PWPSD Good News Report – February 2021


PWPSD staff presented with Passionate Heart Exceptional Service Awards

Four award winners

Congratulations to three PWPSD staff members who received 2021 Passionate Heart Exceptional Service Awards during a virtual ceremony on Friday, February 12. Pictured left-right: Jen Clevette is Principal of Harry Balfour School; Randy Nagel is an Assistant Principal at Peace Wapiti Academy; and Krystle Bush is a Community School Liaison Counsellor serving Beaverlodge Elementary School.

Congratulations are also extended to Anna Underwood, a staff member at Helen E. Taylor School, who was recognized for her roles as Librarian and Councillor for the Town of Wembley.

A release from the County of Grande Prairie provides excerpts from the PWPSD nominations:

  • As Principal of Harry Balfour School, Jen Clevette goes above and beyond for students, their families and staff, leading by example and filling in wherever needed. When schools were shut down last year, Jen led her staff in neighbourhood parades and stayed connected with school families. As we continue to navigate through this journey, Jen is very supportive and understands the importance of ensuring that staff and students feel safe and protected.

  • As an Assistant Principal at Peace Wapiti Academy, Randy Nagel works to create a safe and welcoming environment where students can learn and thrive both in and out of the classroom. He inspires authenticity, encourages students to do their best, and goes out of his way to show support for everyone.

  • As a Community School Liaison Counsellor supporting students at Beaverlodge Elementary School, Krystle Bush is a well-known and respected team member who plays an integral role in supporting students, families, staff and community. She displays kindness, empathy and compassion to all students, as well as their families.

About the Awards:
Eight awards, honouring front line workers and supporters in the field of social services, were presented at the 15th annual Passionate Heart Awards virtual ceremony on Friday, February 12. Sponsored by Family Community Support Services (FCSS) in the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie, towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley, and the Village of Hythe, the Passionate Heart Awards celebrate people and organizations who contribute significantly to their community, enhance social services in the region, and are dedicated to improving quality of life. Read the County of Grande Prairie media release.

Photos from the County of Grande Prairie Facebook page.


Election 2021 – PWPSD accepting nominations for trustee candidates

Elections image

PWPSD invites prospective candidates to submit nomination forms for school board trustee positions in nine electoral wards. Forms must be submitted by appointment to Central Office by noon on Nomination Day, Monday, September 20, 2021. Voting for school board trustees coincides with Alberta’s municipal Election Day on Monday, October 18, 2021. Elected school board trustees will serve a four-year term. The positions of Board Chair and Vice Chair are elected annually by the PWPSD Board. Visit the PWPSD Election 2021 webpage for additional information and the nomination forms.

School News

Beaverlodge Elementary School

Inuit Connections presentation “fantastic”

Virtual presentation to students

Beaverlodge Elementary School reports that the virtual Inuit Connections presentation offered by Goota Desmarias was fantastic. The sessions, being offered to PWPSD schools in February, are part of the annual PWPSD Indigenous Speaker Series.


Beaverlodge Co-op Store donates to BES Snack Shack

Store manager presenting gift cards to student and school mascot

L-r: The BES Trapper mascot and Grade 6 student Lelin Pfau accept the donation from Eric Michaud, Manager of the Beaverlodge Co-op.

BES expresses thanks to the Beaverlodge Co-op Store for their $600 ­­­­donation to the school Snack Shack program that provides free healthy snacks to students.

Beaverlodge Regional High School

Promoting wellness for students, staff

school bulletin boards decorated with positive messages

“BRHS has been working hard this year to promote wellness for students, teachers and support staff,” says Tessa Embleton who teaches art and psychology at the high school, in addition to her roles in academic advising and as a coordinator of the school’s LINK Center.

“On Thursday mornings, Principal Anna Nelson and Assistant Principal Penny Calvert have been bringing surprise snacks for staff, which is a great positive boost for everyone.

“Our Wellness Committee meets monthly to discuss issues at the school and how to reduce stress for students and teachers.

“In an effort to lift spirits in these uncertain times, every bulletin board in the school, including the staffroom, is covered with uplifting quotes, words, and images. Lighting has been softened in many rooms, with salt lamps and calming light towers, and mini lights in the math room.”

Bonanza School

Makerspace used on staff professional learning day

teachers making games

During the division-wide professional learning day on January 29, Bonanza School staff made use of their school’s Makerspace, participating in challenges to create indoor recess games for students to play. They also completed a session on Makey-Makey, an innovative tool that will be a part of student learning in the future.


Literacy Day at Bonanza School

students participating in Literacy Day

Bonanza School was full of busy readers during Literacy Week. Students participated in a "Read around the World" challenge, receiving stamps in their passport as they "travelled" to different countries by reading books.

