathematical competence have steadily improved because of their time together.
The teachers said Mrs. Strayer didn't miss a beat when the school transitioned to the Learn @ Home framework in March. She readily accessed the Screencastify app to create and upload videos, and continued to roll out numeracy lessons for individual students.
"With the new methodology, our focus and collaboration has not changed; the biggest difference is the way we communicate now," says Mrs. Strayer, adding that paper copies are available at parents' request.
Bezanson staff are connecting with families and providing the level of support they require. Special consideration is given to families who are coping with significant challenges in their lives, or experiencing technical difficulties. "We have to meet the students where they are," adds Mrs. Strayer.
Supportive messages for students
Brenda Kutschinski, the ECS and Junior Kindergarten instructor at Bonanza School, says she posts messages on her classroom windows for her students to see when they pass by the school. Principal Theresa Simmonds said two staff members also created a "Together" message on the fence surrounding the school grounds.
Students getting comfortable with home learning
Bonanza School families submitted photos of their kids connecting with their teachers and adjusting to learning in their home environments, working hard while staying healthy and happy. Way to go, kids! You and your families are amazing!
Bonanza area Colony School teachers providing at-home learning support by paper, telephone
Since the move to home learning, Colony School teachers in the Bonanza area (right) have been working out of the Bonanza School library, delivering paper-based lessons to the students and providing daily home learning support over the telephone. Also pictured are Bonanza teachers who are continuing to use technology to deliver lessons and connect with students during the period of home learning.
Clairmont Community School
Students miss teachers too
Teachers at Clairmont Community School were greeted by a special chalk message upon their return to school following the Victoria Day long weekend.
Junior High teacher Cynthia Howard, who teaches English, French and Social Studies, has been using fun free art time to connect with her junior high students.
Harry Balfour School
HBS launching new Jr. Kindergarten program in September – Virtual open house event on May 28
Harry Balfour School has launched a social media campaign to advertise their new Junior Kindergarten program, offering local families the best start for their child. The school was recently named winner of the 2020 Inclusive Education Award. Families can register their child online from the comfort of their own home using PWPSD's online registration tool: www.pwpsd.ca/registration.
Principal Jen Clevette highlights five great reasons to choose Harry Balfour School:
- Convenient start time: 9:00 a.m.
- A large gym and playground for fun physical activities.
- Two sensory rooms.
- Speech, occupational and physical therapy.
- Inclusive education focus to meet developmental needs.
Families should plan to attend the virtual open house event on Thursday, May 28, 7:00 p.m. on Google Meet: https://tinyurl.com/hbsopenhouse. Newly registered students and those attending the virtual open house will be entered to win a HBS swag bag.
Grade 1M learning so far
Watch the slideshow to see the array of Grade 1 home learning opportunities.
Mrs. Pascut's Grade 1 class have been reading, writing, baking, creating and so much work during remote distance learning. Watch the Grade 1 Learn @ Home with Harry Balfour School slideshow.
Helen E. Taylor School
School creates video for Hats On! For Mental Health Day
Helen E. Taylor School staff created a video to bring awareness to the importance of positive mental health for Hats On! For Mental Health Day, celebrated on May 6, 2020. https://youtu.be/kcXy_yTxKas
Hythe Regional School
Lights, cameras, action!
Left right: HRS Music teacher Adele Lowen, Principal Dwayne Speager, and Barb Belcourt, Cree Instructor and Indigenous Liaison.
During the period of home learning, teachers at HRS have embraced Facebook's video feature as a tool to connect with students. Follow the school on Facebook for access to Mrs. Lowen's musical videos, Principal Speager's Wednesday Question of the Day, Mrs. Belcourt's Cree mini lessons, storybooks read by a number of teachers, and other fun videos to brighten students' days.
Studying the fur trade and fort designs
Grades 4 and 5 students in Mrs. Harris' classes have been learning about the fur trading way of life in Canada. Students conducted research, planned and mapped their own fur trading fort locations, and have created some amazing fur trading forts over the past few weeks.
Grades 1 and 2 students staying positive, engaged in home learning
Mrs. Eady is commending her Grades 1 and 2 class for continuing to stay positive and engaged in home learning initiatives. Pictured clockwise from top left:
- Grade 1 student Kalia created her own library.
- Grade 2 student Oliver used Lego to display his building skills.
- Grade 1 student Reata accepted the Earth Day Challenge by finding items for a scavenger hunt and picking up litter in her yard.
- Grade 1 student Jace completed an engineering/math challenge to see how many coins his Lego boat would hold before sinking, and then he counted the money.
