Friday, Oct. 7, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The monthly Letter to Families, distributed on the first Friday of the month, is intended to keep you apprised of news that affects all students and families of Near North District School Board (NNDSB).
The board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) is built around the focus on student achievement and well-being. To evaluate progress, staff are working in six-week cycles of planning, acting, observing and reflecting. This process will ensure that student achievement and well-being remain the focus of work at NNDSB.
There is much to share from various program areas at NNDSB.
In Indigenous Education, all NNDSB students will take Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices as the required Grade 11 English credit. The course is designed to expand students’ understandings of Indigenous Peoples, cultures and contemporary realities. Learning about the
history, perspectives and cultures of Indigenous Peoples will help students better understand Canada’s past, present and potential for the future.
Native language: West Ferris has expanded its Anishnaabemowin language programming, and it is now being offered to Grade 7 and 8 students. Currently, at West Ferris, Chippewa, Northern, Whitewoods, Woodlands, Britt, Nobel, MacTier, and both Parry Sound Public and Parry Sound High School, this class is offered as an option for all students in these schools instead of core French. Also, as of this school year, virtual opportunities to learn Anishinaabemowin for secondary schools are now available.
Truth and Reconciliation: Within the existing Indigenous Education site, there is a dedicated webpage resource for all staff, students and parents to learn and understand our roles and responsibilities in response to Indigenous history and truth and reconciliation. This offers support to specific to the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This website has additional links and resources that will continue to be updated to further support culturally responsive and relevant practice throughout the school year. Our commitment to reconciliation is every day.
Indigenous Youth Circle and Indigenous Trustee: The end of the 2021-22 school year saw the Indigenous Youth Circle (IYC) meet for the very first time face-to-face in June at Parry Sound High School. This year, plans are already in place for the first in-person meeting on Oct. 13 at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School. Each secondary school will take the opportunity to host their Indigenous leader peers. The first meeting will also determine the goals for the year. Allen Trodd was selected by his IYC peers for a second term as Indigenous Student Trustee. His appointment was made official at the Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 13.
Indigenous hub/safe spaces: This September, after setbacks from renovations, both Chippewa and West Ferris Secondary Schools unveiled their new Indigenous spaces, located in their respective learning commons/libraries. These dedicated and staffed spaces serve to provide a culturally safe learning environment for Indigenous students.
ASSP- Indigenous Adult Alternative Program: NNDSB Is excited to have partnered with the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre to create a dedicated learning space and program to support Indigenous adult learners in earning their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The program called Niizwaas Asniik Skoonweh Kahn, (Seven Stones Learning Centre) will take a cultural and decolonized approach to earn credits, as well as offer wrap-around services from the Friendship Centre.
In French as a Second Language (FSL) news, this past year the FSL team reviewed and revised all administrative guidelines concerning FSL programs offered at NNDSB, (i.e., extended, immersion and core French). We’ve aligned core French programming with Ministry of Education funding and curriculum, and NNDSB’s MYSP, slowly phasing out core French from K-3 over the next three years.
The program team has worked with nine elementary core French teachers to support deepening their understanding of high-impact instructional approaches in FSL using the action-oriented approach. This year, we will work with an additional nine schools to continue to build capacity and align school goals with NNDSB’s three-year plan. The goal in extended and immersion was to streamline English minutes and make explicit our adherence to the common European framework of reference for language (CEFR) action-oriented approach to instruction and learning.
Diplome en langue francaise (DELF): This year our board offered our Grade 12 students the opportunity to challenge the international DELF exam. We had a total of 37 students from Chippewa, West Ferris and Almaguin Highlands Secondary Schools and Parry Sound High School challenge various DELF levels.
Odyssey French Language Monitors: For more than 15 years, NNDSB has partnered with Odyssey official language programs. The program provides an opportunity for French language speakers from Quebec, New Brunswick or other French first language countries from around the world to work in one or more of our French Immersion schools to support language development and share cultural experiences and activities with our students. This year we have two French language monitors; one at Sunset and one at Alliance.
