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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Thursday, April 28, 2016 8:42 AM -0400
Subject:Education Week 2016
To:
We recognize our shared commitment to student excellence in Bluewater District School Board during Education Week, which takes places from May 2 - 6, 2016.       

The hard work and dedication of all staff, trustees, students, parents/guardians and other education partners to ensure the best possible educational outcomes and successes for our students is something that we all have reason to celebrate, be proud of and thankful for.

This year's theme for Education Week, "Achieving Excellence: Promoting Well-Being", is reflective of the following priority in our Bluewater District School Board Multi-Year Strategic Plan:

Ensure the well-being of students and staff in a safe supportive environment for teaching, learning and working    
Image of secondary student in front of chalkboard displaying the word, 'students'
A lot of in-depth work and effort continues to take place in Bluewater to broaden awareness, supports and resources in this critically important priority area.

To better demonstrate this trend, we are pleased to highlight a different example each day during Education Week of Bluewater's ongoing commitment to promoting well-being.  These special stories will be added below, shared with our local media, and also posted to our board Twitter feed along with our newly created hashtag, #EdWeekBWDSB.

Others are invited to join in!  Whether it is an example of a caring educator, school initiative or student accomplishment, anyone with similar Bluewater success stories is encouraged to share these on their social networks using the hashtag as part of Education Week.


Education Week coincides this year with Mental Health Week.  You are invited to visit the following links for more information on this important occasion as well as some interesting local initiatives, which support promoting well-being:



Friday, May 6th
In Canada for just two short weeks, five-year-old Robiel travelled from Sudan and began his exciting school experience at Owen Sound’s Bayview Public School in September 2015.  The all-inclusive Bayview school community exemplifies a positive and optimistic attitude!  Staff come together as a team to provide opportunities for students to learn mental health strategies, connect and engage with each other, achieve excellence and learn in a state of well-being.  Despite all the unique challenges that English as a Second Language (ESL) students face, Robiel has skyrocketed to success with high spirits in his junior kindergarten ventures.  He participates in all class/school experiences with a newfound confidence and attends every day eager to learn.  In addition to exceeding academic expectations, Robiel has carved out a thriving social life with a growing wealth of friends.  Bayview is proud to have assisted Robiel not only in adapting to his new life in Canada, but also with flourishing in it!
Image of Bayview student


Thursday, May 5th
As mental health continues to dominate media headlines, schools have noticed an increase in the need for mental health awareness and programming.  Spruce Ridge Community School in Durham has listened, and is working diligently to address this need.  By collaborating with small groups in the primary, junior and intermediate divisions, strategies are being developed in this important priority area.  Intermediate and junior groups for both boys and girls are focusing on learning about the importance of good mental health, strategies for maintaining well-being, body image, dealing with feelings, safe technology and social media use.  Going forward, these groups will spend time using the MindUP curriculum, which will be used to help students work their way through learning about their brains and how to calm them.  Curriculum links are identified in many areas, especially with literacy.  The primary group, which is known as ‘The Friendship Circle’, is just getting started with its focus on the importance of friendship (e.g. how to be a good friend), being happy and feeling good, as well as how to be mindful in daily life.


Wednesday, May 4th
The Kinsmen Club of Chesley has graciously donated a generous sum of money to Chesley District Community School’s Disable the Label group, which consists of students, community members and staff.  The donation will support the school’s upcoming ‘Be Kind to Yourself Day’ on May 19th.  Students from kindergarten to grade 12 will participate in several ‘wellness’ activities to promote good mental health and well-being, such as workshops and a multimedia interactive presentation with motivational speakers and live band, Live Different.  The school is thankful to all of its community partners taking part in this event, including the Ontario Provincial Police, the Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce, Grey Bruce Public Health, and the many staff and students who are helping with planning.  Additional funding for ‘Be Kind to Yourself Day’ is being provided through SpeakUp grant funding from the Ministry of Education.

Group photo image of Chesley District Community School students, staff and community partners



Tuesday, May 3rd
Arran-Tara Elementary School recently acknowledged the International Day of Pink on April 13th to promote well-being within the school community.  This is a day where communities across the country, and throughout the world, can unite to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of the importance of stopping all forms of bullying.  The Arran-Tara Tigers were true ambassadors of the cause as they wore pink and took a stand to create amazing social change!  In addition to April 13th being a school Spirit Day, it was a chance for students and staff to demonstrate their strong opposition to bullying by standing together in pink solidarity to say, ‘we accept difference…. we don't discriminate.’

Image of Arran-Tara Elementary School student wearing a pink 'Bullying Stops Here!' T-shirt


Monday, May 2nd
On April 8th, Saugeen District Secondary School’s Student Mental Health Advisory Committee hosted its Student Voice Forum at the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre near Wiarton.  Students from grades 9 to 12 were amongst several different peer groups who took part in this inspiring day, which focused on mental health and wellness within the school.  The forum consisted of team-building and ice-breaking activities in the morning to help create an accepting atmosphere where students could share openly and honestly with each other.  During the discussions, some key topics covered included managing stress, how to create a welcoming school, combatting racism and homophobia, self-image and impacts of social media.  Students shared many feelings, opinions and stories.  The information gathered is being shared with the school’s administration and staff, as well as the Safe Schools Committee, in the hope of building initiatives within the school which are based on the forum’s outcomes.  Overall, students felt empowered and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Participants expressed the desire for more opportunities to share their voices, and requested that this type of initiative be expanded to include even more students.

Group photo image of SDSS students and staff outside the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre