Etienne Brule Public School Community Partnership Project
Our Board is very pleased to partner with the City of Sault Ste Marie (SSM) in the development of a multi-faceted community hub project at Etienne Brule Public School.
Just a little over a year ago, ADSB completed an Accommodation Review process for Etienne Brule. At that time, our Board made a commitment to the Brule community that we would seek ways to ensure that the Etienne Brule facility continue to be the centre of a thriving community hub. The community partnership project is a way of confirming this commitment. It will see ADSB and the City of SSM working together to develop the grounds and open spaces around Etienne Brule while continuing to work with and seek out community partners who support the needs of children and youth living in the area.
Algoma District School Board Chair Jennifer Sarlo (pictured at left with SSM Mayor Christian Provenzano and Director Reece) shared her thoughts on the progress made in the past year. “Today, through innovative thinking from our senior team and city staff, and the commitment of community partners, we can celebrate the fact that we have not abandoned this building or this neighbourhood, but rather transformed the vision and usefulness of this space. Already, it is a thriving space of learning and support and in the coming year, it will truly become a community hub that provides services and space for families to learn, play and flourish together.”
Currently ADSB’s Urban Aboriginal Program, in partnership with the Indian Friendship Centre, is located on the second floor of the school. It will remain there along with the ADSB’s Teen Parent Program (located on the main floor) which provides a learning space for teen parents along with their children. These two programs have proven to be vital for the students enrolled. For the 2014/2015 school year, the Urban Aboriginal Program saw 24 students graduate, the highest number of graduates in its 12 year history.
Ontario Works, a partner who came on board earlier this year, will continue to maintain space in the building. This year they ran a hugely successful program which encouraged students and young adults to master new skills in design, sewing, manufacturing and marketing. It is expected that Ontario Works will continue to provide meaningful opportunities to their clientele at this facility.
The Orchard Children’s Centre is a new onsight daycare, offering a nature-based program and providing a needed service for babies, toddlers and pre-school children and their families in the area.
Etienne Brule is bordered by Albert Street West, Huron Street, Queen Street and John Street. The outdoor space that is encompassed is to be developed over the next several months and will provide both a tranquil space and an urban-environmental flavor not just for the school grounds but for the neighbourhood as a whole.
The plan includes the planting of an urban orchard in the South West corner of the lot bordering Queen Street. A community garden (pictured above) is already in place on the property and will continue to be worked on and tended to over the summer and fall. A spiritual space will be situated centrally in a green space, providing a quiet, non-denominational place of reflection for all community members to enjoy. Maple trees are planned for the establishment of a small sugar bush on the west side of the property. In addition, a spoke of the Hub Trail will be built through the Etienne Brule grounds and will connect the trail currently coming off of Carmen’s Way to Queen Street and on to the waterfront portion of the trail. Maintaining of the Etienne Brule grounds will be a shared responsibility between ADSB and the City of SSM.
All parties see the importance of this unique partnership. Mayor Christian Provenzano shared, “The City is excited to partner with ADSB on this innovative project. It is a great example of team work and the positive things that can happen when we work together. I am happy to see this initiative downtown and hope we see similar initiatives take root in the years to come.”
Algoma District School Board Director Lucia Reece commented, “It is highly symbolic that we stand on the Etienne Brule school site today, a site named after a great explorer, to announce that the Algoma District School Board and the City of Sault Ste. Marie are exploring, together, a community partnership hub. The school site will become a thriving representation of learning, living and leading a healthy, active lifestyle in our beautiful, “naturally gifted” community!”