Community celebrates the ‘gift of Canada’ at candlelight walk

As we close out Canada’s 150th anniversary, students, staff and community members at Clearview Meadows Elementary School in Stayner decided to celebrate the holiday season by recognizing one of our greatest gifts – the country we live in.

On Dec. 14, the Celebrate Canada Candlelight Walk highlighted the value of living in such a great country. Primary, junior and intermediate students performed Tragically Hip songs in outdoor classrooms, and attendees were invited to bring reusable mugs and plates to honour our natural environment. Once inside, they were asked to travel throughout the school to view each classroom door, decorated to reflect a Canadian province or territory, and to vote on their favourite.

Team Give'r

Team Give’r gives back to SCDSB schools

Fans of the Amazing Race Canada, especially those in Collingwood and surrounding area, have a new mantra, and it is more than just a fun word to say. ‘Give’r’ is a reminder from Amazing Race Canada 2017 second place finishers (and Simcoe County District School Board alumni) Kenneth McAlpine and Ryan Lachapelle to give life everything you’ve got, and while doing so, give back as well.

Since the final episode of the show aired in early September, Kenneth and Ryan, or Team Give’r, as they are affectionately known, have been doing just that – giving back to SCDSB elementary and secondary schools where they grew up. In recent weeks they have visited Admiral Collingwood ES, Birchview Dunes ES, Connaught PS, Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI), Mountain View ES and Worsley ES to share their experiences on the Amazing Race Canada, and to encourage students to embrace their philosophy. The students are taking their message to heart. For example, Birchview Dunes donated a truckload of food to their local food bank as a result of their Thanksgive’r Food Drive.

“We want kids to be inspired by us, how we ran the race and how we gave it all we got. We were at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we never gave up,” stated Kenneth.

Team Give’r attended Admiral Collingwood and Connaught, and met the summer before starting high school at CCI. Since then, they have been “giving it all they’ve got, 100 per cent, full commitment,” said Ryan. “Whether it be your job, your passions in life, anything, just give it your all.”

Forest Hill’s Jordan Boushy wears orange every day in honour of former residential school students

If you happened to visit any of our Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) schools on Friday, Sept. 22, you would have seen a sea of orange. Students and staff across the SCDSB recognized Orange Shirt Day – Every Child Matters, a campaign that is a commitment to ongoing reconciliation in Canada and brings awareness to the former students of residential schools.  

For 10-year-old Forest Hill Public School student, Jordan Boushy, Orange Shirt Day is every day.

“When I heard about the story of Chanie Wenjack last year, I knew I wanted to do something,” said Boushy. “It made me very sad to hear what happened to him and I wanted to help other students learn about residential schools and why it’s important to know about them.”

A public speaking assignment in January gave Jordan an idea. The assignment was to be based on an act of kindness. He decided he would wear an orange shirt every day for a year in honour of Phyllis Webstad having hers taken away as a student, raise awareness of former students of residential schools and would raise funds for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. This week he will be giving a donation of $710.50 to the Centre.

Jennifer Shier, Grade 5 teacher at Forest Hill Public School, recalls his speech from January vividly.

“His speech was so powerful and inspiring,” says Shier. “It was given in a way that was age-appropriate, but that told the story of the shameful treatment of students in residential schools. He explained it in his own words, and it greatly impacted all of us that day.”

Jordan was nervous and excited for Orange Shirt Day last Friday, but made his mark by visiting classrooms and reading his speech to students and staff.

“What Jordan is doing is nothing short of amazing,” says Shier. “It’s one thing to recognize and be part of an initiative for a day, but to be this committed, to follow through and be this passionate about something so important is truly exceptional.”

We couldn’t agree more! Thank you Jordan for being an inspiration to others and sharing your knowledge about residential schools, truth and reconciliation. We are very #SCDSBproud of you!

Here’s a look at what schools across the SCDSB were up to for #OrangeShirtDay2017:


Zach officially makes tracks and starts his journey to Ottawa

The day finally arrived on Sunday, August 13 when 13-year-old Zach Hofer took his first steps on his journey to Ottawa with a Big Send-Off event. Zach has been raising funds for youth mental health and the RVH Foundation since the beginning of the year, and what a journey it’s been.

With the entire community of Barrie behind him, including the mayor and government officials, his friends and staff from Codrington Public School and the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB), media near and far, and numerous organizations and businesses supporting as donors and sponsors, it’s been an incredible ride. He shattered his initial goal of raising $10,000 and funds raised have skyrocketed to $55,000 and counting.

Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is aware of and impressed by Zach’s accomplishments!

“I have been touched by the engagement of young people like Zach on the issue of mental health,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “I look forward hopefully to meeting with Zach when he comes to Ottawa and I certainly know he will be very well received by my government because the issue he is championing is one that matters not just to our government but to all Canadians.”

