When the Prairie Valley School Division was created six years ago to amalgamate 11 school divisions into one division with 38 schools around Saskatchewan’s capital of Regina, it included a wide variety, from ones serving rural and suburban communities as well as 15 independent First Nations and two Hutterite colonies.
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Parkland School Division 70 is a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams. That is the new vision statement of the division, which is focused on ensuring students are capable of critical thinking rather than students who are able to simply memorize and repeat information.
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The students and faculty at OCAD University, formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design, are constantly producing award-winning and internationally acclaimed works. For instance, Creative Quarterly, a design industry publication based in New York City, chose a work created by Doug Panton, OCAD U professor and chair of first-year design, to feature in its fall 2012 issue. An OCAD U alumna, Julie Moon, is one of five finalists for a $10,000 RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Oct. 2. Over the summer, nine OCAD U grads received Applied Arts Student Awards given by Applied Arts magazine, which reviewed a record number of submissions from various countries including Singapore, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.
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Reducing the disconnect between education and local jobs is the mission of Grande Prairie Regional College. Located five hours’ driving distance from the largest city in Alberta, Grande Prairie’s 55,000 people are close to the agricultural and energy industries and at the hub of a trading population of more than 250,000. “Grande Prairie is on the edge of exploration in Alberta, so our industries are gas and oil and lumber,” President and CEO Don Gnatiuk notes. “We understand that some of the TransCanada pipeline will be passing just south of us.”
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Paul Bennett knows there are a lot of challenges that come with educating children in a small, isolated community, but the rewards are substantial. Before taking his current position as superintendent of Peace River School Division in northwestern Alberta in 2009 (he was the division’s deputy superintendent beginning in 2007), Bennett taught K-12 at a small school in the region, and then became principal at a school in Newfoundland with only 50 students. He says his experiences working in such small, tight-knit communities gave him an understanding and appreciation of the issues families face as well as the commitment they have. “Parents [here] tend to be fairly involved in their children’s education,” he says.
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Some districts continue to use the methods that have worked for them in the past, but Evergreen School Division is committed to preparing its learners for today’s world. Superintendent and CEO Paul Cuthbert says the division is proactive and innovative in finding new methods to educate students. “We need to provide learning environments for students that model the environments they’re going to experience when they leave school,” he states.
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The growth of the oil, gas and mining industries in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador presents the region both with great economic opportunity as well as the challenge of meeting the need for a qualified local workforce. The province’s public college is rising to this challenge by working closely with staff, students and government officials to make sure it offers the programs needed to fill the expected influx of jobs with the right people.
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Cape Breton University (CBU) sits on an island unto itself. CBU is located on Cape Breton Island, which is part of Nova Scotia and is situated northeast of the province. However, much like the island itself, CBU has not allowed its physical location to limit its global stature. When John Harker stepped in as CBU president in 2003, he saw the school’s untapped potential to change the local and global communities. “There was a need, I thought, for the university to help identify how we could embrace the knowledge-based economy,” Harker explains.
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