Grand Erie’s Website Gets a New Look for Back-to-School

This summer, some big changes happened to Grand Erie’s website. With improved design and functionality, it arrived just in time for back-to-school. We’re thrilled to introduce you to Grand Erie’s shiny new online home!

The changes you’ll notice give the website a new overall look and feel, while allowing for better dissemination of system and school news, as well as the integration of social media. The website is also AODA compliant in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and streamlines content to whichever device you’re using. This will allow us to keep you informed about everything that’s going on in Grand Erie in the most timely and efficient manner.

Each Grand Erie school has a new website as well, so expect to find everything you need to know about your, or your child’s school, with messages from the principal, and news and events featured more prominently than before. You’ll also find transportation information, bell times, and staff directories in easy-to-find locations. Also displayed are the latest posts on social media.

Important news, days of significance, and interesting events from across Grand Erie are featured more prominently. Feature stories and media releases are available on the Newsroom page. Throughout the new website, you’ll learn more about Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, and how it fits into the events, initiatives, and programs happening throughout the year.

The optimal browser to surf the new site is Chrome. We hope the new design provides a user-friendly web experience, with visual storytelling in the spotlight.

Good Food Adds Up to Good Learning at Courtland Pubic School

Evidence suggests that breakfast and snack programs in schools:

  • Improves children’s school performance, memory and test grades
  • Enhances students’ physical, emotional, social and intellectual development
  • Increases attendance rates, particularly for nutritionally at risk children
  • Provides additional time for children to eat and drink nutritious breakfasts and snacks
  • Provides energy for students to be more physically
  • Enhances nutritional status of students by replacing the consumption of foods with low nutritional value with more nutritious choices, such as more vegetables and fruit
  • Promotes a sense of community by bringing people together to ensure all children are well-nourished
  • Leads to better dietary habits by increasing the frequency of eating breakfast
  • Reduces the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies


With the generous support of the Child Nutrition Network and the Grand Erie District School Board, the school was able to renovate a room in the school into a nutrition program kitchen. Funds provided by the Child Nutrition Network and school fundraising monies purchase the good food and materials needed to run the program.

Every morning at 8 a.m., parent volunteers and their children arrive to prepare and distribute the food for the day. This program would not happen without their enthusiastic support.

Each serving of food includes a dairy product (i.e. yogurt, cheese string), a grain product (i.e. crackers, mixed cereal, muffin, whole wheat bun) and a fruit product (i.e. apple, banana, clementine orange, grapes, juice) or a vegetable product (i.e. cucumber slices, raw carrots). A container filled with food is delivered to each classroom and as children get settled for a day of learning, staff and students are encouraged to help themselves to a delicious and nutritious start to the day.

“Nutrition programs, such as the one at Courtland Public School, are happening in many schools within the Grand Erie District School Board. It’s a huge effort supported by the Board, volunteers and community agencies. Working together, it’s amazing what can be done. We feel most grateful to have this opportunity for our Courtland school community”, says principal Deb Opersko.

Roots of Empathy

Courtland Public School offers the Roots of Empathy program in our Kindergarten A classroom. Our Early Childhood Educator, Mrs. L. Wildman is a trained Roots of Empathy instructor. Our Roots of Empathy baby and her mom are welcome visitors to the classroom.

An explanation of program, from the Roots of Empathy website is included below:

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program reaches elementary schoolchildren from Kindergarten to Grade 8. In Canada, the program is delivered in English and French and reaches rural, urban, and remote communities including Aboriginal communities. Roots of Empathy is also delivered in New Zealand, the United States, Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Emotional Literacy

At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor coaches students to observe the baby's development and to label the baby's feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the "Teacher" and a lever, which the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. This "emotional literacy" taught in the program lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms, where children are the "Changers". They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties. In the

Roots of Empathy program children learn how to challenge cruelty and injustice. Messages of social inclusion and activities that are consensus building contribute to a culture of caring that changes the tone of the classroom. The Instructor also visits before and after each family visit to prepare and reinforce teachings using a specialized lesson plan for each visit. Research results from national and international evaluations of Roots of Empathy indicate significant reductions in aggression and increases in pro-social behaviour.