More LaGlace School home learning
- Grade 8s explore global citizenship: Pictured top left and right: Grade 8 students Ty and Heidi pick up litter. Students in English 8 are studying global citizenship and how it transpires in the world. For a warm-up activity, students read "Love the Planet", picked up litter and submitted a photo. Great job!
- Defining shapes in space: Students in Mrs. Ottahal's Grade 3 Math class are constructing skeletons of 3-D solids and have taken a liking to this hands-on math project. Pictured: Grade 3 students Neah (bottom left) and Eloise (bottom middle, with her brother, Sullivan) enjoyed constructing their skeletons.
- Poetry at its finest: Over the past couple of weeks, Mrs. Noseworthy's Grade 5 and 6 English class completed a poetry boot camp. She was impressed with the exceptional work submitted (bottom right) and said there are some fantastic budding writers in this group.
Junior High Passion Projects
Junior High students are seeking a personal passion for a major project that is currently in the preliminary stages and will roll out in phases. Each phase includes detailed video instruction from Mrs. Moodie who is working on a passion project of her own – a family favourites cookbook featuring tried and true recipes. School staff say they are excited to see the cross-curricular passion projects come to fruition, ranging from cattle showing, to child psychology, to gardening.
Spring is in the air for Grades 1 and 2
Mrs. Eady distributed a Spring Scavenger Hunt activity to her Grades 1 and 2 class. Students will first use their visual literacy skills to find all the items on the list, and then hone their printing skills when they write about the items they discovered.
Grade 3 and 4 Science students plant bean seeds
Mrs. Richard's Grade 3 and 4 students are growing bean seeds in Ziploc bags stuffed with moist paper towels. By taping their baggies to a window, they will not only help the seeds germinate, but will also be able to watch the growing process. In a few weeks, Mrs. Richards will host a Google Meet for students to share their bean plants.
Peace Wapiti Academy
Students connect with teachers, classmates
High school students and teachers are finding unique ways to connect over home learning to ensure important outcomes are achieved to prepare students for their next level of learning – the next grade or post-secondary studies. Pictured clockwise from top right:
- Kiera Dorner wrote a psychology exam at home, under the supervision of Mrs. Bell, an Educational Assistant at PWA.
- PWA Math teacher Debbie Terceros uses Screencasify and a calculator app that replicates the student's calculator to explain how to change calculators to degree mode for a trigonometry unit.
- Grade 11 student Caleb Schroeder made chicken corn chowder for his Foods class with Mrs. Kendall. His family reports it was delicious, but perhaps his clean-up could use a bit more practice.
- Grade 12 Owen Rohloff made mac n' cheese for his family.
- Jazzy Hlewka finishes a sewing project for Fashion Studies. During the yearlong CONNECT course, she has produced wonderful creations to wear at school.
GLSP: Small Actions, Big Difference
GLSP students connect with seniors through pen pal project: Grade 11 students Kaylee Dodds, Kayden Dodds, Kaylee Rose Heetebrij and Bryanna Marcoux; and Grade 12 students Eowyn Seymour, Elise Zylstra and Karlee McLandress.
Inspired by their "Small Actions, Big Difference" lesson, Mrs. Hickox's General Learning Skills (GLSP) class kicked off a pen pal project to connect with seniors in isolation or palliative care, bringing warmth and connection to these incredibly important, often vulnerable members of the community. Mrs. Hickox says, "Initially, the idea of writing to a person they have never met made some students nervous. Each student was matched with a 'letter buddy' – an EA or teacher – to help them reach out." PWA hopes this pen-pal communication brings a smile and a little sunshine in these difficult times.
Math students learn volume, surface area
Mrs. Thibault's Grade 9 Math class designed houses to apply volume and surface area measurements.
Students explore personal dreams, goals in Medicine Wheel Dream art project
Carsyn Kowal's (left) and Lucy Clarke's (middle and right) interpretation of the Grade 5 Medicine Wheel Dream art project.
Penson School Grade 5 teacher Lori Szmul is thrilled with the artwork she is receiving from her students, produced for a Medicine Wheel Dream art project. She says her class was allowed to interpret the project any way their hearts desired, not only because it's art, but also because they are all working with different materials at home. Students drew a circle and divided it into quadrants representing the four energies of the Medicine Wheel – spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental. Students then reflected on each aspect by writing words and drawing images to express their feelings. While still in this brainstorming mode, students painted an abstract watercolour background using colours that express their dreams, goals and visions. The final step required students to add and then decorate a photo of themselves, or a picture from a magazine, that represents their vision of themselves.