“We had a lot of fun,” says Teacher Allison Roszman, who also congratulated Lincoln Schulze, Cohen Kautz, and Josh McClellan (pictured top right) for successfully finishing the reading challenge.

Ms. Roszman thanked all participants, especially Tess Weber (pictured bottom right), a Grade 10 student from Savanna School, who created both the bulletin board and the student passports. “This was a volunteering requirement for one of her classes and she did an excellent job.”


Clairmont Community School

Signs for seniors

Students hold signs for seniors

In January, the CCS Grade 7 students came up with a special idea to safely visit residents of the nearby Lakeview Senior Center, creating and displaying colourful motivating signs and drawings for the seniors to see from their windows. The students report that due to all the cheering and excitement, the seniors definitely knew how much they have been missed during COVID-19.

“We hope they realized that we wish we could visit them as much as we could before,” say the students.

The CCS Student Leadership Team thanked the Grade 7s for making the signs and putting so much effort into what will be remembered as an amazing day, and for following the COVID-19 guidelines.

Congratulations to Marissa, Empowered Reading graduate

Congratulations to Marissa (above, right), a Grade 5 student, upon completing her Empowered Reading program after starting last year but being put on hold for a period of time due to the move to at-home learning. The school says she gave up her after school time to finish the program.

“Her former reading struggles are now behind her and now she is doing great,” says her teacher, Laureen Beson. “She has worked very hard and is a great example to us all on what it means to show perseverance and effort. Way to go, Marissa!”

Harry Balfour School

Options bring new opportunities for students

students learning construction and robotics

Junior High students finished up fun Options courses in February, including construction and robotics.


Learning and fun go hand-in-hand at HBS

fun activities for students

Students at HBS are encouraged to celebrate diversity and experience literacy in a multitude of ways. In January, HBS teachers created a "Travel the World Together" board (bottom right) to align with the theme of this year’s Literacy Week event. Students read books set in various countries, pinning the locations on the board.

Grade 1 students celebrated the 100th day of school and enjoyed skating at Muskoseepi Park (top left) prior to February’s colder temperatures.

The Grade 2 "Happy Club" learn about the importance of maintaining positive attitudes and being kind to those around them (left).

Grade 3 students wrapped up a unit on measurement where they explored measuring the mass of objects found in their classroom (top right). The class also enjoys "Flashlight Fridays" – a fun time of independent reading in the dark (bottom middle).

Helen E. Taylor School

HET focusing on literacy, positivity and safety

Literacy day activities

On Literacy Day, students and staff dressed as their favourite book character and participated in a school-wide literary trivia contest (top right and bottom left).

Bulletin boards in the HET hallways are currently adorned with messages of positivity. Elementary artists who worked on the bulletin boards are looking forward to a brighter 2021 (top and middle left).

Grade 6 students created onomatopoeia art – pictures that visually convey the meaning of words, such as boom, splat and woof (bottom middle).

School staff participated in First Aid training, acting as their own patients due to COVID-19 protocols (bottom right). 

Hythe Regional School

3D Children’s Charity supports Hythe student

donation to student

Left: Patti Nichol, 3D Children’s Charity Board member and HRS Assistant Principal (left) presented travel support and a gift on behalf of the charity to Grade 7 student Layton Lossing who is accompanied by his mom, Amanda and sister, Tatum. Seven hours later, Layton proudly displayed his fully assembled gift of Star Wars Lego (right).

Hythe Regional School (HRS) describes Grade 7 student, Layton Lossing as a hero. He and his family were presented with travel support from the 3D Children’s Charity for his yearly medical appointments in Calgary. On behalf of the charity, HRS Assistant Principal Patti Nichol, who wears a second hat as a 3D Children’s Charity Board member, also presented Layton with a gift of Star Wars Lego, which his family reports he started working on as soon as he got home, completing it within seven hours. Ms. Nichol also expressed “a big thank you to all the 3D sponsors for their never-ending support of our kids and their families.”

Peace Wapiti Academy

Graphing, cosmetology, cake decorating and a fun grad photo shoot at PWA


Math 30-1 students have been working with graphs. Each line and line segment is a unique graph. Fish (left) was created by Emmerson Sutherland and Faith Johnstone; Follow Your Path (right) was created by Elena Ewert.


All PWA staff and bus drivers are offered a free cosmetology service during the school year. Pictured clockwise from top left: students Faith Cameron and Tiera Randall work on a PWA bus driver and a staff member; Shaniele McDonald colouring a PWA staff member’s hair; Shelby Prangnel provides a manicure to a PWA bus driver; Autumn Shannon gives a facial to a PWA staff member; and Shaniele McDonald admires her work on a PWA staff member.

fun grad photos

Upcoming graduates posed for fun grad photos. Pictured left-right are Ali and Christina, Kahlan, and Akryn and Danika. Congratulations to the all members of the Class of 2021.

