​​The Quest Conference offers opportunities to address the learning style and needs of each attendee! The conference will host inspiring speakers, personalized learning sessions, the Quest Playground & Artonomy, interactive exhibits and student projects.

We look forward to another inspiring and motivational year!

7:30 am – 8:15 am Registration/Continental Breakfast
8:15 am – 8:30 am Opening Ceremony  
8:35 am – 8:55 am Student Performance
9:00 am – 9:15 am Welcome – Director of Education
9:20 am – 9:35 am Introduction to Quest 2018
9:40 am – 10:25 am Keynote Address – Dr. Jean Clinton
10:30 am – 10:35 am Daily Physical Activity (DPA)
10:35 am – 10:45 am Health Break/Travel Break

Morning Sessions

The Playground at Quest is an experiential modern learning environment that showcases activities that support authentic engagement, voice and deep learning. This year, the Playground is pleased to showcase two robust challenges featuring student participants: The Design Challenge and a Maker Showcase. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at Digital Story Telling, Gamified Learning, an Eco Challenge, Move and Learn, Loose Parts, Collaborative Art, Coding, and Adaptive Technology. Embrace you inner child and come and play in The Playground!
Lisa Donohue, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, York Region Public Health
Shailah Damji, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher,York Region Public Health
Repeated in Afternoon
Sutton Public School’s journey to support well-being is well worth sharing both as a model and an example of the kind of authentic, student-focused learning that can take place at any school. Our Quest session will be designed and lead by some of our students, supported by our Public Health nurse, a parent volunteer and our Performance Plus teacher. This is an opportunity to inspire others who are looking to be inclusive and responsive to student needs when determining school goals.
Amber Clements, Public Health Nurse, York Region Public Health
Repeated in Afternoon
This session shares how Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in communities 1400km apart from one another used a collaborative novel study to create a social media campaign on Instagram where they posted impactful photo stories. Born out of the desire to diversify the texts, voices and the worldviews experienced by students in their classroom, this project highlights the power of teacher collaboration and emphasizes a modern learning approach to the English curriculum.
Alicia Pascual, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Lana Kim, Teacher, Pikangikum Education Authority
Repeated in Afternoon
This session helps the audience gain an in-depth understanding of abuse, the different types of abuse. We discuss power and control, explore how bullying and abuse can play out in their classrooms, and examine the impacts of abuse. Participants learn how to recognize and respond to unhealthy situations. Through creative and enthusiastic discussion we will strategically share ways to lead and encourage students to be “Up-stander’s” rather than a “Bystanders”.
Marisa Mei, Public Education Coordinator, Yellow Brick House
Repeated in Afternoon
York Region District School Board has a goal to be a leader in public education by empowering all students to become engaged and caring citizens of the world. Following a recent Outdoor Education Review, the session will share and provide, in partnership with Public Health, York Region Survey Results, Nature Backpacks as a tool to engage schools and families, as well as current impact and next steps in the York Region District School Board.
Tanya Murray, K-12 Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Learning Consultant, York Region District School Board
Carol Karner, R.N., B.Sc.N., York Region Public Health
Repeated in Afternoon
In this session participants will learn how embedding mental health practices can shift classroom culture and improve student and staff well-being. Join us to learn how focused attention on the environment and relationships, as well as developing the skills of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness can transform your classroom.
Ashley Wilson, Intervention Support Worker, York Region District School Board
Cindy Thomas, Intervention Support Worker, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
In this session, following a short introduction about our Dutch educational system, we will explain more about working from a process of oriented vision, We will share some examples of the Dutch way in Education, of measuring well-being and involvement, and the way in which our tracking system can be of assistance. We will complete our presentation by showing some of the possible classroom interventions which can be used to increase the students well-being or involvement.
Martijn Smoors, Educational Consultant, Onderwijs Maak Je Samen
Job Cristians, CEO, Onderwijs Maak Je Samen
Repeated in Afternoon
All students including those with disabilities have a right to an education that support their physical, emotional & mental well-being. Students deserve a safe space where learning is equitable & diverse. How do you build Comm-UNITY in your school to support students with disabilities? This session will provide tools & strategies for educators to foster an inclusive environment, recognizing the collective responsibility to provide meaningful learning opportunities for all students.
