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osprey 1Osprey Central School in Maxwell has been selected as one of only 10 schools in Ontario to receive a 2017-18 Premier's Award for Accepting Schools for its exceptional and innovative efforts in creating a safe, accepting, and inclusive learning and working environment. By focusing on creating cross-cultural bridges through initiatives such as You Are Responsible For Yourself (YARFY), a Self-Study Action Research approach to professional development, and inclusive extra-curricular activities, Osprey has reaped the benefits of a flourishing school culture cherished by students, staff, and families alike.

Bluewater District School Board Trustee Jim Dawson, Director of Education Alana Murray, and Superintendent of Education Wendy Kolohon joined the Osprey school community for a special recognition assembly at the school on Wednesday, May 9 to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

Following her opening remarks commending Osprey for creating a welcoming and caring place for all, Director Murray presented a plaque to Principal Ted Voelker for display in the school. Trustee Dawson then presented certificates signed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris to the following recipients: Principal Voelker, Vice-Principal Cathy Griffin, Superintendent Kolohon, student ambassador Mackenzie Smith, Grade 8 teacher Brad Clarke, Early Childhood Educator Julie Madill, and South East Grey Community Health Centre Youth Outreach Worker Brianne MacDowell. Also recognized but not in attendance were student ambassador Ben Groves, South East Grey Community Health Centre Youth Outreach Worker Allison Whitten, and School Council Chair Pam Trafford.

In a touching assembly wrap-up, some of the attendees took turns at the podium sharing their personal thoughts on Osprey's accomplishment. Barb Maedel, former School Council Chair of seven years who also works in the school library and is on the Occasional Professional/Technical supply list, called the school "a great place to be" that has provided a sense of belonging. She also commended the School Council, which has seen healthy growth in recent years, for its hard work in supporting a myriad of initiatives.osprey 2

Osprey student Mackenzie Smith commented on the tremendous work that the school community has done in support of anti-bullying initiatives.

Youth Outreach Worker Brianne MacDowell shared some of the ongoing work occurring through community partnership, including efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles and relationships, after school programs, the creation of a girls' group, the fostering of peer support, and a focus on mental health in addition to physical health.

Teacher Brad Clarke explained how Osprey has focused on the importance of including the student voice, and used that feedback to implement improvements and changes in the school community.

Vice-Principal Cathy Griffin expressed how everyone at Osprey works cooperatively and is always working to be better, and referenced the efforts to offer activities and diverse programs that are accessible to everyone.

Bluewater District School Board congratulates the entire Osprey school community on this prestigious and well-deserved honour.

To learn more about the selection of Osprey Central School as a recipient for one of this year's Premier's Awards for Accepting Schools, please visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/award.html

source: media release, BWDSB

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