Moonwalk, Woodstock, Peel board all celebrate birthday

    Start of school 2009 marks 40 years of students, staff smiling together

    TORONTO, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - A lot happened in 1969. Woodstock, the bed-in,
the moonwalk - and in Peel, something happened that changed the face of
education. Ten boards joined together to create the Peel District School Board
- or the County Board of Education, as it was first known. This year, as
students and staff head back to school, they will be reminded that 40 years
ago, with 50,000 students and 114 schools, the legacy of the Peel board began.
    Principals Terry Gordon and Kathy Konior can remember that day in 1969 -
that is because they were in the first years of their teaching careers. Today,
they are still helping students achieve to the best of their ability and using
their passion and skills to motivate and inspire the next group of new
    "Back in those days, you didn't need a degree to teach, just one year of
teacher's college. I was 19 years old when I started," says Konior. "I was so
excited because I grew up in a very small town and this was my first real job.
Mississauga was a very big place to me. My first apartment was at Hurontario
and the QEW, and I remember the drive to school, way up to Malton, was a very
scenic one, mostly open fields with many cows and only two lanes of traffic."
    Konior started teaching grade 2 at Westwood Public School, which is now
Dunrankin Drive Public School. She had 31 students in her class and taught in
a four-classroom pod, because open concept teaching was the focus at that
time. "I remember working very hard - I spent a lot of time making materials
for my class. The staff at the school were very helpful and we had a lot of
    According to Konior, a lot has changed since 1969, but a lot has stayed
the same as well. "Curriculum expectations are now much more specific. When I
started, there was only one curriculum document. There's also now more
professional development for staff, and the level of parent involvement has
increased. But, through the years, the business of schools has remained the
same - to provide quality education to each student. The teacher's job
continues to be to teach, to inspire, to guide and to promote a love of
    Konior retired a few years ago, but has not given up her love of teaching
- although, she is making sure to enjoy her time. "I am able to travel other
than 'peak' times, play golf a little, go to the film festival during the week
days and not worry about getting up to go to school the next day, shop when I
want, and go out for lunch with friends and take as long as I want. That being
said, I have continued to work on some interesting projects with the Peel
board, such as coaching new administrators and facilitating workshops for
teachers. I have the best of both worlds, I think."
    Like Konior, Principal Terry Gordon has fond memories of the initial
years of his career. "It was a lot of fun. You needed to be creative and take
initiative," says Gordon. "I don't recall having resource teachers come to the
school, or even teaching assistants."
    Today, Gordon is the principal of Aloma Crescent Public School in
Brampton, but he started his career as a grade 6 teacher at Hillcrest Public
School in Mississauga. His first class had approximately 30 students. He
taught a lot of physical education classes and is still coaching at Aloma
Crescent today.
    Notes Gordon, "I love the classroom. I love to teach. I've been an
administrator for 15 years, and still, my favourite part of the job is
spending time with the students and teachers."
    Gordon now passes on his passion to aspiring educators by teaching
courses at teacher's colleges and mentoring new teachers. "One of the things I
tell all new teachers and my students at the colleges is to stay balanced. Try
not to become too overloaded with all of the information coming at you -
because there's a lot of it in this profession. Make sure you take time for
you. There's a lot to do, so remind yourself, there's always tomorrow. If you
do this, you will always be able to come to work wearing a smile, ready to
laugh and have fun, because teaching should be a lot of fun."
    About students, Gordon offers another piece of advice - something he
feels that all teachers, even veteran teachers, need to remind themselves.
"The most important thing - the reason we do what we do - is children.
Teachers must not lose sight of the fact that the student must always be front
and centre. Each student is an individual with specific needs and learning
styles. As teachers, we need to connect with students by determining their
individual needs."
    Dunrankin Drive opened in 1966 as Westwood. Today, it serves
approximately 500 students from kindergarten to grade 5 and has 45 staff. The
school has a strong character education focus, which is illustrated on the
walls of its newly painted gym. Students also have access to a breakfast club
and other extra-curricular activities, including an award-winning
environmental club. The school is located at 3700 Dunrankin Drive in
    Aloma Crescent serves approximately 375 students from kindergarten to
grade 5 and has 32 staff. Aloma Crescent has a highly diverse student
population and a rich balance between the academics, the arts, physical
education and extra-curricular activities. The school is located at 57 Aloma
Crescent in Brampton.

    The Peel board serves more than 150,000 students in kindergarten to grade
12. Operating 235 schools in the municipalities of Brampton, Caledon and
Mississauga, the Peel board is the largest employer in Peel. The board's
annual budget is $1.2 billion. For more information, visit the board's website

    Note to media:  Principals Terry Gordon and Kathy Konior are available
                    for interview by contacting Alison Farbar at
                    905-890-1010, ext. 2626

                    The back to school backgrounder and a copy of the 1969
                    annual report is available at

For further information:

For further information: Reference: Alison Farbar, Communications
Officer (acting), (905) 890-1010, ext. 2626,

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