14 Nov. 2019
April Board Meeting - Trustees learn about entrepreneurship programming in schools, receive learning technologies update
Media Release - April 11, 2019
Trustees met at the Kenora Education Centre on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, for a regular Board Meeting.
The April Kids Come First presentation titled ‘Valleyview Entrepreneurship Program’ was received by Trustees. Lisa Achilles, Principal of Valleyview Public School, Valleyview students, and Cierra Parkhill, Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation (LOWBIC), shared their recent learning with Trustees. Valleyview Public School has introduced a focus on business and entrepreneurship in partnership with LOWBIC through the Head Start in Business program. The goal of the program is to create learning environments that expose students to entrepreneurship experiences. The creativity and experiences shared by the students through programs like Be a Business Bee (Kindergarten-Grade 2), Create a Business Logo (Grades 3-6), and Kids Invent Program (Grade 6), impressed the Board of Trustees. With programs also available for intermediate and secondary students, there is no shortage of opportunities for program expansion in KPDSB schools. Components of the program are also available in French to support French Immersion students. Trustees thanked the presenters and expressed their hope to see more of this programming in schools in the future.
Jason McDonald, Learning Technologies Administrator, and Alexander McEachern, Technology-Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact, presented an update on the 2017-2020 KPDSB Learning Technologies Strategic Plan. Currently, in the second year of the three-year plan, technology-enabled learning has continued to expand and be available to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Key components of the plan include:
- The introduction of more than 400 Chromebooks in all primary grades with purposeful planning as to which applications will best meet student learning needs.
- The implementation of the G Suite set of educational tools from Google to support online classroom environments that allow for access to learning anytime and anywhere.
- Leveraging technology to collaborate across the region and beyond using video conferencing software that enables teachers to bring experts from various fields into classrooms, and helps students to develop global connections with students all over the world.
- Fostering creativity and critical problem-solving skills in students across the Board including providing more STEAM-focused learning opportunities through hands-on Makerspaces, computer coding and robotics.
- Integrating design technology into schools like 3-D printers and plasma cutters that allow students to learn with industry-standard tools.
- Ensuring on-going professional learning for staff through Learning Technology Champions at each elementary and secondary school who work with the Technology Enhanced Learning Teacher to mobilize and support the purposeful integration of technology for teaching and learning.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented an update on the KPDSB’s migration to new financial/accounting software called Sparkrock. Implementation began in October 2018 with a planned go-live date of July 1, 2019. Benefits provided by Sparkrock include cloud-based accessibility from anywhere with internet, timely and accurate financial reporting resulting in more informed decision making, and electronic approval routing for invoice payments, purchase orders and expense claims, making financial processes much more efficient and streamlined.
June Board Meeting Highlights - KPDSB Approves 2019-2024 Strategic Plan
Media Release - June 12, 2019
Trustees met at Red Lake District High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, for the last regular Board Meeting of the 2018-2019 school year.
The June Kids Come First presentation titled ‘The Red Lake DHS Food and Nutrition Initiative’ was received by Trustees. RLDHS teacher Darren Bausch, and students Connar Oster, Morgan Howell and Logan Ryczek, shared details of the initiative and how it has impacted them personally since it was implemented. The goal of the initiative is to encourage students to know where their food comes from, as well as to provide healthy food options in the school and to model healthy eating for students. From student athletes who have noticed an improvement in their conditioning, to students and staff composting and growing their own healthy foods right at the school, the benefits to the school community as a whole are being celebrated.
The 2019-2024 Strategic Plan was presented and approved by the Trustees, and concludes months of consultations and gathering of feedback from stakeholders. The new plan will guide the work of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board for the next five years. The plan includes a new vision statement; the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board puts students first by creating a culture of learning. New goals or areas of focus include:
- Student Achievement – Ensure the necessary resources are provided to all students to increase their individual achievement.
- Safe and Supportive Schools – Ensure all students and staff have safe learning and working environments, where the academic and mental health needs of the child are met.
- Innovative Practice – Demonstrate effective “Change Ready” leadership.
- Reconciliation – Ensure all school and staff are actively engaged in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Director of Education Sean Monteith presented the 2019 Employee Recognition Report. Each June, The Board publically acknowledges all employees with 25 years of service and retirees for their achievement and contributions to education in the Northwest. The 2018-2019 school year brought with it the retirement of 17 dedicated employees and another 11 were recognized for reaching the 25-year milestone. Combined, these employees have more than 700 years of service to public education. The Board of Trustees acknowledge this incredible contribution and expressed gratitude for all they have done for children and youth throughout their careers.
The Sioux Lookout Capital Assets Report was presented to the Board. Trustees voted to direct Board Administration to approach the Ministry of Education to utilize $1 million in existing reserve funds to proceed with the demolition of the prohibitive to repair portion of Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout (students and staff moved into their new school, Sioux North High School, in March 2019). The remaining portions of the building would be renovated and retrofitted in conjunction with Seven Generations Education Institute to offer post-secondary programming, including paraprofessional worker programs, Indigenous Nursing programs and Adult Education programs to support adults without a high school diploma.
