Here we are, at the end of October, a time of year when we pause to give thanks for all that we have and share with others. It is with deep appreciation and gratitude that I share some highlights about what has been happening in Lester B. Pearson schools and centres over the last month.
100th Anniversaries - Soulanges & Westwood
Many may remember that last year LBPSB celebrated its 20th anniversary - an impressive milestone in and of itself. But did you know that some of our school communities have been shaping the lives of students over many generations and leaving legacies for a century!? Recently Westwood High School formerly Hudson HS celebrated their centennial anniversary with a weekend of festivities. Similarly, Soulanges Elementary out in St. Telesphore recently commemorated their 100th anniversary. Both communities opened their doors to welcome past and present students and staff. We look forward to what the next century of learning brings!
Graduation at VACC
Learning often culminates in celebrations. At the end of September, I was invited to attend and speak at the Verdun Adult and Career Centre graduation ceremony. This was the first graduation I attended as Director General and I was honoured to address the graduates and celebrate their achievements with them and their families. There were true sentiments and joy and gratitude in the air and it was wonderful to see the strong bonds that have formed between students and teachers. Best wishes to our graduates from the Residential and Commercial Drafting, Heating and Plumbing and Computer Support programs, many of whom are already settling into their new careers.
Steps Toward Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th was Orange Shirt day - a day to acknowledge the residential school experience lived by many indigenous peoples, to remember those who did not survive, and to support the healing journey of those still dealing with the harmful legacy of residential schools. Many of our schools observed Orange Shirt Day by wearing an orange shirt or a lapel pin. In addition, all of our schools and centres have been asked to install a territorial acknowledgement statement in recognition of the fact that the Lester B. Pearson School Board is situated on the unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka People. These trilingual plaques also feature the image of a turtle, an important symbol in the Haudenosaunee creation story. These gestures, although seemingly small, are important steps forward as part of our ongoing commitment to heed the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Outdoor Education class at Forest Hill Jr.
Recently, I was delighted to travel off island to picturesque St. Lazare to visit with the staff and students at Forest Hill Jr. There was much excitement in the air as the school was inaugurating their Outdoor Education class. The ceremony began with an indigenous leader offering words of thanksgiving and praise for the school’s effort to learn through nature. This project was a true labour of love and an excellent example of collaboration. Championed by teacher Sylvie Ozell and supported by principal Lisa Larente and the entire Forest Hill Jr. staff, a beautiful outdoor space has been created that extends learning into the outdoors. From play kitchens to reading and music-making stations to yoga and theatre stages, students can not only continue to progress in their academics but can increase their physical and social-emotional learning skills. This project also illustrates the power of collaboration since the parents, local businesses and a neighboring school board, CS la Vallee des Tisserands all contributed technical and financial resources to make this teacher’s dream a reality. Kudos to Forest Hill Jr. for demonstrating the power of deep learning!
High School Open Houses
It is never too early to begin planning for the transition to high school. This month several of our high schools hosted open houses. These open houses are a wonderful opportunity for parents and students to meet our dynamic staff and learn about our various program offerings. I wish to thank our high school administrators and communications team for getting the word out and offering a warm welcome to our future high school students.
Oct 4th PD Day - workshops by ESD and SSD
October 4th was a professional day across our elementary and secondary network, a perfect opportunity to offer professional development to teachers and support staff in English et aussi en francais. Over 570 educators gathered at various schools and here at head office to participate in professional learning sessions. The many topics presented include literacy training to help students who struggle with reading and writing, an overview of Youth Protection, the use of technology and software to assist with language development, the impact of adverse childhood experiences on learning, math and science instruction, teaching the performing arts, robotics and ebooks, just to name a few. I wish to thank the Educational Services and Student Services Departments for organizing these stimulating workshops which were delivered by our own professionals and teachers and I applaud our teachers for their commitment to professional growth.
World Teachers’ Day
Speaking of teachers, October 5th was World Teachers’ Day. This date was chosen by UNESCO as a day to recognize the vital contribution that teachers make to education and economic and social development. Teachers can never be thanked enough for their contribution to our high levels of student success. Here at Lester B. Pearson, we wish to acknowledge the high levels of commitment and dedication our teachers bring to the classroom every day.
As the school year progresses, we will take other opportunities to express our appreciation and gratitude to all staff of the Lester B. Pearson School Board. My appreciation for this learning organization continues to deepen and grow and I thank all of you who contribute to public education.