Andrea Haefele, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Laura Seckington, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
An interactive workshop where participants will learn about a York Region District School Board parent and community engagement initiative called the “Gathering”. We will share how the project evolved, and discuss challenges and successes. We will also discuss how the data and narratives from all stakeholders have been used to inform school planning and improvement. Participates will then map-out the parent and community voices they would like to hear from to support school planning.
Sara Leung, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Hirosh Abeywardane, Parent, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
Brownridge Public School will share our journey of empowering and embracing student and teacher voice to create an inclusive environment. In our Student Voice Club, student leaders plan and lead character assemblies and workshops on topics that matters to them (Mental Wellness, Inclusivity, etc.). Teachers collaborate in a series of “I Belong Here” projects so students can feel a sense of belonging. Participants will be inspired with an understanding of how to ignite the fire within students and fuel it.
Joanne Suh, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Joe Gold, Principal, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
This presentation will focus on exploring learning disabilities and how they impact our students in math class. Participants will have the opportunity to work through math tasks, analyze student work based on learner profiles, and review a resource with strategies to support students with learning disabilities. We will also be looking at how to plan and support math programming in response to a student's assessed areas of strength and need and how to design supports for students who experience anxiety in math class. This is a tiered approach that focuses on good for all strategies that support all students, are necessary for some and essential for a few.
Sue Ball, Chief Psychologist, York Region District School Board
Kim Hollefriend, Coordinator of Psychological Services, York Region District School Board
TVO is a leader in creating digital resources to promote learning and citizen engagement, both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, TVO is deeply committed to supporting Ontario’s public education agenda with its focus on high levels of student achievement and well-being, excellence, and equity. In this session, participants will be introduced to a number of TVO resources, with a specific focus on promoting the mental health and well-being of our learners.
Erin O'Rourke, Educator & Outreach Support Officer, TVO
Urs Bill, Manager TVO Mathify & Educational Outreach, TVO
Are you eager to be innovative in how you TRANS-form lives? Join the speakers in their quest to improve inclusion for trans and non-binary people in and out of the workplace. This inspiring and interactive session will provide you with practical tools and strategies that you can implement right away.
Bonnie Pedota, Mental Health Trainer & Coach, Canadian Mental Health Association - York Region
Nyk Morrigan, Mental Health Coach, Canadian Mental Health Association - York Region
SCHOOLFirst is a bilingual tool that has been developed to help those in the education system be a Concussion Champion and support youth upon their return-to-school after a concussion. This tool was created in partnership with the York Region District School Board with funding provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This tool will:
-Help individuals understand their role as a Concussion Champion
-Provide ideas on how to support students with a concussion
-Link individuals to resources to help them build their concussion knowledge
-Provide individuals with a planning tool to identify the steps to take to be a Concussion Champion
This session will:
- Provide attendees with an overview of Concussion and its impact on return-to-school
- Showcase the return-to-school resource that has been designed for all members of the education system
- Allow learners to explore the resource and establish a plan for how to use it within their school environment
Becky Green, Superintendent, York Region District School Board
Dr. Nick Reed, Clinician Scientist and Co-Director, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm Student Voice Talks
1:50 pm – 2:35 pm Keynote Address – Kim Katrin Milan
2:40 pm – 3:10 pm Travel Break

Afternoon Sessions

The Playground at Quest is an experiential modern learning environment that showcases activities that support authentic engagement, voice and deep learning. This year, the Playground is pleased to showcase two robust challenges featuring student participants: The Design Challenge and a Maker Showcase. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at Digital Story Telling, Gamified Learning, an Eco Challenge, Move and Learn, Loose Parts, Collaborative Art, Coding, and Adaptive Technology. Embrace you inner child and come and play in The Playground!
Lisa Donohue, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, York Region Public Health
Shailah Damji, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher,York Region Public Health
Repeated in Morning
Sutton Public School’s journey to support well-being is well worth sharing both as a model and an example of the kind of authentic, student-focused learning that can take place at any school. Our Quest session will be designed and lead by some of our students, supported by our Public Health nurse, a parent volunteer and our Performance Plus teacher. This is an opportunity to inspire others who are looking to be inclusive and responsive to student needs when determining school goals.
Amber Clements, Public Health Nurse, York Region Public Health
Repeated in Morning
This session shares how Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in communities 1400 km apart from one another used a collaborative novel study to create a social media campaign on Instagram where they posted impactful photo stories. Born out of the desire to diversify the texts, voices and the worldviews experienced by students in their classroom, this project highlights the power of teacher collaboration and emphasizes a modern learning approach to the English curriculum.