RVS staff visit students at a distance
At 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday May 13, RVS staff drove along two of the school's bus routes, covering the areas north and south of the highway east of the school. Families and students waved from their homes or at the end of their driveways, with teachers staying in their vehicles to maintain a safe distance. Watch for additional upcoming route maps on the school's Facebook page.
Creativity abounds during home learning
Pictured clockwise from top left:
- Grade 1 student James Allison uses apples at home as a practical means of learning subtraction.
- Members of the Warkentin family absorbed in learning at home: Jeyda, Grade 1; Lynden, Grade 6; and Wade, Grade 2.
- Students received a 10-frame practice mat.
- Grade 4 student Cailey Eslinger created a painting with encouraging words for staff who are missing their students.
- Educational Assistant Janet McKnight conducts an online printing practice session with a Grade 2 student via Google Meet.
Robert W. Zahara Public School
EAs switch to online delivery of speech therapy
Educational Assistants at RWZ are continuing speech therapy online – one of many accommodations school staff have made during this period of home learning.
Grade 1 students grow plants, make bread and butter
Mrs. Hammel (pictured middle) and Mrs. Jamison have made two trips to deliver pots and seeds to Grade 1 students for growing their own plants, and the ingredients and the pans to make bread and butter. Outstanding!
Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem says that while Mrs. Hammel's final year of teaching is not ending the way she had hoped, she continues to be an inspiration to the staff at R. W. Zahara in her ability to remain connected with some of the school's youngest students.
"At R.W.Z., we understand the importance of building relationships with our kids and Mrs. Hammel is a shining example," adds Mrs. Rorem. "She has embraced technology to connect with her kids and parents through morning meetings, online lessons, stories, check-ins and plenty of fun projects for families to share. This is in addition to the home deliveries she makes with her sidekick, Mrs. Jamison to spread joy. She has spent her career loving her students and they love her right back."
Rycroft staff posted messages for students and invited families to drive by the school over the long weekend.
So happy together
Speech Language Pathology Educational Assistant Bev Pasmeny is connecting with her students online. From these photos, it's clear to see how happy she and Junior Kindergarten student Noah Young are to see each other. Photos courtesy of Principal Chris Young and Nikita Young.
Sexsmith Secondary School
Awesome food from amazing students
SSS shared photos that they call "awesome Foods 10 creations from our amazing students." The students are working through their unit on Basic Meat Cookery, including coming up with some of their own recipes. Kabobs, Chop Suey, Stews, Rouladen, Burgers, Steak Parmesan, and much more – hungry yet?
Spirit River Regional Academy
Kindergartens learning at home
As part of their learning at home, SRRA Kindergarten students have been counting, patterning, crafting, and hunting for items to increase their understanding of numbers and the alphabet.
Teepee Creek School
Specialized programming continues during home learning
Educational Assistant Kimberley Green has continued to support Liam, a Grade 4 student with communication delays, since schools transitioned to home learning in March.
Staff at Teepee Creek School describe Grade 4 student Liam Brumwell as a friendly, kind hearted, hardworking and creative boy. After a diagnosis of communication delays in Kindergarten, the school-based collaborative team consisting of Liam's classroom Teacher, the school Principal, a Speech Language Pathologist, an Inclusive Education Learning Coach, and his Educational Assistant recommended supportive strategies to address Liam's desire to communicate with others.
An Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device was trialed based on its ability to promote communication skills growth while fostering personal language development. With the help of his dedicated and tech-savvy Educational Assistant, Kimberley Green, Liam began learning to use his AAC device last year.
The school purchased an iPad and a symbol-supported app called Proloquo2Go to reflect what Liam was using on his personal iPad at home. The first time Liam was able to participate in science class discussions by raising his hand and playing "his voice", his classmates and the adults in the room were reduced to tears.
The school reports that Liam's actual speech is becoming much clearer, thanks to the literacy activities and fun challenges Mrs. Green provides, in combination with his daily iPad use. They love sharing jokes, and earlier this year, Liam created and presented AAC in the Classroom, an informative slideshow for younger students.
"Using the ACC device is an integral part of Liam's day," says Naomi Anderson, Liam's Grade 3 and 4 teacher. "Liam has gained confidence in his abilities to communicate in class and with his friends. It has been wonderful to watch Liam grow as an independent student because of his device and Mrs. Green's guidance."
Mrs. Green has continued to support Liam at a distance since schools transitioned to home learning in March.
