A new pilot project to help students build their critical thinking skills got under way in September in several Upper Grand DSB schools. Headed by University of Toronto psychology professor Dr. Christopher DiCarlo, author of a book on the subject, the week-long program was offered at Centre Dufferin District High School in Shelburne and at two Guelph high schools, Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute and Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute, where students were given training in how to think critically and develop their analytic abilities. According to a news report in the Guelph Mercury, the board is interested in possibly expanding the program and developing it as a model for teachers to use in their classrooms.
For more information, read "Guelph Students to Take Part in Critical Thinking Pilot Project," by Scott Tracey, www.GuelphMercury.com, July 31, 2014, search on DiCarlo.
Every summer for 37 years, the York Region DSB has sponsored a hands-on program to teach grade 12 students about Canada's Aboriginal and European heritage. The Boyd Archaeological Field School, operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and several other partners, gives students two weeks of in-class lectures and hands-on archaeological experience under the guidance of teachers, Aboriginal educators and certified archaeologists. Since 2005-06, work has been ongoing at the Sebastien site north of Pickering, a Huron settlement dating to the 13th century. Students participating in the field school earn a university preparatory credit in interdisciplinary studies.
For more information, visit www.yrdsb.ca/Programs/Pages/ or www.trca.on.ca/the-living-city/land/archaeology/education.dot.
In September, Centennial Public School in Ottawa hosted the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark as they officiated at the school's special anti-bullying event. The royal couple attended the swearing-in ceremony of the school's Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out, Seek Help (WITS) program, where children committed to follow the WITS guidelines. WITS is a Canadian anti-bullying program for elementary students, created in 1993, that uses children's literature to illustrate strategies for combatting bullying. Crown Princess Mary is very involved in anti-bullying education in Denmark; her charity, the Mary Foundation, launched Free of Bullying, a program aimed at children ages 3 to 8, in 2007.
For more information, contact Sharlene Hunter, communications, Ottawa-Carleton DSB, 613-596-8264, or visit www.witsprogram.ca or www.maryfonden.dk/en/free-of-bullying.
In September, the Halton District School Board added to its website a new video promoting awareness about mental health issues in children and teenagers. Designed for parents, the video emphasizes the important role of schools and the community in providing safe and non-judgmental support for people who suffer from mental health issues, stressing that many are reluctant to seek help out of fear of a stigma associated with their illnesses. The website also features a selection of other resources, including a series of videos with Dr. Ian Manion, the executive director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.
To access the mental health video, visit www.hdsb.ca and click on the Mental Health and Well-being link under the Parents Info tab.
In October, the New York Times published an article by Jeff Z. Klein featuring the Halton Student Concussion Education Project, an online education resource that was integrated into the board's grade 9 health curriculum in September. The article appeared in the October 4, 2014, issue.
To read the article, visit www.hdsb.ca and click on the Spotlight on Schools link under the Newsroom tab.
This year, the Rainbow District School Board is piloting a free mobile app designed to support student safety. The app, called Stand Up, Speak Out, allows users to send anonymous messages about safety issues directly to administrators at the pilot schools. Eight of the board's schools, both elementary and secondary, are involved in the pilot. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices and includes additional information on community health and safety resources.
For more information, contact Nicole Charette, communications, Rainbow District School Board, (705) 674-3171, ext. 7217.