PWPSD Good News Report - September 2021


Educational Assistants participate in literacy workshops

Literacy Workshop

A recent study was conducted to determine the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning, and it showed that, while all students have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, primary students were the most affected. To address this learning loss, Alberta Education has released an assessment to identify students who need additional support.

PWPSD teachers have been working diligently to administer and report on these assessments. Students who are identified will have the opportunity to participate in a Reading Intervention program provided by Alberta Education.

On September 21, the first two training sessions for the Reading Intervention program took place and small groups of Educational Assistants gathered to learn about the new synthetic-phonics based program.

A third training session took place on October 1, while a fourth and final session is scheduled at the sub-office in Spirit River on October 7.


PWPSD Friends of Education Nominee: Natascha Okimaw

This year’s Friends of Education nominee is Nastascha Okimaw, Cultural Navigator with the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre. Ms. Okimaw has worked with the PWPSD staff and students from kindergarten through grade 12 for the past five years. She teaches Indigenous history and reconciliation by sharing her experiences through the Blanket Exercise. She also shares cultural teachings through drum, rattle, dreamcatcher and medicine-box-making workshops.

Ms. Okimaw collaborates with and helps guide PWPSD in its journey of Truth and Reconciliation; often acting as advisor to the Indigenous Education Coordinator.

By exercising patience and respect, Ms. Okimaw fosters strength and growth for students within our schools and communities. She is a great educator who is generous with her time and knowledge and we are very grateful for her support.


Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters

Throughout the week of September 27 – October 1, students across the Peace Wapiti Public School Division reflected on the legacy of residential schools through Orange Shirt Day (OSD) events. Orange shirts were donned by students and staff, while discussions about OSD and its significance, Indigenous games, and special fundraisers took place throughout all grade levels.

On September 30, PWPSD acknowledged the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis survivors, and their families and communities.

Why Orange?

Orange Shirt Day is a reconciliation movement that grew from the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemorative event held in Williams Lake, B.C. in 2013. Based on former student Phyllis Webstad’s account of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school, the awareness campaign is an opportunity to continue the discussion on all aspects of residential schools. The September date chosen for the observance reflects the time of year when children were taken from their homes. For more information about Orange Shirt Day and its resources, visit


PWPSD ready for deeper understanding of Indigenous culture

The Werklund School of Education, based out of the University of Calgary, has created a learning series on Indigenous culture, history and ways of knowing, specifically for the Peace Wapiti Public School Division. Those in attendance will gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture and will be better equipped to serve Indigenous families and advance the calls to action set forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Approximately 80 staff throughout the Division are expected to attend the learning series later this year.


School News

Beaverlodge Elementary School

Students take part in annual Terry Fox Run


Grade 1 student Rosie Hido proudly carries the Terry Fox Run flag to begin the 2021 run.

On September 23, students and staff at Beaverlodge Elementary School participated in the 41st Terry Fox Run. Students from all grades took part in the event and have raised over $3000 for cancer research!


Harry Balfour School

Harry Balfour celebrates its new teachers

HBS New Teacher Shower

Welcome to the HBS family! (Left to right) Miss Arith (Grade 6A), Madame Braun (Grade 8B/FSL Grades 6-8), and Miss Mckeeman (Grade 8 LA/Options)

On September 14, the Harry Balfour staff celebrated new teachers with a New Teachers Shower! Staff shared their favourite school survival items like highlighters, coffee, posted notes and other fun treats.


From students to food critics

Oreo Critics

Miss Vigen’s grade 5 class learns new food vocabulary with Oreos.

To put their new food vocabulary to the test, Miss Vigen’s grade 5 class took part in Oreo Tasting Day. This hands-on project asked students to select and taste test three out of five different Oreo flavours. Students rated each cookie using five different categories: appearance, smell, taste, texture and a category they created on their own. After reviewing each of their three cookies, students used their new food vocabulary (ex. rich, palate, delectable, velvety, appetizing, etc.) to write a review of either their favourite or least favourite cookie.

While most students favoured the fudge covered flavour, one student said it was, “Absolutely revolting on my palate”.


Hythe Regional School

Students supported in and out of the classroom

Wembley Bulldogs

(Left to right): Linden Boschman, Brody Reay, Jake Mickanuik, Matthew Miller, Broden Hotte, (front) Vincent Clarke

Members of the Wembley Bulldogs are gearing up for the upcoming Mighty Peace Bantam Football season. HRS is proud to support their students in the classroom and on the field. Go Bulldogs!


La Glace School

Meet and Greet a huge success

La Glace School hosted a meet and greet for families on August 30, 2021.

Teachers and staff at La Glace School welcomed all new and returning students, their families, and the Parent Council team at this year’s meet and greet. The event was hosted the day before classes were back in session, and students were excited to visit with friends!


Light, reflection and shadows


Mrs. Ottahal’s grade 3/4 science class took their learning outside to trace their shadows with sidewalk chalk. The students had fun participating in the hands-on inquiry based learning!


Building connections and problem-solving through circle meetings

During the first week of school, the grade 3/4 class at La Glace School started each day with a circle meeting as a way to build trust and connection; topics were related to getting to know one another. Since then, the students have continued weekly circle meetings to discuss their weekends. With each successive meeting, the students are becoming more comfortable sharing their thoughts with the class.

After the co-teachers discovered a common issue among the students, they scheduled a circle meeting to hopefully address it. Students felt safe and comfortable to share their thoughts and how they and their friends were being affected. The maturity of the students was impressive, and both teachers are happy to report a significant reduction of the issue!


Peace Wapiti Academy

Congratulations Josh Street!


Josh passed his Dual Credit – 1st Year/Part A ABSA Power Engineering Exam!


Reconnect Showcase brings students back together

Showcase Games

The PWA CONNECT office organized a Showcase Day where different games and activities were available for staff and students to reconnect after the summer break.


Democracy in the classroom

Student Vote is a learning program that gives students the opportunity to experience the voting process and practice the habits of getting informed and being an active citizen.

Student Vote


Upcoming events

  • Merv Crouse Coats for Kids Campaign: Donate your gently-used winter wear at Crouse’s Cleaners from now until Friday, October 15. View the list of accepted items. The distribution centre at the Grande Prairie Family Education Society (9706 102 Street) will be open October 1 – 31, Monday to Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, October 7 at 10:30 a.m.
  • World Mental Health Day: Sunday, October 10
  • Thanksgiving Day, no school: Monday, October 11
  • School Board Election Day: Monday, October 18
  • Administrator Meeting: Tuesday, October 19
  • PWPSD Board Meeting and Organizational Meeting: Thursday, October 28 at 10:30 a.m.

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