Regular Board Meeting Tuesday October 21, 2014

Superintendent of Business Joe Santa Maria welcomed members of the Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre (KCTC) Board.  It was an important evening to recognize the long-standing partnership of over 25 years with the KCTC at White Pines and to highlight the recent improvements made to the Community Theatre. 
The Sault Ste. Marie Community Theatre Centre is a fully charitable organization. The members of the corporation are the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie and District, the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) and the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie. It is a unique and mutually beneficial partnership that has continued for over 25 years.
One of the central goals of the theatre centre has been to promote and facilitate education and instruction in performing and theatre arts in the City of Sault Ste. Marie and to provide a non-profit performing arts centre available to the community for educational purposes.
Larry Whalen, pictured on the right of picture (Community Theatre Board member), Chris Rous (Community Theatre Board member and Principal with ADSB) and Brian Wilson (Community Theatre Board member and former ADSB Principal) highlighted many key participants in the partnership over the years.
Recently KCTC has been the recipient of Municipal, Provincial and Federal grants for the Community Theatre renovations and were matched by ADSB.
Upgrades at the theatre included the installation of new and larger seating as the existing seating was over 40 years old. The theatre space included new colours, carpeting, and safety lighting in its revitalization. An LED sign has been installed outside of the White Pines building and is a highly visible marquee that promotes events at White Pines and the Theatre.
The auditorium foyer has been remodelled, with the goal of creating a more theatre-like ambiance in the evening, and also to enhance its use by the school during the day. White Pines staff members confirm that the foyer is being well used as a social space by students during the day which was the intent.
The HVAC units have been replaced, increasing air quality and environmental control. Some ducting was replaced with the introduction of special equipment to silence the noise produced by the movement of air.
Superintendent Santa Maria commented that “we are very proud of the partnership between ADSB and the Community Theatre. Students at White Pines and other schools receive a huge benefit to practise Arts & Culture at a state of the art facility and our Community benefits from the ongoing efforts of the Community Theatre Group through the many performances that occur at the theatre.”
Larry Whalen commented, “There is a lot of history between the parties involved in establishing the Kiwanis Community Theatre. We look forward to continuing our partnership with ADSB for many years to come.”
Superintendent Joe Maurice along with Davey Taylor (ADSB’s Wellness Special Assignment Teacher) shared information about an innovative initiative in which ADSB students participated recently.  The Students as Researchers (StaR) Conference was a forum that a number of student teams and ADSB staff attended at Stokely Creek Lodge in Goulais River.
Students and teachers are taking part in StaR Conferences (or student forums) across the province including over 40 students and staff from the Algoma District.  The intent of these conferences is to give students an opportunity to share their ideas on topics that matter to them and to introduce students to the collaborative inquiry research method - a process in which students work together to identify and research an issue impacting equity, student engagement, well-being or achievement.
The conferences are an extension of the Ministry of Education’s Student Voice initiative which is all about allowing Ontario's students to have a voice in their learning. The StaR Conferences were introduced as a direct response to students’ suggestions DSC_0104_crRWEB.jpg

about the importance of learning life skills like research and critical thinking. The conference provided new ways to gather student perspectives and incorporate students' views into school policy and directives. The research projects were rooted in students' questions and theories about what they thought might improve their education and their school communities.
The Algoma District School Board’s 7-12 Student Achievement Coordinator Katie Mohamed organized the event for the Algoma District and a diverse group of students attended the 3-day conference at Stokely Creek.  In addition there were representatives from the Ministry of Education and from OELC (Ontario Educator Leadership Council) who were there to facilitate the forum.
The theme or guiding question of the forum this year was “What does student well-being look like to you?”  Over the 72 hours, teams were challenged to come up with a draft research question that will be used to guide their research over the next 6 months.  Davey Taylor attended the conference and worked with the students.  He remarked on the impressive depth of thought given to the assignment.  While some teams continue to refiDSC_0107_crRWEB.jpgne their research question, other examples included:
  1. How can parents be more involved in their child’s education?
  2. What holds back your student voice?
  3. How much do gym students (grades 7-12) know about mental and physical health?
  4. In school, are you comfortable being First Nation, Metis and is your culture visible in your school?
From here, students will determine how to proceed with their research question.  They may conduct surveys or host focus groups.  Their research need not be scientific but it will be measurable.  Student teams who complete projects will have an opportunity to present their research to the Ministry of Education at Queen’s Park in April at the StaR Symposium.
Superintendent Kime Collver was pleased to announce that Chris Rous is the recipient of a Special Distinction Award from the Northeastern Ontario Recreation Association (NeORA).  Chris is the Principal of Rockhaven School for Exceptional Children in Spanish, Ontario.  He was nominated for the special distinction by Susan Bourret, Public Health Nurse with Algoma Public Health, who has worked with Chris for the past 8 years.
In her nomination letter, Susan acknowledged the efforts and commitment that Chris demonstrates to ensure that healthy, active lifestyles are a primary focus at the school.  She pointed out that Chris and his staff have worked tirelessly to pass their own in-school Healthy Food Policy which is a precedent in the northern district.  Susan went on to say that Chris is an advocate for his students and a role model for his staff.  Below is an excerpt from Susan’s nomination letter:
“A large part of the Rockhaven healthy lifestyle program is physical activity which Chris supports and advocates for with his students.  Students are encouraged to be active in the large outdoor playground area, but can also be found in groups, led by teachers, walking on the small country road leading to the school.  In the winter months, cross country skis and poles are used by the students as they make their way along snow covered paths.  All students have a range of physical abilities, and all students are encouraged to take part using equipment to accommodate their various abilities.    Some are in wheelchairs and others with limited mobility are pulled on sleds. The outdoor playground area is always active, in all seasons, with students running, jumping, tossing balls and engaging teachers and each other in various games.
On a daily basis, many physical education and sports programs must be modified and adapted to meet the needs of their special school population. This could be viewed as presenting problems for such a small school.
However, Chris approaches new ideas with a positive attitude and passes on his keen interest to staff and this ensures the school is included in many opportunities in the surrounding communities.”
Vice Chair Gladys Wiggins, Director of Education Lucia Reece and Superintendent Collver all thanked Chris for his ongoing commitment to his students and for the leadership he is demonstrating at Rockhaven and congratulated him on this recent recognition.  Chris received his NeORA award at a banquet and awards ceremony held earlier this month.