November 11, 2011                                                                                           

Education Minister Applauds DSBN Schools 

 

The province has its eye on Eastdale and Grimsby Secondary Schools, with good reason.

As winners of the 2010-11 Premier’s Safe Schools Awards, both schools are being recognized as leaders in creating safe and inclusive learning environments. At a stop in Welland Thursday afternoon, Ontario’s new Minister of Education said she wants to learn more about the supports each school has in place and share those suggestions with other schools across the province.

“I don’t have to tell you how important it is to feel safe at school,” the Hon. Laurel Broten told the audience at Eastdale Secondary. “We know that students who feel safe and supported in their learning environment will be more motivated and successful in school.”

“You should all be proud of the work you have done and are doing to make your schools safe,” added Broten.

Eastdale Principal Ed Stavnitzky credits his students for working so hard to create a positive school atmosphere. “Students have really led this push to make Eastdale the best it can be. They really deserve this acknowledgement,” said Stavnitzky.

Some of the initiatives Eastdale has in place to combat bullying are an online incident reporting system, the Love is Louder campaign to support struggling classmates and the Day of Silence to show empathy for victims of bullying.

At Grimsby Secondary School, students formed a bullying prevention club that makes classroom visits, presents at assemblies and spends time working with younger students at area feeder schools. Grimsby also has positive signage in place that lets students and visitors know that bullying isn’t tolerated at the school.

“I can’t say enough about what our students have done here,” said Jim Heywood, Grimsby Principal. “The high school years are so important to a young person's academic, social and emotional development. Our students understand this and have worked hard to create a climate where everyone feels accepted.”

While at Eastdale, Minister Broten also announced that the nominations for the 2011-12 Premier’s Safe Schools Awards were officialy open. The deadline for nominations is February 17, 2012.

Although bullying is a problem that school boards and the province will continue to confront, Minister Broten said the work being done in Niagara leaves her feeling very hopeful for the future.

For more information on the Premier’s Safe Schools Awards, please visit http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/award.html.