PWPSD Good News Report - November 2021


Indigenous Education Services assists County and City Councils with their journeys to reconciliation

On Tuesday, November 2, the PWPSD Indigenous Education Services Team led both the County and City Councils through a joint Blanket Exercise. The event was supported by Loretta Parenteau-English, Blackfoot Elder, and Elder in Residence at Grande Prairie Regional College and with the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre.

The Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that guides participants through the history of Canada through the perspective of Indigenous peoples. The process is often emotional and powerful, and was an important step forward in the organizations’ journey to reconciliation.

The Indigenous Education Services Team was honoured to lead this event. They are available to facilitate Blanket Exercises to PWPSD students, staff and families; please check with your school’s Indigenous Liaison for scheduling information.


PWPSD students benefit from Province’s Learning Loss Project

This past September, PWPSD students in grades 2 and 3 were individually assessed on their literacy and numeracy skills; the results identified those who would benefit from extra support. The assessments were part of a new initiative, funded by the Alberta Government’s Learning Loss Project, a $45 million project that aims to address learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

67 teachers and educational assistants throughout the Division were trained in the implementation of the Reading Intervention program, supplied by Alberta Education, to address the learning loss within our schools since the pandemic began. Since their training in October, staff have started small group instruction in all PWPSD schools.


United Way provides free menstrual products for two PWPSD schools

United Way

Tracy Zuk, Resource Development Manager with United Way Alberta Northwest delivers the first two dispensers and supply of menstrual products to PWPSD Superintendent Bob Stewart.

The United Way’s Period Promise campaign, which strives to provide menstrual products and the dispensers to house them to all Alberta schools, has made its first delivery to PWPSD. Students attending Peace Wapiti Academy and Clairmont Community School will now have access to free menstrual products.

The United Way Alberta Northwest’s website says that nearly 1 in 7 Canadian students have left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to period products, and that 68% of students say they feel their period prevents them from full participation in activities.

Tracy and the rest of the local United Way team have now delivered dispensers and large supplies of products to six local schools, two from each school division.


School News

Alternative Education

Students focus on Indigenous soldiers for Remembrance Day

RDGrade 9 students Arista and Vijay hosted a virtual Remembrance Day ceremony as students presented on different Indigenous soldiers.

PAVE students participated in the Remembrance Dog Tags activity to learn about Indigenous soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. Students were each assigned a dog tag of a fallen soldier and then used the Virtual War Museum website to learn more about them. Each student created a slideshow and presented what they had learned to the rest of the class.

Students were also welcomed to share their own connections with family members who have, or continue to serve in the armed forces.


Students provide input for Canadian author Marty Chan

Marty Chan

Students took part in a virtual visit with award-winning children’s book author, Marty Chan. Half of the visit took place via YouTube Live, while the other half took place using Google Meet. At the end of the visit, students provided feedback for which platform they preferred, and were entered into draws to win three of Mr. Chan’s books!


Beaverlodge Elementary School

Students honour Remembrance Day with art


Left to right: Edyson Bartsch, Reeve Riendeau, and Aleks Gerow show off their artwork; created in honour of Remembrance Day.

Junior Kindergarten students learn the importance of eye screening

Eye screeningStudents in the Junior Kindergarten (JK) program enjoy a visit from Dr. Kennedy.

Dr. Kennedy of Acuity Eye Care in Beaverlodge, stopped in at Beaverlodge Elementary School to teach the JK students about the importance of eye screening through activities and stories. The students really enjoyed her visit!


Beaverlodge Regional High School

November a busy month for Options students


From foods to fashion, the BRHS Options students have been busy creating masterpieces! Kate H. shows off her bucket hat made from old jeans!


Bonanza School

Students pay tribute with Remembrance Day ceremony



Students honoured Remembrance Day with poems and musical performances at the Bonanza School ceremony held on Wednesday, November 10.


Clairmont Community School

LAMP Words for Life helping students communicate

LAMPStudents gather to check out the new Playground Core Word Communication Board.

