This year we helped to facilitate many innovative opportunities to engage and inspire our students, from experiential learning events to sports tournaments to robotics competitions.
Loud and Proud
In May, more than 500 grades 5-8 students from across the district participated in the fourth annual Loud and Proud mass band event at Stratford Northwestern SS.
The event promotes music education in our elementary schools and features the unique learning opportunity of instrumental music that is available to our students. This year, students benefited from the expertise of several guest clinicians from Western University, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Stratford Concert Band.
Each spring, elementary schools gather to present dance routines to each other and the general public in an event called the Dance Showcase.
Due to the success of this event, this year there were two performances instead of just one – one at Stratford Northwestern SS and one at Seaforth Public. Both performances featured a mass dance routine choreographed by Stratford Central SS students.
Visit twitter.com/danceshowAMDSB to see videos of our aspiring dancers.
Battle of the Bots
2018 brought the fourth annual Battle of the Bots robot building challenge event hosted by Stratford-based D&D Automation. Each year they invite schools to enroll teams to compete. Groups of students got an autonomous lego robot kit a week prior to the event and instructions to build it.
Competitors had most of the morning to debug and make upgrades to the robots and their respective codes before the competition began. Then there were a set of seven tasks – have the robot touch a plate, identify a colour and go over a ramp, for example – worth a varying amount of points.
This year, the top two teams were Grade 7/8s from Mitchell DHS and third place went to Sprucedale PS.
District Cross Country
800 students from Avon Maitland gathered at Falls Reserve, Benmiller on Wednesday October 10th to showcase their passion for cross country running. Students from grades 2 to 8 (and possibly a few from Grade 1) enjoyed a gorgeous weather day and spirited competition. A skilled team of volunteers and coaches kept things running safely and smoothly. Falls Reserve staff had everything in great shape. Spectators were also very helpful in staying clear of the course.
St. Donat Excursion
Core French students across our district had the opportunity to spend 5 days in St. Donat Quebec in February, doing workshops and outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, skating and cooperative games, tout en français!
“I loved the trip! I had a blast all 5 days. Everyone was very welcoming and I felt very welcome! I definitely recommend this trip!” – Daniel, participant 2018.
Mitchell DHS Drama teacher Cam Oates wrote and directed Grade 8 students in a play with a strong environmental message, ECOSquad. The elementary drama club dedicated themselves to rehearsing and performing this original play at several area schools.
The endeavour received provincial funding aimed at reducing our carbon footprint. It included original sets and music and incorporated some key components of elementary curriculum, specifically getting outside and protecting the environment.
FunTECH is an event designed to expose students aged 7-14 to careers in the skilled trades and provide an opportunity for some experiential learning. Workshops include tech design, construction, hospitality, robotics, sewing, and more. 430 students elementary students participated and 150 high school students volunteered to help. Participating elementary students were transported to one of four secondary school hosts (CHSS, DCVI, LDSS, and FEMSS). Community partners such as Technical Training Group (TTG), Conestoga and Fanshawe colleges, D&D Automation, provide expertise and help to make it all happen.
Great Lakes Microplastics Project – Love Your Greats, Be the Change
Students in grades 3 – 7 from nine of our schools participated in an experiential learning opportunity involving the Great Lakes and Microplastics.
Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and Jenn Pate from Love Your Greats recently introduced students to the local microplastics issue in our rivers and lakes. Bluewater Recycling Association assisted the 9 schools on refining practice in “Refusing, Reducing, Reusing and Recycling”. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority taught students about our local watershed (streams, rivers, lakes) and how our daily actions impact our most prized resource, The Great Lakes.
Three Pathways Career and Information fairs were held this year to give students and their parents the opportunity to learn about all the available pathways to future careers, meet representatives from programs such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM, interact with local post-secondary institutions and associations such as the Home Builders Association.
The REAL DEAL on Skilled Trades
Female students in grades 9-12 were invited to attend two events in 2018 geared exclusively toward inspiring young women to consider a career in the skilled trades.
Students and their parents heard from young tradeswomen and had the opportunity to ask about each woman’s career journey and experiences. They found out what they need to begin doing now to pursue their future career goals and were motivated to blaze their own trail as a female in a non-traditional skilled trade.