Message from the Interim Director of Education
A LETTER FROM THE DESK OF INTERIM DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
November 8, 2022
Aanii, Boozhoo, Kina Gwiiyaa, Wiikwemkoong Parents, Guardians, and Care Givers,
After serving as Wiikwemkoong Junior School Principal, High School Principal, and teacher for the Wiikwemkoong Board of Education (WBE) for numerous years, I am honoured to have been asked to serve the students, staff, and families in the WBE as your Interim Director.
While change and trials have always been continuous in our education system, these past few years have been especially demanding. The pandemic resulted in changes to education delivery models which placed many new demands on students, families, and staff members. I have seen staff, students and families adapt and persist and adapt to co-exist with our new world.
I know firsthand that staff members, families, and community members that support our students remain true to their core values and to the commitment to always delivering the best for our students at all grade levels.
My priority while acting as interim Director is to continue maintaining healthy relationships with all internal and external stakeholders and strengthening the WBE as a welcoming and inclusive school board focused on the success and well-being of students through caring, skilled, and devoted staff members.
I will be reaching out to staff and community partners, to ensure continuity and stability. I will also ensure the continued success of our schools and assist with the transition for a new Director.
RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING
All our schools will return to in-person learning; therefore, we will not be offering a virtual learning option. Following the guidance from the Wiikwemkoong Health Centre and the rest of the province, masks will be optional this school year for staff and students. However, if staff and or students want to continue to wear a mask, masks will be provided. We will also continue to implement many of the same safety protocols (clear barriers on desks and tables, regular handwashing, sanitizing, etc.) that were used late in the past school year. The only place masks are still mandatory is when students ride the bus, due to their not being the same type of barriers and ability to physically distance ourselves from each other as we are able to in the classroom and outdoor settings.
COVID in the CLASSROOM
If there is a positive case of COVID-19 identified in any classroom, we will follow the Health Centre Algorithm with respect to self-isolation. Guidance will be provided for the positive case as well as the rest of the class. Rapid Antigen Tests will be provided to staff members and families upon request. Measures will be implemented with the objective of keeping continuity of services as well as keeping our classrooms open for our students to keep attending onsite daily.
We are excited to announce that we are continuing to increase the number of Anishinaabemowin Specialist Instructors in our elementary schools. At the Hub Center, we are on our way to hiring four Anishinaabemowin Mentors (one for each room where programming occurs.) We are collaborating and sharing a learning space with the community Wiikwemkoong Anishinaabemowin Department to offer evening family immersion support and programming at the Hub Center on a regular basis throughout the year. We have also implemented the position of Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper at both the Junior and Pontiac schools. Our Wiikwemkoong Anishinaabemowin Kinoomaagewin will continue to provide learning resources and support for instruction and ongoing assessment in Anishinaabemowin. This all aligns with several of the Wiikwemkoong Board of Education's long-term strategic planning goals to support the infusion of Anishinaabemowin to continue to strengthen proficiency throughout our education system.
The Land-Based Learning (LBL) program continues to grow and evolve. We are pleased to say that we have increased the amount LBL Instructors (3 per school for a total of 9 LBL instructors in our education system) to allow more classes to take learning outside the school building and implement authentic and meaningful Kinoomaagewin learning experiences. These instructors are all sourced right from Wiikwemkoong to ensure local traditions and practices are being offered.
All our staff in each of our many departments works hard every year to make all our schools a positive experience for ALL students. The WBE is eagerly looking forward to enriching your child’s life. Thank you for understanding that it can take a few weeks for a child to acclimate to a new grade, peer group, and teacher.
Maureen Peltier - Interim Director of Education