Brechin PS fundraises for new, $30,000 playground

On Sept. 27, staff, students and the community of Brechin Public School held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate their brand new playground. For the past two years, a dedicated group of parent and community volunteers helped fundraise over $30,000 for the purchase and installation of the equipment.

The Brechin Parent Council would like to thank the Community Foundation of Orillia and Area (CFOA), Brechin & District Lions Club, Brechin’s Wild Wing restaurant, Keggers on The Water, Tony’s One Stop Tire, Brechin Firefighters, Gus Pilger and Pilger Equipment, Allison Reed and David Laird, the Cipolla Family, the fundraising team from Lagoon City and other anonymous supporters for their generous contributions.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at new playground
Brechin PS celebrates opening of new playground

Pictured in photo (left to right): Ken Parker (Brechin Lions Club), Susan Potalivo, Catherine Johnson, Don McAndrew, Zack Cipolla, Deb Hopson, Jerdelle Pilger (Brechin Parent Council Chairperson), Julie Kelsey (Parent council representative), Todd Nie (Brechin PS Principal), Trevor Walker (CFOA), and Keith Dudley (Brechin Lions Club).

Commit to Character: Cooperation

The SCDSB’s 10 values are a key part of our commitment to character education. We refer to our values as our character attributes. Each month our schools recognize and celebrate a different attribute. This month on the blog, we are highlighting ‘cooperation’.

Cooperation: We work together towards shared goals and purposes

Some examples of how we can be cooperative are:

  • listening to others
  • sharing with others
  • taking turns when more than one person wants something
  • compromise when there is a conflict
  • be supportive of other people’s ideas

Some ways that students in our schools learn about and develop cooperation include:

  • using newspaper or magazine articles to find examples of individuals working together towards a common goal
  • after reading a recent book, have students discuss or write about examples of cooperative effort. Are there any places in the book where cooperation might have made a difference?

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Learn more about character education in the SCDSB. 

28 Hyde Park students travel north to Moosonee to create bond with Indigenous students

Twenty-eight Grade 7 and 8 students from the Free the Children Team at Hyde Park Public School in Barrie are returning from a trip that they’ve been planning for months, and it’s one that they’ll never forget.

The purpose of the trip was for the students to learn about truth and reconciliation directly from people vs textbooks. Moosonee Public School has a student body comprised of 98 per cent First Nations or Métis background, and many would have family that experienced residential schools.

To prepare the students, guest speaker Yvonne Morrison, Education Officer with the Indigenous Education Office in Barrie (as part of the Ministry of Education) came to visit the Hyde Park students and gave them a sense of what life has been like for Indigenous youth in northern communities. Yvonne hails from Moose Factory, Ontario and shared her knowledge and experiences.

The teachers and students at Hyde Park had learned that resources were lacking at the school, so significant fundraising took place in order for the students to bring much needed sporting equipment and books to Moosonee. The students also took it upon themselves to have special commemorative Orange Shirt Day t-shirts made to distribute to the students and teachers at the school.

Shannon LeBlanc, Grade 6 teacher, and Sheena McRae, Grade 8 teacher (now Student Success teacher), at Hyde Park Public School were involved in the initial planning of the trip and will continue this relationship with Moosonee Public School to ensure connections and learning continues to take place for years to come.

“These kinds of ongoing and long-term projects are great examples of how to put reconciliation into action,” says Alison Bradshaw, Principal of Indigenous Education, Simcoe County District School Board.

Kathy Whitley, Principal of Hyde Park Public School received a touching letter this week from one of the teachers/parents from Moosonee:


Linus woke up this morning and put on his new orange shirt (though he said he was perhaps not supposed to bring it home) and it reminded me of why this day is so very important.  Because a little girl was not allowed to wear her orange shirt at residential school and all that had transpired in those places, we remember the kids and support the survivors.
The shirts are BEAUTIFUL!  

I can’t thank you enough for all that you and your school have done for our community.  It touches my heart, both as an educator that deals with the fallout of residential school daily and as a parent.

Please thank the kids and the teachers for their support.  I had an amazing time at the feast, especially chatting with your students.  They are remarkable kids.  
The commitment of your teachers is amazing.  They are quite forward thinking and obviously hardworking.  They put the kids first and that is evident.  

Please do come again.  I feel it’s bridging these gaps that is fundamental to understanding.

My heart is truly full!  I am headed to school today with that and THAT is a great way to start a day!  

-Sam (aka Shelley) Hamilton

We are very proud of the teachers and students for doing their part in learning and participating in truth and reconciliation. You have made an impact in Moosonee!

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:


We want to see you/your team in the SCDSB Spotlight!

Next month, we are launching a new feature on the Sharing Simcoe blog, called SCDSB Spotlight. Once a month, we will highlight a team or individual who may:

  • work behind the scenes;
  • go above and beyond in their role;
  • make an impact at SCDSB for students and staff;
  • have implemented a new, successful initiative or program;
  • or who is just a great person/team to work with!

Remember this awesome ASD team from Terry Fox Elementary School? We would like to highlight other teams from across the SCDSB doing great things like they are!

If you would like to get yourself, your team or a colleague in the SCDSB Spotlight, please contact:

Rachael Ogorek, Communications Officer at

Please provide details regarding the employee or team and send a photo (or photos) of the team or individual. A photo can be arranged and taken for you at the Education Centre if necessary.

Along with being featured on the Sharing Simcoe blog, the story will also be shared on SCDSB social media channels.

We’re looking forward to showcasing the amazing work that our staff does across the SCDSB. Hope to see you in the SCDSB Spotlight!

PS: Remember that we also have the SCDSB Stars staff recognition program, available for the public or staff to nominate an outstanding SCDSB employee for going above and beyond!

First day of school photo contest showcases excitement

The first week of school is coming to a close, but excitement levels are still high with many students and staff attending new schools, meeting new friends and getting started on a new school year!

Some students are attending our Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) schools for the very first time, and their smiling faces say it all in the following photos submitted for the #SCDSBfirstdayJK photo contest:

We also received photos from students, parents and staff (even Maverick the therapy dog!) showcasing their excitement for the first day of school earlier this week using #SCDSBfirstday. One brother and sister duo (who happen to be teachers!) even recreated their first day photo from way back when. How cool is that!?  Check them out:

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for the contest. To see more, search #SCDSBfirstday and #SCDSBfirstdayJK on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Two winners (one from #SCDSBfirstdayJK and one from #SCDSBfirstday) will be selected at random early next week and will be contacted to claim their prize! The prize includes SCDSB promo items and school supplies, some of which were kindly donated by Staples.

Happy new school year to all and good luck in the contest!

Commit to Character: Caring

The SCDSB’s 10 values are a key part of our commitment to character education. We refer to our values as character attributes. Each month our schools recognize and celebrate a different attribute. This month on the blog, we highlight ‘caring’.

Caring: We show kindness towards each other

Some examples of how we can be caring:

  • treat people with kindness and generosity
  • help those in need
  • be sensitive to the feelings of others
  • don’t be mean/hurtful
  • think about how your actions will affect others
  • be polite
  • apologize when you need to

Some ways that students in our schools learn about and develop caring include:

  • brainstorm about “Random Acts of Kindness” and discuss how they affect other people and yourself personally
  • select someone who has demonstrated caring towards you and write a letter of thanks and recognition to that person

“We should behave to our friends as we wish our friends to behave to us.” – Aristotle

Learn more about character education in the SCDSB.