New Modular Classroom Announced for Good Shepherd School

The Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) is pleased to announce that Good Shepherd School will receive a new modular classroom to be in place for the 2017/18 school year.  HFCRD received the news in a letter from the Alberta Government on Monday January 16th.  According to the letter, the request was approved based on Good Shepherd School’s need for student accommodation.

“We are very thankful to the Government of Alberta for providing this new modular classroom for Good Shepherd School,” said HFCRD Board Chair Kelly Whalen.  “The new classroom will allow for more washrooms to be available to students, and will give them increased privacy and accessibility.  This announcement is great news for Good Shepherd School!”

The new modular classroom will be placed at the most northern side of the school attached to the two existing modular classrooms.  The new modular will be used as a regular classroom, and one of the existing Kindergarten classrooms will be converted to provide four additional washroom stalls, including a barrier-free washroom.  Currently, two bathrooms with a total of six stalls serve eight classrooms in the Kindergarten to grade three wing of Good Shepherd School.  The additional washrooms will give students better access to washrooms, and will improve access for students of all abilities and genders.

The ministry will fund 100% of the reasonable costs to deliver and set up the classroom, and 90% of the cost for installation.  HFCRD is currently in the process of submitting all necessary information to the Government of Alberta to ensure the modular classroom will be in place for the 2017/18 school year.

Glenmary School Approved for $750,000 Solar Technology System

Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) is pleased to announce that Glenmary School in Peace River has been selected to receive a Solar Technology System (STS).  The school is one of 36 schools across the province to participate in the Alberta Government’s solar technology initiative for school capital projects which will see the installation of solar panels on Alberta schools.  Part of the Climate Leadership Plan, the STS cost including installation at Glenmary will be fully funded by Alberta Education up to a maximum of $750,000. 

“We are excited to see a $750,000 investment in solar technology at Glenmary School,” said Board Chair Kelly Whalen.  “We strive to be role models for students and to teach them the value of renewable energy.  HFCRD is proud to help protect the environment in any way we can, and this initiative is an excellent way to do just that.”

The announcement came in a letter from Alberta Education received this week, which states that “one of the objectives of this initiative is to gather data on the cost and benefits of incorporating solar technology into school projects.”  To achieve this objective, HFCRD will collect and provide data to Alberta Education on a regular basis.  Some information includes STS scope and costs, energy outcome and savings.

The announcement comes at excellent timing as Glenmary School is currently undergoing a $5.2 million modernization that includes the addition of a CTS lab.  The installation of the solar panels will likely coincide with the current construction in order to reduce disruption to students.  More information about the solar technology initiative is available in the October 26 announcement from Alberta Education.

Know by Heart Video 2 - Celebrating Learning in HFCRD Schools

HFCRD is excited to share and celebrate the learning happening in our classrooms, communities, schools and in connections to the broader world!  The HFCRD Learning Coach team collaborated with HFCRD staff to create this video of the many great things happening in our schools.  This newest video covers the period of time between September and November 2016.  

This video is just a sample of the many varied ways our students are learning--thank you to students and staff for sharing! This video is part of a video series that showcases the innovative learning happening across HFCRD.  The Know by Heart Video 1 - Showcasing Innovating Learning in HFCRD can be found on the HFCRD Youtube Channel here.  

If you are interested in more information regarding any of the activities in the video, please ask any HFCRD Learning Coach. 

Glenmary School Construction Update

The Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) is pleased to provide a construction update for the Glenmary School modernization.   The modernization is going as planned with minor scheduling changes.  HFCRD thanks Jen-Col Construction for their constant communication with our school division and for disrupting classes and exams as little as possible.  


Demolition of Staff Room Underway

Demolition of the staff room is currently underway.  Demolition is nearly complete and the transformation into new science labs will begin in the coming weeks.  Higher noise levels can be expected in the next month from the new science labs.  Thanks to Jen-Col Construction for arranging for the louder work to be completed in the evenings and weekends when possible.  Students and staff continue to be prohibited from entering all construction areas.  

