OPSBA Reps Tour NNDSB Facilities, Observe Programs

Almaguin Highlands Secondary School student Grayson Moore (centre) was on hand when OPSBA President Cathy Abraham, left, and Executive Director Stephanie Donaldson learned about a partnership between Almaguin Highlands Secondary School and Hubbert’s Maple.

Cathy Abraham, president, and Stephanie Donaldson, executive director of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), spent a day and a half touring Near North District School Board (NNDSB) facilities, and learning about unique initiatives in the district.

OPSBA advocates for public education in Ontario and represents member public school boards of all sizes and from all regions of Ontario. NNDSB is a member of the organization.

NNDSB is proud to be able to highlight the partnerships and programs that are being built in all areas of the board. Trustee Bill Steer, who led the tour, said “It was gratifying to lead our OPSBA guests on a tour of Near North District School Board and show off the exceptional work of our staff and the relationships that have been cultivated in support of student achievement and well-being. The OPSBA guests were able to see first-hand how our commitment to relationships – as a pillar of the multi-year strategic plan – enhances the education of NNDSB students.”

Director of Education Craig Myles was actively involved in the Board tour and was very proud to celebrate the fantastic programming that occurs on a daily basis across NNDSB. He praised the staff, students, volunteers and the communities for their active participation in support of student achievement and well-being.

The tour kicked off last Wednesday with a visit to Belvedere Heights in Parry Sound, where Abraham and Donaldson were able to see the living classroom where personal support worker (PSW) students learn their trade. They also learned about the living classroom custodial services program.

While in Parry Sound, they were shown Parry Sound High School (PSHS) and viewed the construction of the JK-12 school. Seeing construction of the new multi-million dollar school was one highlight of the tour.

Enroute to the next stop at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (AHSS), Abraham and Donaldson enjoyed a gourmet bagged lunch prepared by Blair Cousin’s Specialist High Skills Major hospitality class at PSHS.

The Hockey Canada Skills Academy which debuted this September was highlighted at AHSS. Vice-principal Jamey Byers said, “During their visit they were able to speak with students and staff about some of the innovative programming at the school, along with how that innovation helps with the NNDSB core goal of student achievement and well-being.

OPSBA guests then visited the culinary facilities and observed the food that students prepare for the menu each week in the cafeteria. They also visited a “Learning 4 Life” program in which students are learning from the land by making maple syrup. The trees around the school are tapped in the spring to make maple syrup, thanks to a partnership with Hubbert’s Maple.

AHSS Principal Heather Hickey said, “What a great opportunity it was to showcase just some of the programs and activities we have available to students at AHSS for our OPSBA guests. We hope they really enjoyed the conversations they had with our students and staff.”

Heading to North Bay, Abraham and Donaldson attended Nizhwaas Asiniik Skoonweh Kahn (Seven Stones Learning Centre). The school is an adult student re-engagement initiative run by NNDSB and the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre. Trustees Phillips and Sargent were able to join the OPSBA guests at this visit.

While in North Bay, the OPSBA guests also had the chance to learn about NNDSB’s partnership with the North Bay Battalion and the team’s role in anti-bullying initiatives. Abraham and Donaldson met with the Battalion president Mike Griffin to speak about the club’s work with NNDSB students.

Last Thursday, Abraham and Donaldson visited Northern Secondary School in Sturgeon Falls. They toured the school with Trustees Bertram and Sargent, and learned about the partnership with Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario (CSPNE), who share one building with NNDSB to provide secondary education in Sturgeon Falls. At Northern Secondary School Abraham and Donaldson visited the new Mining SHSM program which looks to provide another viable career path to NSS students.

Abraham had nothing but praise for NNDSB and its initiatives. “Students and parents of the Near North DSB should take pride in the innovative, high-quality programming provided at schools across the district. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to see up close the amazing things happening in public schools throughout the NNDSB, which support the unique needs and challenges of local students, families, and communities.”


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