Alicia Pascual, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Lana Kim, Teacher, Pikangikum Education Authority
Repeated in Morning
This session helps the audience gain an in-depth understanding of abuse, the different types of abuse. We discuss power and control, explore how bullying and abuse can play out in their classrooms, and examine the impacts of abuse. Participants learn how to recognize and respond to unhealthy situations. Through creative and enthusiastic discussion we will strategically share ways to lead and encourage students to be “Up-stander’s” rather than a “Bystanders”.
Marisa Mei, Public Education Coordinator, Yellow Brick House
Repeated in Morning
York Region District School Board has a goal to be a leader in public education by empowering all students to become engaged and caring citizens of the world. Following a recent Outdoor Education Review, the session will share and provide, in partnership with Public Health, York Region Survey Results, Nature Backpacks as a tool to engage schools and families, as well as current impact and next steps in the York Region District School Board.
Tanya Murray, K-12 Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Learning Consultant, York Region District School Board
Carol Karner, R.N., B.Sc.N., York Region Public Health
Repeated in Morning
In this session participants will learn how embedding mental health practices can shift classroom culture and improve student and staff well-being. Join us to learn how focused attention on the environment and relationships, as well as developing the skills of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness can transform your classroom.
Ashley Wilson, Intervention Support Worker, York Region District School Board
Cindy Thomas, Intervention Support Worker, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
In this session, following a short introduction about our Dutch educational system, we will explain more about working from a process of oriented vision, We will share some examples of the Dutch way in Education, of measuring well-being and involvement, and the way in which our tracking system can be of assistance. We will complete our presentation by showing some of the possible classroom interventions which can be used to increase the students well-being or involvement.
Martijn Smoors, Educational Consultant, Onderwijs Maak Je Samen
Job Cristians, CEO, Onderwijs Maak Je Samen
Repeated in Morning
All students including those with disabilities have a right to an education that support their physical, emotional & mental well-being. Students deserve a safe space where learning is equitable & diverse. How do you build Comm-UNITY in your school to support students with disabilities? This session will provide tools & strategies for educators to foster an inclusive environment, recognizing the collective responsibility to provide meaningful learning opportunities for all students.
Andrea Haefele, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Laura Seckington, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
An interactive workshop where participants will learn about a York Region District School Board parent and community engagement initiative called the “Gathering”. We will share how the project evolved, and discuss challenges and successes. We will also discuss how the data and narratives from all stakeholders have been used to inform school planning and improvement. Participates will then map-out the parent and community voices they would like to hear from to support school planning.
Sara Leung, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Hirosh Abeywardane, Parent, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
Brownridge Public School will share our journey of empowering and embracing student and teacher voice to create an inclusive environment. In our Student Voice Club, student leaders plan and lead character assemblies and workshops on topics that matters to them (Mental Wellness, Inclusivity, etc.). Teachers collaborate in a series of “I Belong Here” projects so students can feel a sense of belonging. Participants will be inspired with an understanding of how to ignite the fire within students and fuel it.
Joanne Suh, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Joe Gold, Principal, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
How do we narrow the achievement gap? Research is clear that we are ignoring a proven pathway - engaging families in learning. This workshop will take participants from the Core Beliefs of Family Engagement through culturally relevant pedagogy, to interactive practice on strategies for building an inclusive school-home practice. Participants will leave with tools that allow them to begin this work in their classroom.
Nancy Angevine-Sands, Consultant, With Equal Step
Michelle Munroe, Manager, Toronto District School Board
Improving mental health through outdoor learning while making connections to the land and curriculum.
Michelle E. Jones, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Stacey Taylor, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Balancing students’ complex needs in the classroom requires more than a few static accommodations or modifications on an IEP. Educators need holistic and practical ways to think about their students’ needs day by day, class by class, minute by minute. In this presentation we will discuss a model that provides a foundation for understanding and thinking about students’ needs, integrating multiple demands and expectations, and solving problems in real school settings. Attendees will start to think about how much mental energy their students have to spend at school each day, and how to spend that energy wisely to maximize productivity, compliance and mental well-being.
Jennifer Saltzman-Benaiah, Psychologist & Specialty Team Facilitator, Mackenzie Health & Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York
Grounded in the foundations of mental health & equity, we will share our multidisciplinary journey towards a healthier school and workplace. Join us as we share our best practices from a variety of perspectives, and take away practical strategies for you to share with your teams in your schools. We invite you to listen to our stories of success (and failure!), and how every department in your school can work together towards a shared vision for a happier and healthier environment for all.
