We Are KPR
Through the #WeAreKPR campaign, we share positive stories from local KPR public schools. Our staff, as ambassadors of public education, work together to help students excel in learning and experience many kinds of success. Our students make positive contributions every day to their schools and communities, and affect change around the world. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our schools and school board whose impacts cannot be overstated.
Working Together in Kindergarten at Ganaraska Trail Public School
Thanks to some incredible teamwork, positive energy and smiles are contagious in Kindergarten at Ganaraska Trail Public School!
Teacher Amanda Young, Jenna Corrigan, Early Childhood Educator (ECE), Michelle Chatten, Educational Assistant (EA), and Kourtney McBride, Early Childhood Educator (ECE) received a glowing #WeAreKPR nomination from a parent. Jenn Apple Pridham, the mother of a Kindergarten student, describes the kindness and commitment demonstrated by the educator team, as well as the focus they place on developing strong family partnerships and ongoing communication.
“Together these women have created an environment that is warm and inclusive, celebrating the uniqueness of each kiddo. They continually acknowledge the efforts of the parents, expressing their gratitude for the care we provide from home. They are fostering community connectedness,” says Jenn.
Each member of the educator team is passionate about supporting children in their journey of learning and discovery. In particular, they are recognized for the ways in which they respond to unique student needs related to the pandemic, such as mental health, and family dynamics, among other factors.
“I’m so thankful I can spend each day with a group of mathematicians, engineers, artists, scientists and authors, nurturing their spark for learning. Their energy is contagious. We celebrate our successes together, we learn from our mistakes together and we support each other throughout our journey,” shares Amanda Young, classroom teacher.
“As a first time Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) educator, it’s amazing to see their growth. In the beginning of the year, we were sorting numbers and letters. Now we are confident readers! It fills my heart,” she adds.
Working in collaboration with Amanda, Michelle Chatten comments on her experience as an Educational Assistant with KPR for 14 years. “It’s been amazing to build relationships with students and their families. I enjoy the flexibility to run different activities with the students I support. This year I’ve done many; however, the ‘Kindness Ninja’ has been a great success. Each week the student I support makes a special treat and delivers it to every staff member in the school, it puts a smile on everyone's faces and fills our hearts.”
Early Childhood Educator, Kourtney McBride (currently on maternity leave) describes the goal of the FDK team as creating “a classroom that feels like a second home for children to grow and flourish in.”
“Getting to work in an environment that is filled with so much love, laughter, and growth makes going into work everyday so easy. As an educator, it is our job to help shape little minds. It turns out that those little minds are also teachers themselves who continue to help us as educators grow every single day,” she adds.
Stepping in while Kourtney is away, Jenna Corrigan also highlights the collaborative spirit and positivity in the classroom. “I felt so welcomed by all the staff and students. We have a wonderful class and work amazing together as a team. It has been incredible seeing the growth in the students from when I started in January, until now. We have provided students with opportunities to grow and thrive in a fun, safe, and inclusive environment. It’s been a pleasure watching our class play and learn together!”
The message “It Takes a Village” is as relevant as ever for our school communities at KPR!
Celebrating Outstanding Volunteers at KPR
The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is thankful for the generous support and ongoing dedication of our many volunteers. In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we have chosen to highlight a few of KPR’s outstanding volunteers who go above and beyond in their contributions to our schools and their commitment to student success! The following six volunteers were presented with Accolade awards at KPR’s Board meeting this week, on April 26, 2022.
Sheila Irwin has been a longstanding and integral part of the C.R. Gummow Public School community. As a driven, determined, and reliable literacy volunteer, Sheila helps students with language learning and supports them in developing important reading and writing skills.
Brooke Pitts is described as a remarkable and kind, “parent volunteer extraordinaire” for her tireless dedication to organizing hot lunch programs three days a week for more than 800 students at Dr. G.J. MacGillivray Public School. She also prepares food for the school’s snack program, supports classroom trips, and sits as a member of the school’s parent council.
Jane Rennie has devoted an incredible amount of time supporting student success in reading, and overall school improvement at Adam Scott Intermediate School. Through activities such as sharing hand-written cards of encouragement for students and for neighbours at the Fairhaven Retirement Home, providing books and bookmarks to encourage literacy, chaperoning field trips, and quietly making thoughtful donations to families, Jane demonstrates her care and generosity for the school community.
Colleen Smiles has taken on the role of School Council Chair for the past few years at Dr. Emily Stowe Public School in Courtice, consistently aligning her work with school improvement plans and establishing goals for council that will support teachers. Colleen does a phenomenal job of assisting with hot lunches, regularly volunteering in classrooms, supporting teachers and organizing fundraisers and events that the entire community enjoys!
