In September, Westwood Public School in Guelph hosted Welcome Neighbours, a literary event to greet newcomer Syrian families. The festivities were conceived and organized by Eric Walters, a local author known for his novels for young adults, with backing from board superintendent of education Bonnie Talbot. Three local MPPs and nine notable Canadian children's authors and illustrators, including Robert Munsch, joined Walters and Talbot, each reading pages from Margriet Ruurs's Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey to the audience. Interpreters were on hand to translate the readings. Stepping Stones is illustrated by the Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr.
For more information, read "Newcomer Families Connect with Local Children's Authors at 'Welcome Neighbours' Event" at www.ugdsb.on.ca/news_article.aspx?id=67901&blogid=32405
September 19, 2016, or search for "Robert Munsch among Authors Welcoming Immigrant Families" at www.guelphtoday.com/writers/tony%20saxon, September 19, 2016.
One Thursday afternoon in September, two Brockville high school students spent the afternoon in a police cruiser — as special police chiefs on a case. John Sayeau, from Thousand Islands Secondary School, and Liam Baxter-Jeffery, who attends North Grenville District High School, accompanied Chief of Police Scott Fraser to various locations in the community, raising awareness about the Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) while locating a "missing" SOO mascot. The event concluded with a dinner for volunteers and an evening registration session. Both students are active in a number of the association's sports programs.
Special Olympics Ontario is a provincial chapter of Special Olympics Canada, a national charity that strives to improve the well-being of people with intellectual challenges through physical fitness and sport.
For more information, read "Police Chiefs for a Day" at www.ucdsb.on.ca/UCDSBNEWS/2016-20167SCHOOL%20YEAR/SEPTEMBER/Pages/PoliceChiefsforaDay.aspx
In September, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board announced that Dave Lyons, a teacher and Healthy Active Living consultant, has been honoured with this year's Ophea Award for Outstanding Contribution. This annual award recognizes his work promoting healthy life skills, physical education and community development through several of the board's community partnerships. His duties also include helping schools to implement the updated health and physical education curriculum. Lyons shares the 2016 award with Carolyn Temertzoglou, an instructor of health and physical education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
For more information, contact Laura Blaker, communications, Trillium Lakelands District School Board, (705) 324-6776, ext. 22129; fax (705) 324-4323; cell (705) 878-6709.
In September, Toronto DSB students began a process to recognize First Nations peoples of the Toronto area. At the suggestion of the board's First Nations advisory committee, daily morning announcements in TDSB schools now include a tribute to the Indigenous peoples who once lived on the lands in the Greater Toronto Area. The tribute is designed to promote learning about First Nations history among students in accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report released in 2015.
For more information, visit www.tdsb.on.ca/Community/AboriginalEducation/Resources.aspx or read www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/toronto-schools-are-starting-each-day-with-a-first-nations-lesson/article32018118/.
A new partnership between the Durham DSB and Whitby's state-of-the-art Abilities Centre aims to foster elite student athletes and prepare them for competition at advanced levels. The Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD) launched in September with the invitational girls' basketball program. ASAD combines both athletics and academics; students spend half a day at the 125,000-square-foot Abilities Centre and the other half in their classrooms. Volunteer opportunities are also available at the Abilities Centre for students to work on their community service hours. Plans are in place to expand the ASAD program in coming years.
For more information, visit www.asaddurham.com.