Across the Boards - ET Spring 2013

Rainy River DSB's Unique High School Media Station  

Spartan Youth Radio, www.spartanyouthradio.com, bills itself as Canada's only high school podcast media station. Listeners can also access Spartan Youth Radio on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Operating out of Espanola High School, the site features podcasts and YouTube videos on music, film, books, sports and more topics, many of them created by the students themselves as part of their media curriculum. Students have conducted and posted interviews with politicians, media and sports personalities, writers and musicians, notably Rick Mercer and Margaret Atwood, earning accolades and course credits in the process. The station has also produced a commercially successful two-minute short film.

London 2012 Olympian from Renfrew County DSB

In her first ever Olympic performance last summer, Eganville native Melissa Bishop ran for Canada in the women's 800-metre race in London. She may not have finished where she'd hoped to, but she has been a popular spokesperson for the sport upon her return to Canada nonetheless. In September, she visited a number of elementary and secondary schools in the Ottawa Valley, signing autographs, sharing her experiences and inspiring students. At Highview Public School in Pembroke, she led about a hundred of the school's track and field hopefuls in warm-up exercises and a lap around the track.   

Bishop is a qualified teacher and graduate of the University of Windsor. She hopes to qualify to compete for Canada in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For more information, contact Jake Davies, communications, Renfrew County District School Board, (613) 735-0151, ext. 2210, or daviesj@renfrew.on.ca.

Avon Maitland DSB Hosts International Students

Over the past year, the Avon Maitland DSB has hosted visits from a number of international student groups. In July 2012, the board launched its iAM International Summer Camp by welcoming a group of nine 17-year-old students and their teacher from Salavat, Russia. They were in Ontario for three weeks, sharing their time between Stratford and King's University College at the University of Western Ontario in London. While in Stratford, the Russian students practised their English and learned about Canadian music and culture. Lessons in Russian were given to their Canadian student buddies.

In September and October 2012, two groups of 10- and 11-year-old students from Colombia were welcomed in Stratford and Listowel, where they attended local schools for four weeks. The goal of the visit was to help the students improve their English language skills and learn first-hand about life in Canada. During their stay, the students were billeted with families from the two communities and were treated to trips to regional tourist attractions.

Simcoe County DSB Honours History Teacher

In October, the Simcoe County DSB announced that Clint Lovell had won one of this year's Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence. Lovell teaches history at Eastview Secondary School in Barrie, where he has been helping history come alive for students. In 2005, he started an ongoing project that began with an investigation of the names on a local cenotaph; it has developed into an in-depth program of studies about the Holocaust and Remembrance Day and an annual Holocaust conference, where survivors have been invited to speak to his students. Lovell and this conference were featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Education Today.

For more information, visit http://scdsb.on.ca/about-us/news-events/?i=13891.

Rainbow DSB Aboriginal Kindergarten Program

Since 2010, the Rainbow DSB has run Aboriginal programming in three of its schools: Cyril Varney, Little Current and Wembley. An award-winning Aboriginal oral language specialist, Sharla Peltier, joined other elders, families and members of the community in the schools to introduce kindergarten students to aspects of Aboriginal culture, using drumming, storytelling, puppets and site visits.

For more information, visit www.rainbowschools.ca/programs/FirstNations/newsletters.php

Toronto DSB Welcomes Royal Visit

In September, the Countess of Wessex and Ruth Ann Onley (wife of Lieutenant-Governor David Onley) paid a visit to Market Lane Public School to observe the Roots of Empathy program and meet with students. Principal Dane Lowry and program founder Mary Gordon were also on hand to welcome the guests. Through first-hand observation and contact with very young babies, Roots of Empathy teaches elementary school children how others may be feeling, with the ultimate goal of reducing bullying. It was piloted in the Toronto DSB in 1996 and has been adopted in English, French and First Nations communities across Canada as well as in a growing number of countries throughout the world, most recently England. Market Lane P.S. is one of five schools in the Roots of Empathy Centre of Excellence, showcasing the program to global visitors and testing new developments.

For more information, visit www.rootsofempathy.org and click on the Newsroom tab.