Grand Erie celebrates Success for Every Student

Grand Erie District School Board is welcoming students back to school with a focus on student success and recognition.

The Grand Erie Student Recognition Program acknowledges students who have accomplished excellence in the areas of academics, athletics, and the arts, as well as excellence in the community.

“We are really proud of our students and what they can accomplish,” said David Dean, Chair of the Board. “It’s an honour to recognize their success through our student recognition program.”

Launched in February 2016, 17 individual students and groups from all areas of the district have been recognized formally by the Board of Trustees for their varying successes and achievements.

Among the recipients recognized include a brother and sister who won titles at the American Quarter Horse Association Youth World Championships, three students who danced on stage with Cirque De Soleil at the Pan Am Games, and a group of students who earned their Diplôme D`études en Langue Française.

Students are celebrated at the monthly Regular Board Meetings. Nominations are submitted by school staff and accepted all year.Student recognition is aligned with the launch of Grand Erie’s new 2016-2020 Multi-Year Plan. The Board of Trustees approved a new strategic direction to guide the work of the Board with the goal of Success for Every Student. The goal will be achieved through a focus on students and staff in a culture of high expectations.

“Success looks different for everyone and is demonstrated in our schools each day,” said Brenda Blancher, Director of Education. “As students strive to reach his or her desired purpose, we look forward to creating the conditions for them to succeed and celebrate their stories of success.”

For more information about the Student Recognition Program and the Success for Every Student Multi-Year Plan, visit

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.