Board celebrates Crossroads’ literacy program


The Rainy River District School Board gave its most recent “Recognition of Excellence” to the “Literary Learners” program at Crossroads School in Devlin.

At their annual board meeting held last Tuesday evening at the Education Centre in Fort Frances, the board heard a short presentation from Crossroads School principal Sharla MacKinnon and vice-principal Heather Bridgeman about the school’s “Literary Learners” program.

“Crossroads School has been working on empowering and engaging students as ‘Literary Learners,'” Bridgeman explained to the board.

“We know that reading and writing are intertwined and critical for future success. When student writers are motivated to take their ideas, thoughts and emotions and transfer them onto paper while engaging in the writing process, they create meaningful texts they can be proud of.”

MacKinnon explained that the school invited authors Sigmund Brouwer and Eric Walters to speak with students in the classroom. The author visits were not only beneficial for the students at the receiving end of the talks, but also for the staff who learned different techniques and methods for supporting the students in strengthening their reading and writing skills.

“Crossroads students became intrigued by the ability to interact so closely with Canadian authors,” MacKinnon said.

“The relationship students built with both of the authors motivated them to want to improve upon their own writing skills.”

“In-class writing workshops provided all students with an authentic chance to improve upon their success in writing,” Bridgeman added.

“This process of learning from an author within the classroom also allowed for an opportunity for teachers to refine their skills and tools for teaching writing. Many of our teachers stated that this was the best PD they have participated in for writing.”

MacKinnon also noted that this program led into working with Sigmund Brouwer as the writer-in-residence for the school board, which involves continuing check-ins from the author over the duration of the school year by way of video chats, as well as at least one more in person visit to Crossroads School.

MacKinnon shared that the students benefited from the visits on a more personal level as well.

“Both authors left our students feeling valued and empowered,” she said.

“They cultivated both reading and writing skills for all learners. Sigmund and Eric built relationships with students, inspired them to be great literary learners and provided them with tools to succeed.”

Among the other items on the agenda were the elections of the board chair and vice-chair and the board’s representative on the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA).

Trustee Raymond Roy was re-elected as board chair, with trustee David Kircher being re-elected as vice-chair, and trustee Kathryn Pierroz being re-elected as the OPSBA representative. David Kircher was also acclaimed as the alternate OPSBA representative.

The RRDSB elects its trustees to serve a four-year term, with current trustees serving until Nov. 14, 2022. The board elects its chair and vice-chair each year at its December board meeting.

The next meeting of the RRDSB will take place at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2020.