Area schools launch innovative projects

At its regular monthly meeting here last night, the Rainy River District School Board recognized students and staff from Rainy River High School who spent three days winter camping under the board’s new Innovative Projects program.
Sixty students in Grades 9 and 10 participated, spending two nights and three days at Moose Lake, near Sprague, Man., in early March.
Together they went ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, and played games. They also incorporated anti-bullying workshops into the schedule.
“The goal of the project was to provide students the necessary skills to mediate conflicts and communicate effectively,” the board said in its report.
“We wanted to get the younger kids interacting with the older kids,” noted RRHS teacher Laurie Armstrong.
Some Grade 11 and 12 students also came along to act as peer mentors, she added.
“On returning, we have noticed some changes. We have noticed more interaction between the Grade 9s and 10s,” said Armstrong. “Some of the Grade 9s have become more confident.
“In the view of the staff, it was a success.”
Four other projects were approved to receive funding through the new Innovative Projects program this school year.
“The selection committee was extremely impressed with the quality of proposals we received from our schools in this the first year of the Innovative Projects program,” said Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood.
“It provides our staff with an opportunity to plan something unique to their schools.”
The new program encourages staff and students to think creatively in planning programs which will address student needs that have not been met through any existing school or board program.
F.H. Huffman School in Fort Frances received $1,500 to support reading development in the primary grades through a Community Volunteer Reading Program.
“The program brings the strength of the community into the school and gives students the ability to achieve strong literacy skills,” the board said in its report.
“It fosters a co-operative, inclusive, and welcoming environment,” it added.
Alexander MacKenzie School here will begin “Project Green” this month. It has received $3,200 to create a green space in the playground at the new J.W. Walker School.
“The students, parents, and staff of Alberton, Sixth Street, Alexander MacKenzie, and J.W. Walker Schools will come together during a celebration in anticipation of joining the schools in September,” the board report said.
“Three hundred and fifty seedlings will be purchased, and trees from Sixth Street School and shrubs from Alexander MacKenzie School and Alberton School will be transplanted as a symbol of school unity and future growth,” it added.
And Atikokan High School received funds for two projects. Students received $2,800 to produce a video yearbook on DVD to be included with the print yearbook for 2004-05.
AHS also received $6,000 for Outers International—an expansion of the Outers program that has been running in Atikokan for 39 years.
“Community partnerships and a strong marketing campaign will be used to promote the Outers program and other unique courses—Geomatics and Interdisciplinary studies,” the board said.
“This will encourage Grade 11/12 students from around the world to attend Atikokan High School,” it noted.
“I am very pleased with the variety of projects chosen to receive this funding,” trustee Judy Eluik said.
Also at last night’s meeting, the board awarded two tenders. The first, for network cable installation at Robert Moore School, was awarded to Phoenix Infrastructures in the amount of $18,935 plus taxes.
The second for ISA computers was divided into three sections. Section A and B were awarded to Wilson’s Business Solutions for $68,167 plus taxes, and Section C to Microcomputer Science Centre for $38,004 plus taxes.
In the first half of the meeting, the board heard three presentations from students who had made various international trips during the March Break.
Three students from Fort High described their trip to Costa Rica, where they laid sidewalk and painted a day care centre.
Meanwhile, two French Immersion students from Fort High recounted their adventures in France while a student from Atikokan High School told the board about their trip to Italy.
The next board meeting will be held Tuesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at Donald Young School in Emo.