Under Business Arising from Committee of the Whole, Monteith presented the KPDSB Consolidation Report. Recent government funding rollbacks amounting to approximately 4% of the overall annual Board operating budget have caused the administration and Trustees to look at all areas of spending for potential savings. The Board’s adopted stance to protect teaching positions and instructional services means that all operations needed review including the way the Board does business between the two offices, one in Dryden and the Head Office Kenora Board Office. After careful consideration, a motion was put forward and approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees to consolidate the two Board Offices and relocate both offices to Keewatin Public School in Kenora for September 2022. In total, the cost to operate both offices including lease and overall costs associated is in excess of $200,000 per year. In addition, the merging of the two offices into one location would allow for unprecedented job and portfolio consolidations, and in the process find significant savings at the central level. The end result of consolidating the Board Offices would be a mitigation of reductions in classrooms and school based positions at both elementary and secondary panel.
At present, Keewatin Public School is currently operating at approximately 50% capacity in terms of student occupancy and pupil places. The elimination of the remaining 160 pupil places on the second floor of Keewatin Public School to accommodate the KPDSB Board Office supports the Board’s efforts to apply and secure funding for its only remaining major capital project priority: a replacement school for Valleyview Public School in Kenora.
Monteith stated “Tonight the Board of Trustees have made the decision to act on their commitment to the vision of the KPDSB, to put kids first. By approving a new Strategic Plan for the next five years and to make progressive decisions on capital and consolidation that protect classrooms, the Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board have taken the hard course of action and not shied away from our challenges. In the end our staff, our schools and our students will be the better for it.”
KPDSB announces resignation of Director of Education
Media Release - July 15, 2019
Trustees of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board have accepted the resignation of Sean Monteith, Director of Education, effective August 15, 2019.
Monteith, who has been with the Board for 25 years in a variety of roles, including elementary and secondary teacher, vice-principal and principal, Superintendent of Education and for the past six years, as Director of Education, has accepted the position of Director of Education with the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.
Under Monteith’s leadership, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has gone through significant organizational restructuring resulting in a flattened organization, and a succession strategy that has positioned the work of the Board centrally around students. Over the last six years, the Board has established numerous agreements and partnerships with agencies and First Nations, particularly Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and Lac Seul First Nation, established the provincially recognized Four Directions Graduation Coach Program and Rapid Response Northern Support Team, seconded staff to various First Nation schools, and created the province’s first-ever Hockey Canada Skills Academy programs. Indigenous students are now graduating on par with non-Indigenous students in the KPDSB, and the Boards’ vision of “Kids First” has become the standard for all schools and staff. The KPDSB also recently completed its biggest capital project, the construction of Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout, after six years of work.
Monteith stated, “Many emotions and thoughts are going through my head tonight, with so many years and work behind us; I am grateful to the staff, students, communities and trustees. I am excited to begin a new chapter of hard work and effort in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, but without question, saying goodbye is very bittersweet. I think the best way to sign off is to say to everyone in the KPDSB…thank you.”
Upon accepting Monteith’s resignation, Chair of the Board, Cecile Marcino stated, “It is with regret that we say goodbye to Sean Monteith as our Director of Education. He has worked tirelessly to advocate not only for our students and staff, but education in the Northwest as a whole. Many of the achievements of our Board under his leadership will undoubtedly change lives, and we are proud of the organization we are today. We wish to thank him for his leadership and dedication to our schools; he will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best in future.”
Trustees will begin their work to replace Monteith this fall. Current Superintendent of Education, Caryl Hron, will step into the role of interim Director of Education effective August 15, 2019, and will remain in the position until a new Director of Education is officially appointed. Hron has been with the Board for 30 years and has been Superintendent of Education since 2010.
Trustees approve 2019-2020 budget
Media Release - July 16, 2019
Trustees met via teleconference on Monday, July 15, 2019, for a Special Board Meeting.
Richard Findlay, Superintendent of Business, presented the 2019-2020 Budget Estimates Report. The 2019-2020 Budget Estimates contain an in-year surplus of $196,000 on a Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) basis and is in a deficit of $602,000 on a Ministry of Education compliance basis. The government allows a 1% deficit to offset funding changes and the KPDSB is compliant with Ministry guidelines. Total budget for the KPDSB for the 2019-2020 school year is $94.8 million.
While 2019-2020 proved to be a challenging budget due to changes mandated by the provincial government, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board stayed true to its commitment to protect front-line staff in schools wherever possible.
Total revenues for 2019-2020 are projected to decrease by $1.1 Million (1.2%) compared to the 2018-19 budget. Changes are due to a decrease in grants for student needs ($1.8 Million) to reflect provincial austerity measures.
Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolment for the 2019-2020 school year is projected at 4,706 students. This includes 2,876 elementary students and 1,830 secondary students. Enrolment at KPDSB schools is projected to increase in the elementary panel by 95 students, with a decrease in the secondary panel of 98 students compared to 2018-2019 Budget Estimates. Overall, most of the enrolment decline is at secondary schools in Dryden (down 30 students or 5%) and Ignace (down 11 students or 22%). As a result, there are some teacher staffing reductions in some areas due to declining enrolment.