Thank you to Jen-Col Construction for providing photos of the demolition:

Air Quality Assessment

Jen-Col Construction is closely monitoring the air quality in the hallway outside of the current construction.  Many students, staff and community members have asked why the sensors are necessary.  The sensors test the air quality in the hallway every eight hours and ensure that the construction occurring inside the former staff room will not affect the air quality throughout the school.  These sensors are very important and we thank students and staff for not touching them.


New Construction Fencing at Front of School

Fencing has been placed around the front area of the school.  No students or staff are allowed behind the fencing, or allowed to access the left doors at the front entrance.  Behind the fencing, the greenhouse will be demolished very soon and the screw pilings will be installed.  The main entrance of the school will be inaccessible for one weekend.  Anyone visiting the school that weekend will be asked to enter the school through the front doors near the school sign.  The dates of this part of construction will be announced when confirmed.

The demolition of the storage room behind the drama room will begin January 23rd.  After the modernization is complete, that room will be connected to the classroom behind it and will have significant upgrades.


St. Andrew’s School Social Justice Committee Leads the Way for Reconciliation in Alberta Schools

The St. Andrew’s School Social Justice Committee:
Front L-R: Nicole Beaver, Cassidy Chalifoux, Juliann Carrier
Back L-R: Derian New, Kathleen Gillmor, Darien Giroux

The Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) wishes to recognize the St. Andrew’s School Social Justice Committee for their outstanding work in the Creating Spaces of Reconciliation in Schools: Recommendations for Education Leaders document that provides comprehensive strategies that aim to educate and inform the general public, and accelerate reconciliation in schools.  Facilitated by the Centre for Global Education, the committee collaborated with students from across the province to create the robust document full of practical recommendations for schools.  The collaboration process included a diverse student voice comprised of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous provincial representation who reside on Treaty 6, 7 and 8 lands.  The collaboration process was completely student-driven.  The document can be found here. 

St. Andrew’s School was one of the first schools in the province to join in this important work with the Centre for Global Education, and is now a model for other schools.  When asked if they are making a difference, students overwhelmingly responded “Yes, we feel we are making a difference!”  Most members have been strong members of the committee for over three years while completing the majority of the committee work after school.  

“My junior high Social Studies teacher said if you don’t like something, go change it.  So I did,” said grade 12 student Alixaundria Lamothe.  “When you’re a kid, sometimes people don’t listen to you.  This committee gives us the opportunity to make real change and be listened to.  Being on the committee has improved me and made me a better version of myself.”

The Social Justice Committee attending a Video Conference, facilitated by the Centre for Global Education

The committee, created in 2013, is strongly committed to their passionate goal of creating change in Alberta schools.  Students hope to meet with Minister of Education David Eggen soon to present the document and discuss their recommendations. 

“I am so proud of the work of this committee.  The province is looking at us as a model for what reconciliation looks like,” said Teacher Dan Gillmor.  “Our committee wants to have a voice moving forward.  We want to be a voice in the conversation of curriculum redesign.”

Students are not afraid to tackle the tough issues in order to better understand and create the best outcomes possible.  Sensitive topics often come up during the committee’s work, which can cause overwhelm for students, but through curiosity and empathy, their discussions eventually lead to a better understanding of issues and better acceptance of others.

“In 2013 when we started, there was a lot of anger.  As students learned more about reconciliation, they became determined to find a resolution and share it with everybody,” said Teacher Jessica Richardson.  Students expressed their own struggles with reconciliation and with the world around them.  They say the committee has helped them to accept themselves and each other as they are.   

“Since joining the Social Justice Committee, I’ve realized how racist my previous experiences have been,” said grade 12 student Nicole Beaver.  “Here I was accepted right from the beginning.  I’m proud to be on the Social Justice Committee.  We’re going for the big dream.”

Social Justice Committee members with then-Premier Dave Hancock

The Social Justice Committee has given students new opportunities to learn and to participate provincially.  Through video conferencing, they have met students from across the province and been observed by several universities.  Some committee members even had the opportunity to meet with then-Premier Dave Hancock.