Students at Clairmont Community School now have another way to communicate. The newly installed Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Core Word Communication Board helps support children’s communication and vocabulary development. Many children throughout the Division use the LAMP program on iPads to help them communicate with staff and other students. The playground board gives children the opportunity to communicate and play without their devices.


Elmworth School

Students jig their way through school



On November 10, Jackie Benning, Indigenous Services Educator, shared her knowledge of Indigenous jigging with the students at Elmworth School.

ArtStudents in grades 1-3 enjoyed making Indigenous artwork with help from Jackie Benning.


Harry Balfour School

Harry Balfour remembers

RDThroughout November, poppies filled the halls of Harry Balfour School.


Jr. high lounge gets a makeover


Mr. Twelvetree and the grade 7 and 8 art students recently renovated the junior high lounge with a Mario Brothers theme!


HBS celebrates World Kindness Day with thank you cards

Kindess Day

Junior kindergarten students celebrated World Kindness Day by creating thank you cards for their school community. Students delivered hand-crafted cards to administrative staff, the school’s librarian, and custodial staff. Once all the cards were delivered, affirmations of kindness were dropped in fellow students’ shoes!


Helen E. Taylor School

Students take on CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge


Mrs. Johnson’s grade 4-6 music students took on CBC’s 2021 Canadian Music Class Challenge with Fred Penner’s ‘Sandwiches’. The annual challenge is a contest designed to engage music students across the country with Canadian music. Participants have a list of Canadian songs to choose from, and must recreate the song in their own way. You can watch the students’ music video on YouTube.


Hythe Regional School

Fun in the sun!


Jewel Savard, Elsie Horseman, and Spirit Pedersen soak up the sun as they play in the fresh powder at Hythe Regional School.


Leadership Club spreads kindness throughout community

Leadership Club

The HRS Leadership Club has been busy spreading kindness throughout the community and beyond. The students have distributed treats to the school’s staff members, created kindness sticky notes to share with other students and have delivered treats with notes of inspiration to the residents of Hythe Pioneer Home.

The Leadership Club’s latest mission was to collect items for the Operation Christmas Child program. The students were successful in collecting enough items to fill seven shoeboxes of supplies to send to children in need. They would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support!


Peace Wapiti Academy

Community fair takes over the library

Community fair

Local organizations gather in the PWA library to educate students on the different supports they offer.

PWA recently hosted a community fair where local programs and organizations came together to share information about the supports they offer to adults and youth in our region. Some of the organizations in attendance included, PACE, the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, Young Life, and the YMCA. The event was a big hit with students and staff!


Congratulations Keyton Murray!


Keyton Murray successfully completed his first year of 4th Class Power Engineering through the PWA Connect Dual Credit Program with Northern Lakes College!


Animal-assisted wellness program kicks off


PWA and PWEC students have begun the five-day animal-assisted wellness program with an arena day. They spent the day learning about animal safety and some basic horse husbandry and handling, getting acquainted with the horses, and started to explore why horses are one of the better animals to use in assisting humans to deal with, and possibly overcome, mental, emotional, and physical limitations.

The students will spend two days this winter learning in greater depth about ‘why the horse’, horse husbandry practices, and how using the skills learned can become a business. They will spend two more days with the horses in the spring.

Although the program is open to all students, only eight are usually chosen to participate. Participants are chosen based on their interest, willingness to look at, and work on, themselves from a different perspective, and desire to possibly build a business in the future.

Students come away from the program having learned better communication skills, being able to better read body language, and understand how their own energy can affect and change a situation. Better patience, more confidence and understanding how a horse is able to change a person on a physical level, from the heart, are other benefits students gain from the program.


Titans celebrate Mr. Shinski

Mr. Shinski

Mr. Dennis Shinski, Youth Advocate at PWA, recently earned his Bachelor of Social Work.

Students and staff at PWA are very proud of, and excited for Mr. Shinski! After a long five-year educational journey, he has earned his Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary. Congratulations!


Ridgevalley School

Grade 6 students visit cemetery to honour veterans

In honour of Remembrance Day, students from Ridgevalley School visited the DeBolt and District Pioneer Museum to see historical displays of local residents who volunteered their services in the World Wars. They then spent some time at the museum’s park before making their way to the DeBolt and District Cemetery where they cleaned the headstones of, and placed poppies for, the veterans who are laid to rest there.