Karen West is an outstanding volunteer, recognized as a go-to resource for teachers, administration, and families at Northumberland Hills Public School. Karen sits on the school council, leads important fundraising initiatives, and works with staff to organize important annual events, such as Grade 8 graduation and the school’s Fun Fair.
Melissa Whalen has been an active volunteer at Havelock-Belmont Public School for over eight years. In her current role as co-chair of parent council, Melissa is a strong advocate for all students, organizing monthly meals for the entire school, supporting the Blessings in a Backpack program, and providing access to resources and supports for a healthier community.
These exceptional individuals represent only a small sample of the amazing volunteers supporting our schools. We take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to everyone across the board who shares their time, talents, and expertise to support students and the KPR community. Thank you for your #WeAreKPR spirit!
Power Team – Working Together at Apsley Central Public School to Support Student Success
At KPR, we are very fortunate to have a community of staff who go above and beyond in many different ways to support student wellbeing and success. Child and Youth Worker (CYW), Emily Hildenbrand, and Educational Assistant (EA), Jeffrey Fay, are an exemplary team that works in partnership to make a positive impact for students at Apsley Central Public School.
Principal Lynn Kostuch describes Emily and Jeff as a “powerful team” that “work together seamlessly.” She explains that Emily and Jeff bring diverse educational training and experience to their work, that is complementary to one another and their positions at the school. Lynn especially appreciates the way Jeff and Emily have supported the school community on challenging days by maintaining a student-centered approach, problem solving, and developing proactive strategies to help address students’ unique learning and behavioural needs.
“There have been some tough days at school this year, balancing supervision and daily needs. Emily and Jeff make sure that they know all students so they can seamlessly spell each other off without creating an issue for students. They lift each other up by working together and encouraging one another to ask for help when they need it,” says Lynn.
On every occasion, Jeff and Emily go out of their way to actively engage with the principal, teachers, support staff, librarians, bus drivers, and family members at Apsley Central PS to collaboratively address situations and help set students up for a more successful day at school. Their commitment to students and passion for working in education is evident in their daily actions and their continuous effort to get to know each and every student.
“Behind the masks you can see the gleam, the smile, the concern and the caring. They do not judge, they work from what they see and what they hear to move students along a continuum of success.”
Celebrating Calvin’s Exciting News and Accomplishments in STEM!
Every day, KPR students demonstrate their passion for learning by challenging themselves in the classroom, building new skills, and taking their projects to the next level!
Calvin Karthik, a Grade 10 student from Kenner Collegiate was recently selected as one of ten high school students that will represent Canada at this year’s 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.
Calvin was one of many students from across the country who competed for a spot on Team Canada and was interviewed by a panel of researchers and educators about his science project. The chosen finalists will compete at an international level at the world’s most prestigious youth Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) project competition this May!
In addition to this incredible accomplishment, Calvin is the recipient of many awards including an award for his science fair project called “A Mighty Mushroom and the Power of Poop: Testing Biogas Production using Spent Mushroom Substrate Phase 2.” Calvin was also presented with four awards from the Canada-Wide Science Fair including a gold medal, the Renewable Energy Award, the Energy Challenge Award and the Best Project Award (Discovery). In addition, he won the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, an international science fair held in September in Salamanca, Spain.
Calvin’s success researching biogas as a renewable energy to positively affect climate change is inspiring him to continue this important work in the future. The KPR community wishes Calvin all the best in his future scientific endeavors and in the upcoming competition this May – good luck Calvin!
Student Trustees at KPR Share their Passion for Elevating the Student Voice
Representing the voice of over 34,000 students, KPR’s Student Trustees have a critical role in bringing student experiences and perspectives to Board discussions and decision making.
Our current Student Trustees for the 2021-2022 school year, Maryam Abdella and Ella Voliotis, have made many significant contributions that have positively impacted our schools, classrooms and community. One of their accomplishments is working with Indigenous Consultant, Dean Smith to amplify Indigenous student voices, implement the Indigenous Sharing Circle practice and create more inclusive spaces for student participation.
“We are very excited about this work since we feel it is so important to build knowledge of Indigenous teachings within the student body and provide a more inclusive space for all students to speak. There are so many benefits to this method of student consultation that we feel will allow everyone an equal opportunity to be heard,” they shared.
As Student Trustees, Maryam and Ella attend all regular public board meetings, report to the board on behalf of the board-wide Student Senate, participate in board discussions, bring reports back to the Student Senate, and receive input from the group. They both agreed that they love the opportunity to listen to the ideas and concerns of their peers across the board and act as a “vessel” for the student voice by advocating on their behalf.