“I am so grateful to the Social Justice Committee for their outstanding work in our school.  I have witnessed the valuable effects of their hard work first hand.  Each strategy they implement embeds reconciliation in our school culture a little bit more,” said St. Andrew’s School Principal Marc Lamoureux.  “I sincerely hope schools across the province hear their recommendations as they have truly displayed wisdom beyond their years.”

In addition to their impressive work in creating the aforementioned document, the committee has already taken giant leaps toward their goal of educating and informing others about reconciliation in their own community.  The school has hosted many cultural celebrations and fostered awareness of cultural issues.  Some examples include:

-    Orange Shirt Day,

-    Sister Walk for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women,

-  A video of interviews with students and staff about their knowledge to enhance awareness of reconciliation and stereotypes,

-    Rock your Mocs

-   Cultural events such as hoop dancing, camps, and walks

-   Participating in the upcoming documentary Cree Code Talker

-   Web-based conferences with elders to discuss residential school experiences

The committee is always welcoming new members of all backgrounds and truly believes that ‘a card doesn’t prove who you are; you are who you are.’

“We couldn’t have done this work without the support of our teachers, the school and the Centre for Global Education,” said Alixaundria Lamothe.  “They brought us together.”



The St. Andrew's School Social Justice Committee invites you 
to the premiere of

Cree Code Talkers

at St. Andrew's School on January 18th at 7:00pm



Cree Code Talkers is a short 15 minute documentary about
Charles "Checkers" Tomkins from Grouard who was a
Cree Code Talker during WWII.  


Glenmary School Students Will Represent Alberta at the 2017 World Indigenous Games

Congratulations to Darius Anderson and Ashley Rafferty of Glenmary School who will represent Alberta at the 2017 World Indigenous Peoples’ Games.  Both students will travel to Toronto for the games from July 16 – 23, 2017.  Darius, a grade 11 student, will be playing badminton doubles and singles.  Ashley, also a grade 11 student, will be playing on the Team Alberta volleyball team.

“When I got the news, I was so excited.  I called my grandma and my dad right away.  I am looking forward to going to Toronto.  I have been there a couple of times now but I know this time will definitely be my favourite trip there,” said Darius Anderson.  “Thanks to the Peavine Metis Settlement for helping fund my trip.  Thanks to Mr. Flynn for telling me about the tryouts, and thanks to my parents and coaches for their support.”

Darius and Ashley have been strong athletes within the school for many years.  Darius began playing badminton in grade six and won gold in badminton singles at zones for two years in a row.  Ashley has been playing volleyball since grade five and has played on both school and club teams, winning numerous individual and team awards along the way.

“I am so proud of Darius and Ashley and wish them the best of luck at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Games,” said Physical Education Teacher Darren Flynn.  “Both Darius and Ashley are strong athletes who will represent our school and our province very well on the international stage.”

The pair is very excited to compete against athletes from around the world.  According to the Globe and Mail, over 2000 athletes and cultural delegates from around the world participated in the first World Indigenous Games in 2015.  Canada was selected as the 2017 host by a council of international indigenous leaders in November 2015.

We wish Darius and Ashley the best of luck!

HFCRD Invites St. Andrew’s School Community to Have Their Say in the 2017/18 School Calendar Survey

Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) invites the St. Andrew’s School community to give their feedback for the 2017/18 school calendar.  Although HFCRD does not control bussing, the HFCRD Board of Trustees feels the St. Andrew’s School community should have the opportunity to have its voice represented at the decision-making table.  All feedback gathered will be submitted to the High Prairie School Division Calendar Committee. 

“We encourage all St. Andrew’s School stakeholders to respond to this important survey,” said Board Chair Kelly Whalen.  “We have received a lot of feedback this school year about the school calendar and bussing in High Prairie, and we look forward to forwarding all feedback we receive to the High Prairie School Division for their consideration.”