Foods students displaying their creations

Foods 9 students display their cake creations. Pictured clockwise from top left are Tyler-Ann Manion and Hannah Vandal; Bryce Battig and Kyren Fox; Teela, Abby and Jorjia; Ava Holman and Coleman Gitzel.


Sexsmith Secondary School

Canfor donates lumber to Building Construction class

students display lumber donation

Sexsmith Secondary School’s Building Construction class (left) received a generous donation of lumber from Canfor. “It is wonderful to receive industry support for our programming,” says school staff. “The lumber will be put to good use in the Grades 7-12 Building Construction program, and we sincerely appreciate the donation and are excited to see what students will create with the lumber.”


Citizenship Project

A citizenship project in Social 8.1 has seen students participating in a variety of activities and initiatives throughout the community.

Teacher Kristen Vekved says, “The goal is to develop age-appropriate behaviour for social involvement that will help students develop into responsible citizens who contribute to their community by demonstrating leadership and engagement in actions that enhance personal and community well-being.”

Activities completed as part of this project include
Operation Christmas Child, cattle banding (above, middle) and helping to plant a garden.


Celebrating a scholarship laureate

Congratulations to SSS Class of 2020 graduate Axel Brett (above, right) who has been awarded a number of scholarships. He is currently completing his first year of studies toward Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees at the University of Lethbridge, and says he will pursue a teaching career following graduation.

  • The Alexander Rutherford Scholarship
  • University of Lethbridge Entrance Awards
  • ATA Local #6 Scholarship
  • Robert & Anna Shaw Scholarship
  • Brent Sears Memorial Fund
  • Sexsmith Citizens on Patrol Student Award Fund
  • Swan City Rotary Community Service above Self Fund
  • Smart and Caring Student Awards


Spirit River Regional Academy

Literacy Day

Literacy Day activities

On January 27th, while the high school students were busy writing exams, the rest of the school celebrated Family Literacy Day by dressing up as their favourite book characters. The school applauds the students for the ingenuity of their costumes, calling them amazing. Staff were thrilled to see the children getting excited about reading and discovering how books can enhance our imagination. 


Teepee Creek School

Stanley Cup winner reads to TCS students on Family Literacy Day

hockey player reading books

Family Literacy Day, TCS students and staff were thrilled to listen to a story from Carter Rowney of the Anaheim Ducks, a Stanley Cup winner and former Sexsmith resident. The school invited the hockey player and local families to record a video of themselves reading a story, to be shared with students.


Science unit on building looks at playground structures

students build playground models

Grades 3 and 4 students created playground models in their Science unit on building.

Wembley Elementary School

Happy Valentine’s Day from WES

valentines day social

Ms. Waldron’s Grade 1 class recently held a posh tea party and luncheon. The party was a great reprieve from the cold weather and a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Woking School

Students benefit from varied learning opportunities

fun activities

Pictured clockwise from top left:

Students made Dream Catchers with Natascha Okimaw on January 14.

On Literacy Day, students dressed up as their favourite book character while younger students enjoyed buddy reading.

Students have been making good use of the Woking Community Skating Rink.

As a way to brighten up the long days of winter, indoor gardening has begun at Woking School. Kindergartens planted an aero garden, while the Grades 6-8 Leadership class set up the tower garden and are delighted to see sprouting lettuce, spinach, kale, dill, basil and mint.


Upcoming events

  • Deadline for Grades 1-9 families to request a transition to Remote Learning for Term 3: Monday, February 22. More info
  • Pink Shirt Day: Wednesday, February 24. Visit the Pink Shirt Day website.
  • ASCA Webinar Wednesdays: Webinars are offering during 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. More information and registration. Schedule:
    • The Work of School Council: February 24
    • School Council Purpose: March 10
    • Guest Presenter: March 24
  • ASCA Awards of Merit Nomination Deadline: Sunday, February 28. Categories include School Council Award of Merit, School Council Parent of Distinction Award, Excellence in Learning Partnerships Award, and Division School Council Engagement Award. More information and nomination forms.
  • Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention: Thursday - Friday, March 4-5. No school.
  • Substitute Teachers’ Appreciation Week: March 8-12.
  • Daylight Saving Time starts: Set clocks ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, or before going to bed Saturday night.
  • Pi Day: Sunday, March 14. Some PWPSD schools may celebrate the event during the school week.
  • Non-Operational Day: Friday, March 19. No school.
  • Spirit Seekers Virtual Youth Conference: Friday - Saturday, March 19-20. Theme is “Reimagine the Future”.
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, March 25, 10:30 a.m.
  • PWPSD General School Councils’ Meeting: Tentatively booked for Tuesday, March 30.

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