What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Innovation Fund Projects Benefit Students in Rainbow Schools

A number of innovative projects are being implemented in Rainbow Schools to support student success in elementary and secondary schools. The projects are being funded through the Rainbow District School Board’s $150,000 Innovation Fund.

"The Innovation Fund was established in the 2004-2005 budget to foster best practices and inspire new creative ideas for programming for students,” said Rainbow District School Board Chair Dena Morrison. “The projects funded to date have had a positive and powerful impact on elementary and secondary students in Rainbow Schools.”

Projects include the popular “Pay It Forward” character education initiative, the installation of amplification systems in primary classrooms, Lighthouse classes to model new teaching strategies, the new Business Certificate Program, the Police Mkwa Opportunity Education Circle, and a Tele-Robotics initiative.

“Response to the Innovation Fund, now in its third year, continues to be outstanding,” said Director of Education Jean Hanson. “We commend everyone who took the time to share their innovative ideas. Creativity is alive and well in Rainbow Schools, evident by the excellence, energy and enthusiasm displayed in the projects submitted for consideration.”

Projects were selected based on their degree of innovation and their ability to expand on existing learning opportunities, enhance student achievement and be implemented in other schools.

2006-2007 Innovation Fund Projects in Rainbow Schools

Shortwave Radio
In this innovative project, the emphasis will be on listening, reading and writing. A shortwave radio will be introduced into the Grade 4 class at Central Manitoulin Public School in Mindemoya. Students will listen to shortwave radio broadcasts and write about their experiences as part of the language arts program. Listening to international radio stations will enable students to wander the globe as media detectives and geographic explorers from the comfort of their classroom on Manitoulin Island.

Renewable Energy in Schools
Students at Chelmsford Valley District Composite School will explore energy options, conduct scientific experiments and promote creative solutions to today’s energy issues. Students will take concepts from the classroom to the next level of innovation and design, using solar kits to build solar-powered mechanisms. At the senior level, students will produce a solar vehicle and compete in annual eco-events. The solar panels may also be used to power the school’s new hydroponics lab, an energy conservation effort aimed at showing students the potential of renewable energy.

YMCA John Island Rejuvenation
Twenty co-op students from Lasalle Secondary School, under the direction of their construction teacher, are building new cabins for John Island Camp – a partnership between the YMCA, Cambrian College, the Rainbow District School Board and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). At the end of the semester, students will have earned credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The students will also be registered as general carpentry apprentices.

Podcast Radio Station
One of the fastest growing digital medias, podcasting involves the recording of audio and/or video programming which is then distributed to subscribers through the Internet. Students at Espanola High School will run their own podcast (Spartan Radio) and will share their productions with the world community. In the process, they will learn how to create radio programming on the Internet, including planning, writing, performing, recording and engineering news broadcasts, opinion pieces, independent music, radio dramas and other audio programming.

Virtual Art Museum
A virtual museum will be established to showcase the artwork of the Rainbow District School Board’s students at rainbowschools.ca. The Internet provides a timely and cost-effective tool to celebrate the talent of young artists and increase the profile of arts education in Rainbow Schools. Teachers will be able to use the site to prepare art lessons for their respective classes. Teachers and students will engage in creative art projects around a wide range of social, cultural, artistic and other school-based themes.

Snoezelen Room Enhancement
A multi-sensory Snoezelen Room at Gatchell School will enable students to expand their abilities to learn through the senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell. The room will be of special assistance to autistic students, helping them to understand their environment. The enhanced Snoezelen Room at Gatchell School will serve as a model for Rainbow Schools.

Professional Learning Communities and SMART Boards
SMART boards will be installed in select classes at Copper Cliff Public School, Manitoulin Secondary School, Lasalle Secondary School and Lockerby Composite School to build Professional Learning Communities focused on this modern technology. SMART boards allow students and teachers to interact in real time. They engage students in their learning and provide a powerful tool to respond to individual learning styles and accommodate special needs. In Professional Learning Communities, teachers work together to improve instructional practices for the benefit of students. SMART boards will be used to enhance learning in literacy, mathematics, science and other subject areas.

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Media Contact:

Jean Hanson, Director of Education,
Rainbow District School Board, 705.674.3171, ext. 215.