Kirkland Lake District Composite School has been recognized as a winner of the Premier’s Award for Accepting Schools, 2016-2017. These awards are given annually to recognize teams of students, educators and parents for creativity and leadership in creating positive school environments, and supporting achievement and well-being.
“KLDCS has made connecting with our Aboriginal students, families and community partners a school focus,” says Principal Alison Fantin. “Matachewan First Nation and Beaverhouse First Nation have participated in many of our initiatives this year, and we are very grateful to them for offering their support and sharing their knowledge. We have also had great assistance and support from our District School Board Ontario North East First Nations, Metis and Inuit support team.”
- Matachewan First Nation Community Elders provided students with cultural and experiential learning. Students were inspired to create a Grandfather’s Teaching mural, and were able to work with elementary schools, to involve other students in traditional activities like story telling.
- The celebration of Orange Shirt Day shared the message that every child matters. That day, hundreds of children and students from the other schools and daycares in Kirkland Lake joined KLDCS to learn about Residential Schools and honour the survivors.
- For the second year, KLDCS completed an installation for the REDress project, to remember and honour missing and murdered Aboriginal women. This time, KLDCS sent the installation around the Board to share the message and raise awareness.
- KLDCS hosted a First Nations Film Festival, and were honoured to welcome Shirley Cheechoo, an award-winning Indigenous film maker.
- The “Get Loud” campaign for the “Let’s Talk” day garnered recognition from the Paul Hansell Foundation, and resulted in great conversations about student mental health.
- The school met with, and had a performance by Indigenous Hip Hop start Cody Coyote.
- The school is working on an upcoming photography project which addresses the loss of Aboriginal voices, to attempt to address this issue moving forward.
“We know we still have a lot of work to do, but we are working hard to make Kirkland Lake District Composite School a school where every First Nation, Metis, or Inuit student, parent, or community member feels welcome, and feels that KLDCS is their school as well,” adds Fantin. “We believe that our students will make a difference in the world, and their efforts and learning will help the move towards reconciliation. We are honoured that the Ministry of Education has recognized our work with this award.”
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PHOTO: KLDCS is presented with the award for Safe and Accepting Schools.