“Working with other students and hearing out their concerns is very important to me, since as a student myself, I know the importance of our voices being heard at the board level,” says Maryam.
Throughout their journey as Student Trustees, Ella and Maryam have learned many valuable skills that have been instrumental in helping them learn, grow, and overcome challenges.
“There have been countless experiences that have helped me progress in the position of Student Trustee. One of which was learning from my outgoing Trustees (Justine Mackey and Roan Haggardy-Goade),” shares Ella.
Maryam is hoping to attend university for Mechatronics Engineering where she is excited to take the next step in her educational journey. Ella will be entering Grade 12 next September and plans to attend university upon graduation, where she will continue pursuing her passion for education and supporting student involvement.
As Maryam and Ella reflect on their role and prepare for the future, they share advice and words of encouragement with fellow KPR students:
“My advice to students at KPR is to not avoid or stray from situations you fear, as you accomplish your best in moments that you are intimidated by. Oftentimes students and in general people will avoid challenges that may result in failure. By removing yourself from possible failure, you are also taking away any opportunity for success. Don’t avoid failure, don’t accept it, challenge it. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish.” - Ella Voliotis
“There are so many different ways to approach leadership which I have seen emulated by students over the years. There are so many students who have a lot to say and fantastic ideas when given the opportunity to speak. My advice to students would be to be active and have confidence in your own wonderful gifts. You are capable of bringing about positive change in the world. You have strengths unique to you that can be of such great benefit to yourself and those around you. Doing what energizes you and brings you joy will always bring more light into the world.” - Maryam Abdella
Courtice North PS Community Supports Ukrainian Families
The KPR community is deeply saddened by the global conflict in Eastern Europe and we continue to hold in our thoughts all people impacted by this crisis. In response to this devasting situation, the students, staff, and community of Courtice North Public School came together in an incredible way to show their support and compassion for the people of Ukraine – demonstrating true #WeAreKPR spirit!
A request for donations was first initiated by Lasha Laskowsky-Reed, parent and school council member who is also a first-generation Canadian of Ukrainian parents and an active member of the local Ukrainian community. Upon learning of this local initiative, School Council Chairperson Lea Cooke and Principal Peter Bischoff reached out to see how the Courtice North PS community could help. Lasha described the amazing collaboration among students and staff who came together on short notice as an “outpouring of love.”
“The entire CNPS community, from the teachers to the custodial staff, really pulled together in less than two days to gather a U-Haul load of much needed aid for the Ukrainian people,” she says.
Principal Peter Bischoff highlighted the importance of inspiring students to be community-minded and support those in need, while also ensuring the school provides opportunities that are relevant and appropriate for students across all grade levels.
“My heart was truly warmed when staff shared that they had gone out directly after school to shop for toiletries, diapers, clothing, sleeping bags and so much more, bringing in trunk-loads of donations the next morning. Even the residents at Bowmanville Creek Retirement Community generously provided warm knitted clothing and quilts," he shared.
“The response was truly overwhelming. Over just one evening, families filled our foyer,” he adds.
Trustee Cathy Abraham, Superintendent Jamila Maliha, and volunteer Sarah-Jane Lawlor joined students and staff as they packed up the collection of items for transport. The generous donations and contributions from Courtice North PS have been sent to Lviv, Ukraine, where they will go to children and families in need.
Queen Mary Students Welcome Newcomers to Canada
Students at Queen Mary Public School have been living our KPR values and demonstrating their commitment to inclusivity by taking an active role in welcoming newcomers to the community.
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is a proud partner of the New Canadians Centre (NCC), which supports immigrants, refugees and other newcomers to our area. This past September, the NCC was pleased to support the welcome and orientation of approximately 78 Afghan refugees in the City of Peterborough.
As part of this important work, students in Grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Queen Mary Public School created vibrant and thoughtful note cards, drawings, and messages for each of the new arrivals. According to the school principal, Sonal Gohil, approximately 100 students came together on short notice to take part in the initiative.
Wesley Carr, one of the Grade 7 participating students explains why it is important to show support. “Queen Mary Intermediate students made welcome cards for newcomers because newcomers bring creativeness, knowledge, and a new perspective. They are welcome in Peterborough and our school.”
The kindness and compassion demonstrated by Queen Mary students was greatly appreciated by recipients of the greeting cards and messages. Bushra Hammadi, a Grade 8 student, shares their experience, noting the important impact that these gestures have for newcomers as they transition to life in Canada.
“When I was first welcomed to Canada it was so amazing. We met a lot of new, nice people. We received so much love from a lot of different people, like cards, flowers, and people welcoming us in our new first home in Canada.”
