PWPSD Board News – February 18, 2021

FEBRUARY 18, 2021
Inspiring all learners to become confident, collaborative and ethical citizens motivated with a passion to achieve a sustainable future.

Top graduates of 2020 recognized with PWPSD Academic Awards of Excellence

PWPSD Trustees honoured 18 graduates of the Class of 2020 with a virtual ceremony shown during the Board meeting on February 18, recognizing outstanding Grade 12 academic achievement during the past school year. 

Top Student in the Division Award 
  • Peace Wapiti Academy graduate Drey Russell (pictured above, left) received a certificate and $300 prize for her noteworthy achievement. 

Awards of Excellence

Graduates received certificates and $100 awards for achieving averages above 90 per cent: 

Graduates of Peace Wapiti Academy (pictured left-right above, top two rows):
  • Ashley Morrison
  • Elina Vorsina
  • Emma Young
  • Janna Holmquist
  • Mathew Unrau
  • Sam Street
  • Jordan Green
Graduates of Beaverlodge Regional High School (third row, left-right):
  • Gavin Clark
  • Kaitlyn Busson
  • Kobe Grocholski
Graduate of Spirit River Regional Academy (fourth row, far right):
  • Evan Pullishy
Graduates of Sexsmith Secondary School (bottom row, left-right):
  • Alexander Schroer
  • Brianna Sandboe
  • Emma Balisky
  • Tara Klassen

Top Student in School Awards

Two graduates received certificates and $100 awards for achieving at least an 80 per cent average, the highest at their respective schools:
  • Alina Rose, Ridgevalley School (fourth row, third from right)
  • Zane Dolen, Savanna School (fourth row, second from right)
The virtual ceremony can be viewed on the PWPSD YouTube channel or on the PWPSD Facebook page

Woking School Status Report

The Woking School Status Report, presented to the Board by Superintendent Bob Stewart, indicates that enrolment has declined to a level where PWPSD Senior Administration believes that continued operations would result in an inequity in education.

The potential school closure would provide greater educational opportunities for students, along with operating efficiencies for PWPSD. The report examines scenarios involving moving Woking students to Rycroft School or Spirit River Regional Academy, or a combination of both.

The Board directed Administration to share the school closure recommendation and the Woking School Status Report with the school community and any others who may be impacted by the decision, for feedback.

The report will be mailed to key stakeholder groups during the week of February 22. Recipients will be invited to participate in an online confidential feedback platform, known as a Thought Exchange, until March 8. In addition to sharing their own thoughts, participants will be invited to return often to rate the thoughts of others. The report will also include an email address for those wishing to contact PWPSD Administration. 

Administration will assemble all feedback and present a follow-up report to the Board by April 29, 2021.

2021-2022 School Year Calendar approved

The Board approved the upcoming 2021-2022 School Year Calendar and provided approval in principle for the Draft 2022-2023 School Year Calendar, as presented.

Printable PDFs are available on the PWPSD website at

PWPSD's calendars are prepared in collaboration with the two neighbouring school divisions, Grande Prairie Public and Grande Prairie Catholic School Divisions. 

City of Grande Prairie requests to purchase land south of PWPSD Central Office site

The Board approved a request from the City of Grande Prairie to subdivide and sell a 0.074 acre portion of land legally described as Plan 0729073, Block 1, Lot 3. The land is located on the south boundary of the Peace Wapiti Public School Division Central Office property at 8611-108 Street, illustrated above.

Conditions of the sale of land include that the transaction may not incur cost to the Board, the price is $24,000, the land title is excepting thereout all mines and minerals, and that the sale is pending approval from the Minister of Education.

Board approves 2021-22 meeting schedule

The 2021-22 Board meeting schedule has been approved to include 10 meetings at PWPSD Central Office in Grande Prairie, and one meeting at the Sub Office in Spirit River. The annual Organizational Meeting of the Board, which includes election of Board Chair and Vice Chair and selection of committee membership, will be held on October 28, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Central Office, followed by a regular Board meeting. View the schedule on the PWPSD website 
Date ​Start time ​Location
​Thurs., Sept. 2, 2021 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Oct. 7, 2021 10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Oct. 28, 2021 Organizational Meeting,
10:30 a.m.
Board Meeting, 11:00 a.m.
​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Nov. 25, 2021 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Dec. 9, 2021 ​10:30 a.m. ​Sub Office, Spirit River
​Thurs., Jan. 20, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Feb. 24, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Mar. 31, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., Apr. 28, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., May 26, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie
​Thurs., June 16, 2022 ​10:30 a.m. ​Central Office, Grande Prairie

Replacement Harry Balfour School ad hoc committee formed

The Board voted to strike an ad hoc committee for the replacement Harry Banew school buttonlfour School, consisting of Board Chair Kari Scheers and local Trustee Stefanie Clarke. 