Rosanna Kerigan, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Mike Schmidt, Department Head of History, York Region District School Board
Educators, parents, and students will introduce inspiring stories of students at a variety of schools, both elementary and secondary, who identified a community issue, took action, and made a positive change. Students' sense of agency propelled their own well-being and achievement, but also made a difference to school culture and the well-being of the larger community. Participants will leave with specific ideas and tools to integrate student voice into curriculum development and delivery.
Nancy Steinhauer, Principal, The Mabin School
Kelly Gallagher-Mackay, Professor, Wilfred Laurier University
4:25 pm – 4:30 pm Travel Break
4:30 pm – 4:40 pm Closing Ceremony
7:30 am – 8:15 am Registration/Continental Breakfast
8:15 am – 8:30 am Opening Ceremony
8:35 am – 8:55 am Student Performance
9:0 am – 9:30 am Welcome
9:35 am – 9:50 am Reflection on Day 1
9:50 am – 10:35 am Keynote Address – Jennifer Moss
10:35 am – 10:40 am Daily Physical Activity (DPA)
10:40 am – 10:50 am Health Break/Travel Break

Morning Sessions

The Playground at Quest is an experiential modern learning environment that showcases activities that support authentic engagement, voice and deep learning. This year, the Playground is pleased to showcase two robust challenges featuring student participants: The Design Challenge and a Maker Showcase. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at Digital Story Telling, Gamified Learning, an Eco Challenge, Move and Learn, Loose Parts, Collaborative Art, Coding, and Adaptive Technology. Embrace you inner child and come and play in The Playground!
Lisa Donohue, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, York Region Public Health
Shailah Damji, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher,York Region Public Health
Repeated in Afternoon
In this interactive session, participants will see how developing good relationships with community partners, colleagues and others is a commitment to repairing relationships with Indigenous peoples. This is a model that works well across the equity spectrum, about truly engaging all members of our communities.
Colinda Clyne, Curriculum Lead, Upper Grand District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
Highlighting the amazing bullying prevention and intervention work of York Region District School Board schools as part of Caring and Safe Schools' 2016-18 Sustainable Bullying Prevention program.
John Shep, Caring and Safe Schools Consultant, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
The Arts can often provide authentic opportunities for students and adults to express themselves and their learning in creative ways. This session explores teacher- and student-directed mindfulness arts-based activities centred around self-expression, communication, and reducing anxiety and stress levels. Participants will deepen understanding of the benefits the Arts bring in providing student voice, improving self-esteem, and increasing empathy while fostering a safe and inclusive environment.
Justina So, Curriculum Consultant, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
How does a school community implement the values of equity, inclusivity and well-being into a sustainable, student driven, plan of action? Join representatives from Alexander Mackenzie High School in an examination of deepening student voice through purposely constructed activities designed to build essential skills and competencies that increase student achievement, engagement and well-being. In this interactive, bilingual session, participants learn by working through a series of adaptable examples that focus not only on student voice, but measuring and monitoring the overall impact on the school community. By applying the five components of well-being, participants will be encouraged to engage in reflective dialogue and take action strategies back to their school communities.
Catherine Clarke, Department Head of Theatre, York Region District School Board
Sheila Juma, Department Head of FSL and International Languages, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
In this thoughtful and interactive session, participants are taught, then employ the steps of Design Thinking as a means to name and address the systemic barriers to student engagement and success.
Kimberley Tavares, Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
Lisa Lim-Cole, Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
Repeated in Afternoon
We are two grade 12 students at Unionville High School. Our workshop is aimed at high school teachers interested in knowing more about inquiry-based projects from a student perspective. Our goal is to share the problems we faced as learners and the steps we took to overcome them. We had no idea that exploring Canadian Lit through a diversity and equity lens could lead us to have national conversations with educators and authors. We are excited to share our learning.
Shay Fullerton, Student, York Region District School Board
Jack Murphy, Student, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
With the help of a number of York Region District School Board TED Ed Club members and student voice speakers, this session seeks to show attendees the power and passion that our students possess to affect change in our world when they discover and lift their voices for all to hear.