Most of the budgeted capital activity for 2019-2020 is for two major renovation projects at Ear Falls Public School and Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora. Other major capital projects include child care spaces at Keewatin Public School and Evergreen Public School in Kenora.
Overall, staffing is up 0.8 FTE positions from the 2018-2019 budget. There is an increase of 5.1 FTE front-line staff in the schools and a decrease of 4.3 FTE staff outside the schools.
Findlay stated, “Despite the funding cuts, we made a commitment to protect the jobs of front-line staff in our schools to continue to provide quality programming for kids. We cut department budgets by 25% and streamlined operations through attrition and reductions in staffing positions outside the classroom. We are changing the way we do business. By making cuts in areas that don’t directly impact students, we found savings to protect teaching positions and we will continue to look for more efficient and effective ways to deliver programming to students.”
KPDSB searches for new Director of Education
Job Posting - Director of Education
An exciting and rewarding opportunity for a collaborative, visionary and empowering servant leader who is an evidence-based, accountable and an inclusive decision-maker, to lead the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board in putting students first by creating a culture of learning.
A progressive and proud public school board serving beautiful Northwestern Ontario, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board (KPDSB) is guided by its vision as a board: “The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board puts students first by creating a culture of learning.” With the largest geographical area of all the district school boards in Ontario, KPDSB has schools in Kenora, Sioux Narrows, Vermilion Bay, Ear Falls, Red Lake, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Ignace, Pickle Lake, Savant Lake and Upsala, the Board plays a vital role in serving the educational needs of many neighbouring and Northwestern Indigenous communities.
With a broad geographic base, talented front-line staff and passionate teachers, and a committed senior leadership team, KPDSB is focused on improving the overall well-being of K-12 students, with an emphasis on supporting vulnerable populations and Indigenous communities. With this in mind, the Board is seeking a leader with a proven track record of promoting the success and well-being of Indigenous communities, a committed, inclusive educator who will lead the way to help all students succeed by providing innovative approaches that address inequity in education for their communities.
As the Director of Education, you will meaningfully participate in achieving KPDSB’s four strategic goals, namely:
- Student Achievement: Ensure the necessary resources are provided to all students to increase their individual achievement.
- Safe and Supportive Schools: Ensure all students and staff have safe learning and working environments, where the academic and mental health needs of the child are met.
- Innovative practice: Demonstrate effective “Change Ready” leadership.
- Reconciliation: Ensure all schools and staff are actively engaged in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Given the Board’s significant technological investments to become a leader in Northwestern Ontario in virtual learning, and your experience with cutting-edge instructional practice, you will advocate strongly for innovation in education, including the effective, proactive use of new and emerging technologies. You are committed to the continuous improvement of student learning, and can effectively adapt to the changing landscape of education and implement initiatives that will move the Board toward a successful future.
Passionate about public education, community engagement and student success, you are prepared to establish a proactive communication strategy that will build on positive relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders — staff, students and parents, trustees and unions, and all communities. Your clear commitment to addressing the needs of Indigenous peoples as you enhance student success and well-being will be evident. You will demonstrate political acumen in championing and embedding leading governance practices by working with, and supporting, the Board of Trustees in an open, transparent and trusted relationship.
Setting your own agenda while capitalizing on existing plans, partnerships and strategies, as you transition successfully into this high-impact, highly visible role, you will build trust and credibility with all interested parties and further enhance the KPDSB culture of inclusion. You will also evaluate and optimize the allocation of resources across the Board to maintain fiscal stability in the face of limited government funding realities.
With a track record of success combining Supervising Officer papers with a Master’s degree and system leadership experience working within a school board, with proven acumen in financial accountability in a similarly small to medium system, you are adept at holding yourself and others accountable for actions and deliverables, building a vision and executing a strategic plan for an organization.
You are recognized for your high emotional intelligence, integrity and visibility, and your ability to listen to, engage with, and leverage the diverse perspectives of trustees, educators, support staff, students, parents and community leaders. You are equally known for building staff capacity by providing opportunities and strong mentorship, and for gaining the respect of staff, students, parents/guardians, elders and employee groups through empathetic, consistent leadership.
Informed by research and evidence, you are an assured manager of change, able to strengthen, inspire and motivate the senior management team, and build capacity through focused instructional intervention and family engagement. Having worked successfully in diverse communities and rural settings, with families and community partners to enhance student success and well-being, you are committed to equity and inclusion, and conversant with effective interventions to eliminate barriers to success. Experience in educational leadership in Northwestern communities would be an asset.
To be considered for this career-defining mandate with high visibility, accountability and impact, please send your application, in confidence, specifying the job title in the subject line of your email, by September 19, 2019, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KPDSB is an equal opportunity employer. The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.
Phelpsgroup – Toronto
401 Bay Street, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON M5H 2Y4