Future updates about the replacement school will be released to the media and the school community, and will be available on the PWPSD website under the 'New School' button. The webpage is also accessible from the Harry Balfour School website by clicking or tapping the 'New School' link. 

Returning Officer appointed for Election 2021

The Board appointed JoAnn Vanstone, PWPSD Corporate Secretary, as the Returning Officer for the 2021 School Board Elections.

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 coincides with Alberta’s municipal Election Day on Monday, October 18, 2021. Elected Trustees will serve a four-year term. The positions of Board Chair and Vice Chair are elected annually by the PWPSD Board during their Organizational Meeting. Visit the PWPSD Election 2021 webpage for additional information and the nomination forms.

Education Technology Annual Report –
Pandemic proving value of technology support

Grade 1 students at Beaverlodge Elementary School using Chromebooks for learning. PWPSD's Education Technologist team reports that the class received technology training to effectively communicate with their teacher, Mrs. Werbiski to show their learning, and can complete and submit assignments in the event of a move to remote learning. 

PWPSD employs two Educational Technologists, Leah Montes and Memorese Walter, who provide personalized, group and in-class professional development on implementing and integrating technology into curriculum. Under the COVID-19 protocols, the technologists have added virtual Google Meet sessions to their supports. Additionally, they manage a resource website to provide technology tips and supports for PWPSD classrooms, parents and schools.

Miss Walter says the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for technology-based teaching and learning. 

“The pandemic has elevated PWPSD teachers to a level where everyone is competent to run the technology they need to achieve their goals, and are ready for any potential moves to remote learning," adds Miss Walter.

The pandemic has also meant that Miss Walter and Mrs. Montes have had to broaden their support beyond teachers and students to include the PWPSD Mental Health Team, Central Office staff, and School Administrators and Administrative Assistants. As certified teachers, the pair has also been instrumental in setting up remote learning websites for teachers and providing parents and students with tools, training and troubleshooting. 

"Technology is now much more integrated into learning and a part of the pedagogy," explains Miss Walter.

The quantity of technology available in PWPSD schools has grown exponentially since beginning their roles, making it much more viable to authentically integrate it in the classroom and curriculum.

"When we had computer labs in our schools, access to technology was limited to brief periods throughout the week, but pedagogy has changed with one-to-one Chromebooks. Also, cost is no longer a limiting factor when you consider that the price of one laptop equates to approximately 2.2 Chromebooks.”

The technologists emphasize using technology as a tool and not a toy, proving that even the youngest students are capable of learning skills that will serve them well throughout their education and beyond, such as using appropriate tools to demonstrate learning, understanding changing technologies and their purpose in education, and receiving training for potential moves to remote learning. Specialty applications, such as ReadWrite for Google, Google Classroom and Screencastify, provide enhanced learning opportunities for all students. They also support older students in the efficient and appropriate use of technology. 

Miss Walter and Mrs. Montes expressed thanks to PWPSD for supporting their positions.

"We are sure that teachers are standing in their classrooms, echoing our thanks for the support. This year, more than any other, has proven the need for educational technology support.”


Committee & Meeting Reports

  • Ted Gobin, Transportation Director, presented the Transportation Route Assessment Report.
  • Trustee Knull shared the Public School Boards' Council (PSBC) Report.
  • Trustee McIntosh shared a report on the PSBC Governance Sessions
  • Trustee Anderson reported on the Alberta School Boards' Association (ASBA) Leadership Academy meeting.
  • The Board approved trustee attendance at two virtual conferences: Working Stronger: Building Resilient Workplaces in the Face of Challenges on March 9-10 and the CASS First Nations, Métis and Inuit Gathering on March 15-17.

Upcoming Events

  • ASCA Webinar Wednesdays, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m.:
  • Pink Shirt Day: Wednesday, February 24. Visit the Pink Shirt Day website.
  • ASCA Awards of Merit Nomination Deadline: Sunday, February 28. Nomination forms for School Council Award of Merit, School Council Parent of Distinction Award, Excellence in Learning Partnerships Award, and Division School Council Engagement Award.
  • Kindergarten and new student registration: Opens Tuesday, March 2. Register online at
  • Mighty Peace Teachers' Convention: No school, Thursday - Friday, March 4-5.
  • 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 on Saturday night. 
  • Non-Operational Day: No school, Friday, March 19.
  • Spirit Seekers Virtual Youth Conference: March 19-20. Theme is 'Reimagining the Future'. Register here. More information is available on the Facebook page
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, March 25, 10:30 a.m.
  • General School Councils' Meeting: Tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 30.
Media: Request an interview
A report on news from Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
published following each Board Meeting.

Content and Design:

Angela Sears, Communications Officer, 
Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
Central Office, 8611A-108 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C5  

For more good news, see the News & Announcements section on our website at