Will Gourley, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Afternoon
As a Board, we not only recognize that our employees are our most valuable asset, we understand we play a critical role in creating a psychologically healthy and safe environment for all our employees. Last year, we shared tools from our staff mental health strategy. In this workshop, we highlight steps taken, lessons learned, and actions planned which further inform our strategy and quest for a healthier culture at York Region District School Board.
Janet Hicks, Human Resource Services Senior Manager, York Region District School Board
Carolyn Tong, Wellness Advisor, York Region District School Board
How can a community organization work with and in schools to support student success? Can learning goals be the same? What structures need to be in place? Is it possible to communicate and track progress in a coordinated way? Is it necessary? In 2016, the Hamilton Community Foundation partnered with Hamilton school boards and People for Education to work on the Grad Track project. In this program, a caring adult works with 20 at-risk youth in each board, following them from grades 6 through their high school experiences with the goal of making it to graduation with the tools needed to succeed wherever their paths may lead. The pivotal areas of learning identified by schools often reached beyond reading, writing, and math to areas of social-emotional learning, health, creativity, and citizenship. This presentation unpacks the lessons learned from our first year of Grad Track and explores implications for future school-community collaborative work across Ontario.
Christine Corso, Research Manager, People for Education
David Hagen Cameron, Research Director, People for Education
This session will look at ways of integrating Anishinaabe ways of knowing into secondary science classes in order to improve understanding of natural phenomena. We will share how PD sessions were run and the cultural knowledge and understanding that was connected to the curriculum. We will also share examples of work that teachers created during the collaborative process of this PD.
Andrew McConnell, First Nation, Métis and Inuit Teacher Advisor, York Region District School Board
Erin Keyzers, Science Curriculum Consultant, York Region District School Board
Come hear from educators, students, and Ophea about how a school community initiative that enhances healthy living and well-being, promotes student leadership, and builds on existing activities in a school? Since Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification launched in 2015, over 450 Ontario schools have used the 6-Step Healthy Schools Process to engage students, educators, and community partners to identify and address a priority health topic in their school community and to celebrate their healthy school successes.
Sarah Christie, Bilingual Projects Leader, Ophea
Marlee Corcoran, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Well-being is a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging that we feel when our cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs are being met". In this session, participants will examine and explore specific strategies for supporting well-being in the mathematics classroom. The conditions for learning that support student well-being in the math classroom will be aligned through the 7 mathematical processes, the math pedagogical system and the four domains of well-being.
Gianna Helling, Student Achievement Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
Anita Drossis, Student Achievement Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
12:05 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm Student Voice Talks
1:50 pm – 2:35 pm Keynote Address – Neil Pasricha
2:40 pm – 3:10 pm Travel Break & Neil Pasricha Book Signing

Afternoon Session

The Playground at Quest is an experiential modern learning environment that showcases activities that support authentic engagement, voice and deep learning. This year, the Playground is pleased to showcase two robust challenges featuring student participants: The Design Challenge and a Maker Showcase. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at Digital Story Telling, Gamified Learning, an Eco Challenge, Move and Learn, Loose Parts, Collaborative Art, Coding, and Adaptive Technology. Embrace you inner child and come and play in The Playground!
Lisa Donohue, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, York Region Public Health
Shailah Damji, Digital Literacy Resource Teacher,York Region Public Health
Repeated in Morning
In this interactive session, participants will see how developing good relationships with community partners, colleagues and others is a commitment to repairing relationships with Indigenous peoples. This is a model that works well across the equity spectrum, about truly engaging all members of our communities.
Colinda Clyne, Curriculum Lead, Upper Grand District School Board
Repeated in Morning
Highlighting the amazing bullying prevention and intervention work of York Region District School Board schools as part of Caring and Safe Schools' 2016-18 Sustainable Bullying Prevention program.
John Shep, Caring and Safe Schools Consultant, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
The Arts can often provide authentic opportunities for students and adults to express themselves and their learning in creative ways. This session explores teacher- and student-directed mindfulness arts-based activities centred around self-expression, communication, and reducing anxiety and stress levels. Participants will deepen understanding of the benefits the Arts bring in providing student voice, improving self-esteem, and increasing empathy while fostering a safe and inclusive environment.
Justina So, Curriculum Consultant, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
How does a school community implement the values of equity, inclusivity and well-being into a sustainable, student driven, plan of action? Join representatives from Alexander Mackenzie High School in an examination of deepening student voice through purposely constructed activities designed to build essential skills and competencies that increase student achievement, engagement and well-being. In this interactive, bilingual session, participants learn by working through a series of adaptable examples that focus not only on student voice, but measuring and monitoring the overall impact on the school community. By applying the five components of well-being, participants will be encouraged to engage in reflective dialogue and take action strategies back to their school communities.