"To find out on a Sunday that Liam wouldn't be returning to school was terrifying," says Heather Brumwell, Liam's mother. "Right away, Mrs. Green and Ms. Anderson created a game plan for him. It was comforting to know as a parent that the largest support system in our lives was still there, but in a new way. Watching how Mrs. Green uses an iPad to teach Liam to communicate and learn is amazing. She is able to unlock ways to help him learn, even from the other side of a computer monitor. She encourages, motivates and challenges us to use his iPad in our everyday lives. I appreciate the support more than words can express. We are so lucky to have her in our life!"
In Liam's words, "Home school is great! I love Mrs. Green!"
Wembley Elementary School
Kindergartens embrace home learning
Take a look at this slideshow to see how busy Mrs. LeDrew's Kindergarten students have been with home learning.
Whispering Ridge Community School
Part of This School
Watch a performance by Mrs. Maryanne Buck, Music and Elementary Generalist teacher at Whispering Ridge Community School, who wrote a song called "Part of This School" based on the song, "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid, to express how much teachers are missing their students.
School garden project will provide free produce to community
Vicki Telford, Education Assistant and Joan Hardy, Administrative Assistant and Librarian at Woking School planting one of eight raised bed gardens that make up the Woking School Community Garden.
Eight raised bed gardens that make up the Woking School Community Garden were planted on May 12 by staff members Vicki Telford and Joan Hardy.
"Usually, the students do the planting, so we missed them dearly! We planted carrots, green beans, Swiss chard, beets, lettuce, zucchini and potatoes. Once the vegetables have matured, families are welcome to come pick a few."
Upcoming eventsRecent Media Releases
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.
- May 22, 2020 Congratulations to the Class of 2020 – BRHS hosts virtual graduation ceremony
- May 14, 2020 Junior Kindergarten is coming to Harry Balfour School this September
- May 12, 2020 PWPSD staff invited to participate in a virtual Round Dance – Video submissions due May 29
- May 07, 2020 Assessment and Determination of Final Marks during COVID-19
- May 07, 2020 Parents: Complete the 2020-21 School Re-entry Planning Survey by May 14
- May 05, 2020 District-wide creative arts contest open to all students – submit entries by May 29
- May 04, 2020 Mental Health Week is May 4-8, 2020
- May 04, 2020 Schools to remain closed for duration of 2019-20 school year
- Apr. 30, 2020 PWPSD School Nutrition Program funding directed to providing food for families
- Apr. 27, 2020 PWPSD Board News – April 23, 2020
- Apr. 27, 2020 Learning is a Journey: Celebrate Education Week, April 27 - May 1, 2020
- Apr. 22, 2020 Looking back – A little more PWPSD Good News
- Apr. 21, 2020 PWPSD Good News Report – April 2020
Recent Media Coverage
- May 25, 2020 County distributes Operating Assistants Grants to community groups, County of Grande Prairie
- May 22, 2020 BRHS grads honoured with virtual ceremony, Reach FM
- May 21, 2020 How graduating students will be marked this year, Town & Country News
- May 20, 2020 Local school divisions to receive funding as part of stimulus plan for school upkeep, Everything GP
- May 14, 2020 Youth of the Week: Cobi Warkentin, Grade 8, Whispering Ridge Community School, Town & Country News
- May 07, 2020 Youths of the Week: Aliya Mutch and Mandy Watchorn, Gr. 6, RWZ, Town & Country News
- May 07, 2020 A little lunch money goes a long way – PWPSD gives grant to Beaverlodge Food Bank, Town & Country News
- May 07, 2020 PCS to be funded through new school division partnership, Everything GP
- May 04, 2020 PWPSD requests funding for new 9-12 school near Five Mile Hall, 2day FM
- May 03, 2020 PWPSD donating remaining School Nutrition Program funds to local organizations, 2day FM
- Apr. 30, 2020 PWPSD School Nutrition Program funding directed to providing food for families, Reach FM
- Apr. 30, 2020 Youth of the Week: Aleks Gerow, Gr. 2, Beaverlodge Elementary School, Town & Country News
- Apr. 28, 2020 PWPSD looking to build new high school alongside Harry Balfour replacement, Everything GP
- Apr. 27, 2020 Construction funding approved for replacement Harry Balfour School, Reach FM
- Apr. 24, 2020 Harry Balfour School wins National Inclusive Education Award, Education News Canada
- Apr. 23, 2020 County explores development of Five Mile Hall area, Town & Country News
- Apr. 23, 2020 Youth of the Week: Taeden Cowan, Gr.3, WES, Town & Country News
- Apr. 23, 2020 Hold on to your hats: 2020 grad ceremonies postponed across the district, Town & Country News
Keep up-to-date with the latest news from PWPSD, and local media coverage.