“We got different types of foods from each neighbour; in the first three weeks our house was full of people welcoming us. It was the most amazing thing. That made me love Canada more and more because of the nice, kind people and the amazing country,” they add.
As a school community, Queen Mary students and staff believe in sharing positivity and spreading kindness each and every day! By supporting the NCC, students learned the importance of fostering caring and inclusive communities.
Mrs. Sandoval - The Importance of Making Mistakes in Math
KPR educators are focusing on the importance of perseverance and making mistakes to help students succeed in math. Social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, such as having a growth mindset and demonstrating perseverance, not only contribute to students’ overall health and well-being, but these skills are also essential to academic success. SEL skills help maintain positive mental health, and support students’ ability to learn, build resilience and thrive in all areas of life.
Clarington Intermediate School teacher Yassmin Sandoval is seeing promising results by focusing on these skills with students.
“Math is one of those subjects that tends to prompt a lot of anxiety and stress for students,” says Mrs. Sandoval. “SEL empowers students with the power of ‘yet’ – you’re not there yet… mistakes are part of the learning process, they provide immediate feedback for learning. We need to get comfortable with making mistakes.”
SEL skills help students with important math processes such as problem solving, reasoning, making connections, reflecting, communicating, and selecting the right tools and strategies.
The students in Mrs. Sandoval’s class are taking this learning to heart.
“The thing that really helped me was talking about growth mindset and if I am struggling Mrs. Sandoval would tell us not to say I can’t do it. She would say ‘I can’t do it yet’,” says Summer Golfetto, Grade 7.
“At the start of the year Mrs. Sandoval told us to have a growth mindset, those words helped me get through many tough math problems. If I was stuck on a question, I would remember to have a growth mindset and work through it,” says Noah Ennis, Grade 7.
One of Mrs. Sandoval’s favourite lines in math class is, “Have we made any mistakes today?” Followed by, “If we haven’t, we need to get going… so we can keep our brains growing!”
Mrs. Sandoval says math students are like athletes, they don’t become amazing their first try. They have to keep practicing. These consistent efforts to focus on social-emotional learning are making a real impact with her students’ attitudes towards math.
“We need to challenge ourselves. We don’t quit, we keep going!”
Cindy Clitherow, SERT – Hero Without a Cape!
At KPR, we are very fortunate to have a community of staff who not only are amazing at their jobs, working with and supporting students and schools in many different ways, but they are also just really great people who deserve appreciation and recognition. The #WeAreKPR campaign shines a light on the people who make our schools and school board so awesome, people like Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) Cindy Clitherow.
Principal Lyn Westlake describes Cindy as a true gift to Colborne Public School and to KPR. “Cindy has incredibly strong relationships with students. She can be seen shooting hoops with them on the yard, highfiving them in the hall, and co-regulating with (supporting) them during a difficult moment. She lights up their faces when she walks in their classrooms and has a way of making everyone’s day just a little better,” says Lyn.
Cindy leads numerous student leadership activities including the school’s Terry Fox Run, Recess Peer Helpers, Student Council, and many more. She frequently gives up her lunch and opens up the gym at recess for students to play volleyball.
“She doesn’t think twice about covering someone else’s duty to help them out. After a long week, she might be found delivering food from a food drive to the food bank or rolling coins after a charitable fundraiser. Simply put, she has a generous spirit and is always thinking of others,” says Lyn.
“My job brings me joy every day,” says Cindy. “We are a community at Colborne PS. Together we are committed to every student. In my role as SERT, my biggest accomplishment is continuously improving the outcomes for my students by supporting not only them, but the teachers, the support staff, and the families.”
Cindy’s belief that every student can learn, no matter their personal circumstances, is evident in her daily efforts to provide a safe and positive environment for students, and through her work to develop relationships with families and community partners.
“I am motivated by my students every day,” says Cindy. “I aim to support all their needs – everything from providing band-aids to teaching them to read.”
“For many of us, we become educators to make an impact. And although we may not see that impact while the students are with us, it is the chance interactions in later years that make it so special for me. I ran into a former student just last week and she told me that her niece would be starting Kindergarten in the fall. Her comment was ‘we all want her to go to Colborne Public School’. That is a true testament to the community that we have created here – the next generation is headed our way!”
“Cindy believes the best in people and is a staunch advocate for students experiencing barriers,” says Lyn. “Whether it’s leading a case conference for a student with complex special education needs, or greeting new families to the area, she quickly sets everyone at ease with her friendly smile, warm personality, and contagious laugh.”
“She is a hero without a cape and has deeply impacted the lives of many.”