Catherine Clarke, Department Head of Theatre, York Region District School Board
Sheila Juma, Department Head of FSL and International Languages, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
In this thoughtful and interactive session, participants are taught, then employ the steps of Design Thinking as a means to name and address the systemic barriers to student engagement and success.
Kimberley Tavares, Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
Lisa Lim-Cole, Education Officer, Ontario Ministry of Education
Repeated in Morning
We are two grade 12 students at Unionville High School. Our workshop is aimed at high school teachers interested in knowing more about inquiry-based projects from a student perspective. Our goal is to share the problems we faced as learners and the steps we took to overcome them. We had no idea that exploring Canadian Lit through a diversity and equity lens could lead us to have national conversations with educators and authors. We are excited to share our learning.
Shay Fullerton, Student, York Region District School Board
Jack Murphy, Student, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
With the help of a number of York Region District School Board TED Ed Club members and student voice speakers, this session seeks to show attendees the power and passion that our students possess to affect change in our world when they discover and lift their voices for all to hear.
Will Gourley, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Repeated in Morning
This workshop will explore the value of professional collaboration and community linkages in the delivery and implementation of successful staff well-being initiatives.
Carolyn Tong, Wellness Advisor, York Region District School Board
Julie Anderson, Curriculum Consultant, York Region District School Board
The revised Positive Mental Health Toolkit in e-book format developed by the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health (JCSH) presents a whole of school approach to individual wellness and healthy relationships within the school environment. The toolkit frames student and staff connectedness, autonomy support, and competency within a comprehensive school approach, applying evidence-based research and theory in practical and useful formats.
Katherine Eberl Kelly, Executive Director, Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health
Inclusive Design is a process and an approach which uses an equity and anti-oppression foundation to create conditions for learning that lead to an inclusive school environment. It is anchored in the ongoing daily teaching and leadership and the overall work of educators. Participants will have opportunities to discuss and reflect upon their own work and how Inclusive Design can help achieve inclusive schooling.
Camille Logan, Elementary Superintendent, York Region District School Board
Kevin Merkley, Elementary Principal, York Region District School Board
Authentic student voice is a central tenet of culturally responsive pedagogy, but it can be challenging to foster in the non-neutral spaces that are schools. Hear one school's transformational journey to empowering learners, often those on the margins, through spoken word poetry and participation in the York Region District School Board Poetry Slam. Teachers will share their experiences, tensions, and successes as they navigated supporting students through writing and sharing their own stories.
Robyn Ecclestone, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Sarah Hill, Teacher, York Region District School Board
This session will share the story of a York Region District School Board elementary school who took on the role of empowering and training their staff to provide a supportive and meaningful psycho-social environment for participants when they took the learning outside. Major themes include: Mindful leadership, Participant centred experiences, Purposeful programming, Systematic planning, Team building, Communication, Learning through reflection.
Ellen Marek, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Tanya Murray, K-12 Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Learning Consultant, York Region District School Board
Educators have long acknowledged the significant gaps in employment, achievement and well-being for students with disabilities as an on-going challenge and concern. As educators, we have a collective responsibility to close the achievement and well-being gap for students with disabilities. The social construction of “disability” will be examined for the purpose of reflecting on our practices with a focus on removing systemic barriers impeding student access, well-being and inclusion.
Kevin Stewart, Administrator, York Region District School Board
Jennifer Speiran, Interim Head of Special Education, York Region District School Board
The need to promote the well-being of children is widely accepted as being central to their success in life as young people and adults. Extensive research has shown that failure to protect and promote the well-being of children is associated with increased risk across a wide range of later life outcomes. These range from impaired cognitive development, lower achievement in schools, higher rates of unemployment, antisocial behavior, likelihood of drug or alcohol abuse, and higher incidence of mental health illness. The findings the World Health Organization and of the UNICEF Office of Research comparative review of child well-being in rich countries, identified the Netherlands as having the highest score for children’s well-being when measured against a range of criteria.
The review highlighted:
• The Netherlands retains its position as the clear leader and is the only country ranked among the top give countries in all dimensions of child well-being.
