Public school board receives large grant for special projects

The Rainy River District School Board is set to receive more than $247,000 in one-time funding from the province to finance three secondary school projects that meet the requirements of the board’s student success plan.
Assistant Superintendent of Education Ian Simpson announced the funding at Tuesday night’s regular board meeting here.
“We’re very excited and pleased to receive all the funding we asked for,” he noted.
The money is part of the Ministry of Education’s Rural Student Success Program, which is designed to reduce the dropout rate, increase graduation rates, improve credit accumulation, and re-engage youth who recently have left school.
The funds also are meant to remedy systemic inequities in funding that challenge student success in rural schools, Simpson noted.
Fort Frances High School will receive $113,400 to convert the existing Family Studies food and nutrition lab to a commercial-grade kitchen with industrial equipment, which could be used to offer hospitality and tourism technology courses.
Simpson noted many students enter the workforce right after graduation and would benefit from the skills they could learn in that environment, should they decide to pursue careers in hospitality or tourism.
Rainy River High School, meanwhile, will receive $54,350 to create an integrated Student Success Learning Centre to house alternative education, co-op education, credit recovery, guidance and special education, Contact North, and videoconferencing.
As well, Atikokan High School will receive $80,127.22 to build a 40’ x 80’ building to house the Outers program.
The building will be designed and constructed by students in the Construction and Design Technology class over the next three years.
Since the $80,000 will not cover the complete cost of the building, the project is funded through a partnership between the school board, the Township of Atikokan, Atikokan’s business community, and the Ministry of Education.
“The benefits are going to extend to each school and each community,” Simpson said of the three projects.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board announced funding for Innovative Projects in its schools.
The money is for “projects that encourage creativity and address needs that have not been met through any existing board programs,” it said in a news release.
Fort Frances High School received $8,000 to develop peer mentoring and peer mediation programs.
“These programs will go a long way towards creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere at Fort Frances High School,” Simpson said.
J.W. Walker School received $8,000 to support a peer mediation program, its “Math Tote” program, and its “Browsing Bins” project to encourage young students—particularly boys—to read for enjoyment.
The funding also will allow Grade 3 students to tour the local area and visit the Fort Frances Museum to expand their knowledge of bridges.
Robert Moore School received $9,000 to purchase a class set of cross-country skis, including boots and poles, to encourage junior-level students to participate in this popular fitness activity.
The money also will support the school’s First Nations/Métis Student Council, which has been busy planning activities to increase awareness in the school.
Most recently, the council organized a pow-wow on March 8, which drew spectators from across the district.
Rainy River High School, Sturgeon Creek School, the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program, Crossroads School, North Star Community School, and Atikokan High School received funding for various projects, too.