Pathways and Transitions – Personal Support Worker (PSW) Program: NNDSB’s PSW program is designed to provide support in our region to the healthcare sector as it experiences acute staffing crises concerning certified PSW workers. The program also provides an attractive learning pathway opportunity for some re-engaged learners in our region. We are pleased to announce that we have moved forward with our living classroom at Cassellholme (North Bay), Algonquin Nursing Home (Mattawa) and Belvedere LTC (Parry Sound) as part of the September intake. We are also very proud to announce that the 24 students who graduated as the first cohort have all gained employment. This exciting news may provide some much-needed support to our PSW shortage in the region that NNDSB serves. For more information visit the PSW page of the website.
Free Online Math Tutoring for Students in Grades 4-12: NNDSB students may access online math tutors Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, and Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
To complement students’ classroom learning experiences, TVO Mathify offers free 1:1 online Grade 4-12 math tutoring to students enrolled in Ontario’s publicly funded English-language schools. The interactive whiteboard, voice and text chat make it easy to upload a math question and figure it out with the support of a math tutor, at a time that works for you.
Families are encouraged to check out TVO Mathify’s parent page to learn more.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM): With the growing automation of jobs, extraordinary technological advancements and the realities of a global economy, all students need to be equipped with STEM-related concepts and skills to help them prepare, navigate and shape their futures successfully.
The Ministry of Education has updated the science and technology curriculum for Grades 1 through 9. The revised science and technology curriculum is part of Ontario’s plan to modernize the education curriculum to ensure all students have the foundational and transferable skills they need in a rapidly changing world, with an ongoing focus on STEM. The revised elementary science and technology curriculum includes new mandatory learning on STEM skills and connections, engineering design, hands-on experiential learning, coding, Indigenous knowledge and perspectives, food literacy and climate change.
NNDSB continues to work in partnership with educators to grow and develop an understanding of STEM skills including coding and computational thinking and engage learners in opportunities to make connections to the world around them.
Families may use the links below to learn more:
NNDSB is working alongside the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to bring increased awareness to students regarding the dangers of vaping. Alongside Niki Hutchinson, a community health promoter and Bill Clark, a tobacco enforcement officer, secondary students are hearing about the harms associated with vaping, which include increased anxiety and depression. Vaping has also been found to have a negative impact on brain development in adolescents. The health unit has many resources to help reduce the use of vapes or quit. These resources can be accessed at school or at home via their website. NNDSB’s safe school team will be supporting this campaign by providing educational and curriculum-linked lessons, staff and family resources, and access to addictions counselling for any student interested.
NNDSB is pleased to welcome our newest learners to school! Our Junior Kindergarten students began their educational journey this September and we couldn’t be happier to meet them and their families.
We know that students do best when there is a strong relationship between parents and the school, so NNDSB has created the Journey into Learning Guide and Kit. These resources, provided to all JKs across our district, support at-home learning through curriculum-based activities that mirror the types of lessons taught in class. In this way, parents become more fully aware of the types of topics being explored in the classroom and can support skill acquisition.
Check out an electronic version of the Journey into Learning Guide.
Looking for a unique cultural experience for your family? Host an international high school student this school year!
Student exchange organization, YES Canada, is urgently seeking host families to host students from countries such as Australia, France, and Italy who are taking part in a study abroad program in partnership with NNDSB.
During their stay, students live with a local family and experience daily life in Canada while developing their English language skills through this immersion experience. As a host family, you provide a home away from home for these students providing a warm and comfortable environment, three meals per day and the opportunity for the student to become a part of your family.
As a host family, you are provided with a monthly stipend to offset the cost of hosting. Local support for host families and students is provided by a YES Canada local coordinator in the North Bay region.
If you are interested in hosting an international high school student or would like to learn more about YES Canada’s homestay program and the benefits of becoming a host, please contact the North Bay and surrounding region local coordinator, Laxmi Konwar, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-493-6926. You can download the host family application form online by visiting: https://youthedservices.ca/host-a-student/.
Regarding COVID-19 management, board facilities remain working under provincial direction without any additional measures put in place by the local health unit. It is recommended that all staff and students self-screen daily before they attend school and stay home if they are feeling unwell.
Near North District School Board