The survey can be accessed HERE.  The deadline to respond is Wednesday January 25th, 2017.

Holiday Hours at HFCRD

The HFCRD Central Office will be closed
December 24th, 2016 - January 1st, 2017,
and will re-open on January 2nd, 2017 with regular office hours.

HFCRD wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

St. Andrew’s School Christmas Hamper Program Provides for Less Fortunate Families

For the last 12 years, the students and staff of St. Andrew’s School have joined together to donate hampers full of food and gifts, and a family stocking for less fortunate families in High Prairie.  Every year, the hamper program is generously organized by grade 3 students, and their teachers Joanne Lasher and Janella Kosak.  This year, the school collected items for four anonymous families in High Prairie.

“Thank you to the students and staff of St. Andrew’s School for supporting this program year after year,” said organizer and St. Andrew’s School teacher Joanne Lasher.  “Every year, I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity of our students, staff and community.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this.”

The program has been a wonderful way to get the whole school in the giving Christmas spirit and ensures that less fortunate families have food over the holidays and gifts to open on Christmas morning.  The program has been strongly supported for 12 years, with four to five boxes of donations going to each family.  The items are delivered by a small group of staff members to ensure the families remain anonymous.

“Thank you to Joanne and Janella, and their grade 3 students for organizing this program every year,” said St. Andrew’s School Principal Marc Lamoureux.  “As a school, we strongly encourage our staff and students to model Catholic citizenship within our community and this program is a reflection of that.  I am proud of our staff and students for supporting our community so generously each year.”

Holy Family Catholic Regional Division and Northern Lakes College Announce Experiential Training Partnership and #TransformingTrades Contest

Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) and Northern Lakes College (NLC) are pleased to announce their new partnership that provides experiential trades training for students at Glenmary School.  Betty Turpin, HFCRD Superintendent, and Ann Everatt, NLC President & CEO, announced the partnership at the NLC Peace River Campus with many Glenmary School students in attendance and broadcasted over Facebook Live to media, business and industry around the region at the NLC Peace River Campus.  The experiential training, which began December 5th, includes the following programs: Crane and Hoist, Basic Woodworking, Millwrighting, Basic Electrical and Heavy Equipment Technician training.  These programs will allow students to gain valuable experience, while earning high school credits, that will likely make their career choices easier after they graduate.

The Mobile Trades Labs, where the majority of the training will take place, are units that can be moved and set up in various communities around the NLC service region providing opportunities for trades training in communities where traditional trades delivery is not available. 

“HFCRD and Glenmary School are very pleased to be working with NLC to continuously improve the career training opportunities in the North,” said Superintendent Betty Turpin.  “We thank NLC for working with us to provide this unique opportunity for our students.  Together, we are transforming trades.”

Further, Ann Everatt announced the #TransformingTrades contest where students enrolled in the program could win an iPad simply by using the hashtag #TransformingTrades, in their social media posts along with a ‘selfie’ with the equipment and a brief statement about what they were learning or which career they were working towards. The contest will close on January 27th, the final day of Peace River classes in the Mobile Trades Lab.

“Northern Lakes College is dedicated to partnerships that provide experiential college-level programming to local high school students, encouraging students to continue their education after high school. Future prosperity of northern Alberta is reliant upon educated Albertans living and staying in the north,” said Everatt. “Holy Family Catholic Regional Division has been instrumental in helping to develop an experiential program with Northern Lakes College giving Peace River students hands-on, real-world learning.”

After the announcement, students were given a tour of the Mobile Trades Lab, many seeing where they will start their hands-on training in a few short days. Tours of the Peace River Campus were provided, which gave the high school students an opportunity to see first-hand their local campus and to ask questions about college studies and college life.

An open house for business, industry and employers to tour the Mobile Trades Lab and speak to program representatives will be held towards the end of January 2017.

For more information on the #TransformingTrades campaign, go to the Northern Lakes College or Holy Family Catholic Regional Division Facebook pages.  The live video of the announcement is available at