• The Netherlands is also the clear leader when well-being is evaluated by children themselves-with 95% of its children rating their own lives above the midpoint of the Life Satisfaction Scale.
Visiting this workshop, participants will have the opportunity for them to gain better knowledge and understanding of the approaches adopted in family’s and schools in countries where the national indicators for children’s well-being are high.
Marlou van Beek, CEO, Turning Learning
4:30 pm – 5:00 pm Break
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm Reception/Student Entertainment
5:40 pm – 6:00 pm Welcome
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Keynote Address – Kevin Lamoureux
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Closing Ceremony

Friday Session

During this workshop, participants will have an opportunity to appreciate that people are made up of many identities. When people own their identities as gifts to be celebrated and shared, a window of opportunity opens up to create a world of acceptance, acknowledgement and forgiveness. Through an interactive approach, participants will be introduced to the influence of a person's social location, the root of biases and what steps can be taken to decrease phobias.
Denise Mabee
Need another reason to take your lessons outside? Learn about some practical strategies to use with students from Grade 1-8. During this session you will learn how solo sits can build well-being skills and mindfulness with nature. Participants will be able to experience how these strategies can be used in a typical school yard and a local green space.
Amanda Kennedy, Teacher, York Region District School Board
In this session, participants will learn about the four year YRDSB Journey of an amazing interactive Eco-Fair that places its focus on community involvement, student-voice and environmental engagement. Through a hands-on inquiry model, participants will explore some environmental issues through various media texts and begin to build the foundation of interactive projects that could be done with their students. Partnerships, grant applications & funding options will also be discussed and shared.
Michael Frankfort, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Danny Ho, Assistant for DH, York Region District School Board
Participants will have the unique opportunity to explore how an inclusive and collaborative arts program promotes student well-being in the transition process from Gr. 8 to 9. Guests will participate in an interactive Mural Painting project led by bilingual student leaders. Groups will include secondary students, elementary FI students and teacher facilitators. Participants will learn how cultivating collaborative relationships, within a learning environment, support the transition process.
Ilana Bern, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Sofia Papadatos, Vice-Principal, York Region District School Board
With 70% of all wellbeing issues beginning during childhood or adolescence, elementary and secondary educational institutions must begin to work more collaboratively. How do we support learning for all, when mental health and wellbeing issues often impede a student’s ability to succeed academically? This workshop focuses on a K-12 Mental Health and Wellbeing Community of Schools pilot project, our preliminary findings and resources needed for similar implementation.
Diamando McLarnon, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Kelly Bradshaw, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Our Outdoor Education team, comprised of 14 staff/OCC field guides facilitate outdoor learning opportunities for classes and colleagues. Join us and learn in our local woodlot with story walks, shelter building, nature art, and sit-spots. Hear our vision for modern learning, make a connection with the world outside the classroom, and uncover ways to bring experiential learning indoors. Participants will learn about our journey and simple steps to create a similar program of their own.
Emily Boag, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Ellen Marek, Teacher, York Region District School Board
What does a school look, sound and feel like when it is inclusive and students are calm and engaged? In Spring 2017, we asked, "Would our school culture strengthen if we embedded Inquiry, Circles and Mindfulness as part of our pedagogical practice?" How was it done? What was the impact? Join us and engage in activities that supported our journey, tour innovative spaces like the “Eagle’s Den”, see our work in action and learn about this collaborative journey of well-being and student success.
Jennifer Sit, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Amanda Cannon, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Join us as we pull our Wonder Wagon through the natural pathways and arboretum, while exploring all that nature has to offer near our school community. Experience first hand materials, strategies and ideas connecting outdoor learning to your curriculum expectations. Interacting with the natural environment promotes student engagement, physical and emotional well-being, as well as improves self-regulation skills for our learners.
Shelagh Dunlop, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Tessa Holm, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Outdoor learning allows children to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in many ways the conventional classroom does not. Come and join our class in action as we use our school yard for learning opportunities you may not have considered. If you want to take the learning outside more, then this workshop is for you. You will leave feeling inspired and excited about outdoor learning as well as prepared to try it on your own.
Karen O'Neil, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Sheela Venkatraman, Early Childhood Educator, York Region District School Board
Are you interested in learning about fostering healthy peer relationships? At Sixteenth Avenue, we created an opportunity where our intermediate students positively influenced younger students by leading in-class community circles. In this session, we will take you through our process of facilitating community circles in classes. Additionally, participants will engage in community circles alongside our Student Ambassadors and classes. Opportunity for feedback and Q&A will end our session.
