Board salutes DYS students

Nicholas Donaldson

Students at Donald Young School in Emo were recognized for their leadership during the Rainy River District School Board’s regular monthly meeting held there last Tuesday night.
DYS principal Kelly Forbes and vice-principal Cam Keast expressed great pride in their students and all they have done for the school.
Ashlyn Beck, Marcus Morrisseau, and Steven Dueck, representing the DYS students, then gave a presentation to the board.
Prepared by the students themselves, it highlighted some of the various leadership programs taking place at DYS.
These include the recycling program, headed by Beck, that was brought into the school last fall.
The students determined the number of bins needed and where they could be purchased, and even arranged a weekly pick-up with the Township of Emo.
Morrisseau, meanwhile, was featured for the work he does as school photographer.
The three students also spoke about the “Spirit Days” that are held every Friday at DYS, which draw school-wide participation.
Some of the themes included “Camouflage Day,” “Crazy Hair Day,” “Twin Day,” “Hockey Jersey Day,” and “Staff Look-a-like Day.”
The trio also talked about the Playground Activity Leaders (PALs) program that finds friends for children who are alone on the playground.
Other similar “buddy activities” at DYS involved older students reading to younger ones, walking with them during the annual Terry Fox Run, and helping them during the school’s Christmas dinner.
A report given to trustees explained the older students sat with the younger ones at the dinner.
They also helped cut their turkey, got them drink refills, and overall had positive interactions with them.
The older students expressed how great they felt helping out while their younger schoolmates enjoyed their time with the “big kids.”
The report noted the students of DYS play a key role in all of these programs, with staff offering support and guidance.
The programs are brought forth by students and they have the responsibility for implementing them.
Board chair Dianne McCormack presented the three students with a certificate as a “recognition of excellence.”
Also at last Tuesday’s meeting, DYS staff members Diane Carlson and Pam VanHeyst received their own recognitions of excellence.
Carlson is a Grade 1 teacher while VanHeyst is part of the support staff.
Both have been working for the school board for 25 years.
Other items discussed at the meeting included:
•a presentation on the renewed math strategy by math and STEM co-ordinators Brad Oster and Brad Gushulak;
•board reports on special education, policy, finance, and parent involvement;
•a student trustee report and a chair report;
•an Ojibwe Language Strategy update by Director of Education Heather Campbell;
•a letter from the minister of education regarding the newly-created Anti-Racism Directorate; and
•a letter from the Peel District School Board sent to the minister of education about the Civics class curriculum.
The latter asked that the minister consider adding political information at a board level to the curriculum, which would include information about roles and responsibilities of school board officials and student trustees.
The aim is to “bring a deeper understanding of school boards and their important role in governing education policy in the Province of Ontario.”
The letter also explained a Civics class already covers the democratic process at various levels of government.
But with an understanding of the political process at a board level, students’ knowledge of politics will be enhanced even more.