The Big Send-off featured both Rock 95 and Kool FM on site, cheque presentations for the Zach Makes Tracks campaign, photo opportunities with Zach and his now-iconic tour bus, and speeches from Zach’s mother Shelley Hofer, media personalities and community supporters. Also present for the day and part of the speech presentations was Annaleise Carr, one of Zach’s inspirations who had a successful campaign of her own in 2012.

Annaleise became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario in 2012 at the age of 14. She began her swim in Niagara-on-the-Lake and finished in Toronto. Over $100,000 was raised on that swim alone, with all proceeds benefiting children and families at Camp Trillium, a camp created for children with cancer. She set out on another swim in 2014, this time across Lake Erie and raised $230,000 for Camp Trillium.

“I just want to say to Zach, you got this!”, said Carr. “You’re amazing, I’m so proud of you and I’m so happy to be here. You’re already a winner in my eyes, just for having a big dream, a big heart and for trying your hardest. You’ve reached your goal, you’ve worked so hard and you’re already a winner.”

We are so #SCDSBproud of Zach and look forward to following the rest of his journey. We’ll be watching the news and on social media for his big arrival in Ottawa on September 10! For more information and updates, visit 

A season of celebrations in the SCDSB

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) experienced a flurry of celebrations this past spring, with six schools holding milestone events. From official grand openings to 50th anniversaries, students and staff, along with community members and dignitaries, were brought together to either commemorate a new school or take a trip down memory lane.

Events included:

  • Severn Shores PS grand opening: May 2
  • Orillia SS grand opening: May 9
  • Eastview SS 50th anniversary: May 12 & 13
  • Cameron Street PS 50th anniversary: May 13
  • Nottawasaga & Creemore PS 50th anniversary: June 8
  • Lake Simcoe PS grand opening: June 20

Each celebration highlighted the talent of students through musical performances and artwork. Students even played the role of Master of Ceremonies at one event! School spirit was evident in the halls and gymnasiums where people gathered to show their support and give congratulations to their school communities.

Here is a snapshot of the celebrations that took place:
(Eastview SS event photo credit: Brian Chisholm)

Congratulations to all school communities celebrating a milestone this year!

Stayner Collegiate Institute celebrates Canada 150

Over the next few weeks, as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, we’re highlighting some of the Canada 150 celebrations at schools across the SCDSB.

A sea of red and white could be seen everywhere you looked around Stayner Collegiate Institute (SCI) on May 18 as they hosted A Canadian Celebration event for their students and Grade 7 and 8 students from Clearview Meadows E.S., Byng P.S., Nottawasaga Creemore P.S. and New Lowell P.S.

Students enjoyed a day filled with a wide variety of workshops, activities and games including crokinole and other Canadian board games, floor hockey, football, lawn bowling, maker spaces, butter tart baking, art activities and a Great Canadian Bake Sale.

The backdrop to the day’s events were the stunning gardens blooming with 2,150 red and white tulips offered to the school from Canada’s Garden Council in conjunction with Vesey’s Bulbs of PEI. SCI’s garden is one of 149 gardens planted across Canada linked to a flagship 150th Celebration Garden Promenade in Niagara Falls.

Take a peek into the day’s events in this video:

From the artwork on the walls, to the tulips blooming in the gardens and the smiling faces of students and staff enjoying the celebration, every detail of the event was truly special for all who attended and very Canadian, eh?

Gifts for our Tiny Teachers

Roots of Empathy Baby Celebration 2017

On May 29, the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) celebrated our sixth year of Roots of Empathy, a unique program that brings a Tiny Teacher – a baby in their first months of life – into elementary classrooms. The 2016-17 school year saw Roots of Empathy in almost 30 SCDSB schools, led by volunteers, SCDSB staff and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) Public Health Nurses.

This year we celebrated the remarkable contributions of all of our Roots of Empathy instructors, families and babies with a picnic at the Education Centre. Hope Park, a volunteer instructor who has been facilitating the program in the SCDSB since 2012, was honoured for five years of service with the program. Director of Education Steve Blake and many SCDSB superintendents of education were in attendance to meet and thank our little ones and their families, and acknowledge the power of the program and the work of all of our Roots of Empathy Instructors.


Roots of Empathy is an international evidence-based program that started in Toronto. By observing the growth and development of the baby and the attachment between the baby and their parents, students in Roots programs learn to be more caring and empathic global citizens. Since 2000, the program has been evaluated in numerous independent research studies, which have shown that children who participate in the program demonstrate decreased aggression and increased social and emotional understanding, empathy, knowledge of parenting and pro-social behavior (e.g. sharing, helping and including). This program supports our board’s work to ensure equitable, inclusive, safe and caring schools.

For further information, please contact the Roots of Empathy key point persons for the SCDSB, Stephanie Ross and Denise Cole, at