Lara Loseto, Vice-Principal, York Region District School Board
Natasha Rankin, Teacher, York Region District School Board
For over 50 years, the York Region District School Board has provided environmental literacy and outdoor learning (EL/OL) opportunities to its students. EL/OL provides real-world connections to all facets of the Ontario Curriculum, and provides opportunities to improve mental wellness for both students and staff. Come visit the Swan Lake Outdoor Education Centre for a taste of our current programs, and explore how YRDSB is exploring EL/OL through inquiry, teacher professional learning, and more.
Rebecca Vincent, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Tanya Murray, Curriculum Consultant, York Region District School Board
Adolescence is a time for change, growth and challenge. This session will provide participants with evidence based tools and strategies that can be immediately applied by teachers for students in a classroom setting. These tools are simple and effective. Teachers, students and parents can easily learn and apply these techniques. These techniques will lead to improved well being, grades, learning, and EQ in relationships. Join us for a session that can transform your learning journey.
Tony Antoniou, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Rosey Mastrofrancesco, Vice-Principal, York Region District School Board
In response to school climate data, where students indicated their social identities were not discussed or represented in the school, the idea for the Silver Pines International Film Festival was born. Each student prepared a short film about their own identity, which was filmed and edited by a crew of their peers. Parents were invited to the festival to view their child’s “Story of Us”, a feature film and an “after party” to learn more about social identities.
Lisa Hascal, Vice-Principal, York Region District School Board
Lindsey Diakiw, Principal, York Region District School Board
Having multiple opportunities for students to engage with others in their school to find their place and share their voice, strengthens their sense of belonging and connectedness. Participants will have an opportunity to see we have used the principles from Leading Mentally Healthy schools to create an inclusive culture and environment where staff model and talk about strategies for achieving positive mental health within instruction and a safe place for students to be able to access support.
Rita Angellotti, Principal, York Region District School Board
Kimberly Godfrey, Teacher, York Region District School Board
Understanding the root cause of student behaviour and providing programs that are supportive rather than punitive in nature will reduce the recidivism of student suspensions. YRDSB has implemented a mediation middle step that is used when a student receives a recommended 20 day suspension pending expulsion. This session will focus on the process of this mediation as well as discuss how very at risk students’ needs are being addressed and met in the York Region District School Board.
Dawn Laliberte, Principal of Caring and Safe Schools, York Region District School Board
Susan Logue, Superintendent of Education, York Region District School Board
This session will give participants an opportunity to visit a school where Inclusive Design has been at the centre of their work. Two sessions will be presented at Quest relating to Inclusive Design and this visit to Aldergrove PS in South Markham will give you a chance to see the work in action. On Wednesday November 14th we will be part of Inclusive Design in School Planning: Engaging parent and community voice and November 15th, we will be presenting Inclusive Design - An Approach to Achieve Inclusive Schooling. Come and visit our school to see the 6 Threads of Inclusive Design in action.
Padmini Padiachy, Principal, York Region District School Board
Rita De Ala, Vice-Principal, York Region District School Board
This session will provide participants with an overview of a one week program for teens with physical disabilities and the curriculum that has been co-designed by students and YRDSB/CTN OT staff to support successful post-secondary transitions. The session will be co-presented and facilitated by the teens in the program and Occupational Therapists from YRDSB/CTN. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the students who have participated in an interactive semi-structured interview panel format and watch a video created by the students representing their learning journey during the one week program. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore current research and best practice transition frameworks for students with physical disabilities and learn how to support skill building and student development through experiential learning within an educational context throughout the school year or as a stand alone program. Key areas as outlined in the literature including: self-advocacy, leadership, resiliency and independence will be explored. The program was also designed with a robust program evaluation framework including pre-post standardized measurement as well as qualitative data from the students, their families and the staff who participated in the program and this data will be shared with the participants. The session will then have an interactive workshop opportunity co-facilitated by the students and OTs where participants can either: 1/ Build a work plan specific their own context of “how to” support or develop a similar program. Or 2/ Explore how to incorporate these key skills and areas of development (self-advocacy, leadership, resiliency and independence) into their current classrooms and existing programs for students with physical disabilities.
Janice Archer, Occupational Therapist, York Region District School Board
Zahra Mawji, Occupational Therapist, York Region District School Board