Fire prevention safety week a success

Fire Safety

(Left to right): Winners Sophia VanHago, Jersie Gerwatoski, and Maddy Meek

As part of Fire Prevention Safety Week, students participated in a colouring contest through the DeBolt Fire Station. The top three submissions won prize packs and got the opportunity to tour the DeBolt fire station!


Trapped in the library

Escape Room

Grade 7 student, Rowan Peterson, challenges himself to the library’s escape room.


Democracy in Action project gives back

Sock Drive

Grade 6 students Jaxyn and Khloe gathered socks, scarves, mittens and other warm items to donate to those experiencing homelessness. The donated items have made their way to the shelter in Grande Prairie.


Robert W. Zahara School

Friendly competition turns into successful food bank donation



Students at RWZ participated in a friendly competition to see which class could bring in the most food donations for the local food bank. Mrs. Mohler-Jervis’ 2A class won the challenge with 270 items! The school as a whole was able to donate 1854 items, which will be used for the food bank’s annual Christmas Hamper program. The students and staff are very proud and excited to be part of such an important initiative!


Mrs. Ochoga’s grade 6C class attends AUMA conference virtually


Grade 6 students learn about local government from Sexsmith Mayor, Kate Potter, and Council.

Mrs. Ochoga’s 6C class learned about local government and how it works from their own Mayor and Council. Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter visited the class to speak about her experience and to answer students’ questions. Then, while away at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Convention in Edmonton, she and the rest of Council met the class virtually to talk about the convention, take students for a tour and answer even more questions. Thank you Mayor Potter and Council for bringing this authentic learning opportunity to the students!


Sexsmith Secondary School

SSS volleyball teams represent at zones


Congratulations to the Jr. A Girls and Boys teams for bringing home the gold and silver medals respectively!


Crimes against humanity


Some of the crimes against humanity represented included the Ukrainian Genocide, blood diamonds, human trafficking, and forced sterilization.

SS 20-2 teachers Christine Hartman and Sherry Viken challenged their classes by creating an experience for students to see the massive effect and varieties of crimes against humanity, and how ultranationalism plays a role in causing these types of events.

Students were tasked with creating a short summary of the event they were focusing on, and how it violated the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court; paying special attention to Article 7, which revolves around crimes against humanity.

“We were hoping that students would comprehend the horror of these crimes by researching and then creating an artifact, as well as seeing other students’ artifacts,” says Sherry Viken.

The project was a big success, and the teachers look forward to doing it again next year.


Wembley Elementary School

WES learns about Métis culture

Métis culture

Jackie Benning visits with a group of students to support them in learning about Métis culture.

Students at Wembley Elementary School have spent the month of November learning about Métis culture and history. Through activities, stories, music, and artifacts, they have gained an appreciation for the Métis culture and always look forward to Ms. Benning’s visits.


Whispering Ridge Community School

Remembrance Day at WRCS


Artwork, made of old newspaper clippings is proudly displayed in honour of Remembrance Day.


Grade 3s learn about Métis culture

Métis culture

Mrs. Baxter’s grade 3 class enjoyed a visit with Andrea Rosenberger-Deleeuw, PWPSD Indigenous Service Provider, during Métis Week. She presented on Métis culture and history and brought special items to share with the students.


Kindne$$ Counts


Congratulations to October’s Kindne$$ Counts Winner, Alexzys Zhang! As the winner, Alexzys received $50 from Mrs. Schmidt for her many examples of kindness in the school community.


Upcoming events

  • Administrator Meeting: Tuesday, December 7
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, December 9, 10:30 a.m. in Spirit River
  • First Day of Winter: Tuesday, December 21
  • Christmas Break, no school: Friday, December 24 – Sunday, January 9, 2022
  • Day in lieu of Christmas, all PWPSD offices and shops closed: Friday, December 24
  • Day in lieu of Boxing Day, all PWPSD offices and shops closed: Monday, December 27
  • Classes Resume: Monday, January 10, 2022

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