November 10, 2015
View pictures of the Welcome Centre opening, here.
THE HALTON DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD'S Welcome Centre in Milton enjoyed a successful official opening celebration over the weekend as more than 75 people attended and learned more about the services offered to newcomers to the Board and broader community.
On Saturday afternoon, families, Board staff members, trustees and local politicians learned what the Welcome Centre does and heard stories from newcomers about how the centre has helped them transition to the school system and community. The event included welcoming remarks from board representatives and local politicians, a smudging ceremony from Elder Steve Paquette, a spoken word performance from students, and an overview and tour of the Welcome Centre.
Guests were also invited to add their thumbprint in paint to a ‘Tree of Welcome’ interactive art piece.
Mary Jane Farrish, System Principal Equity and Inclusive Education for the Halton District School Board, said the opening ceremony was very positive. The Welcome Centre endeavours to connect with newcomer students and families to “become meaningfully engaged and active within the school community and the broader Halton community as participants and as leaders,” she said.
“The audience was treated to perspectives and information that were relevant, insightful and impactful,” she said. “We want the community to know the specific services we provide through the Welcome Centre and in schools as well to support program and settlement services for students and families.”
Citing his own experiences as a Scottish immigrant, Stuart Miller, the Board’s Director of Education, addressed the crowd and encouraged newcomers to embrace and value their culture in this country, as they make Canada an even better place to live.
Welcome Centre provides a central location to assist newcomer students and their families. Services include registration, academic and language assessment, and resources about the Ontario school system. Settlement services are also available including resources about community groups, opportunities for volunteering, and community connections.
Elementary school age students can also be assisted through the Welcome Centre at the same time as their high school sibling(s). Families are asked to set up an interview to discuss their child’s school history, interests and goals to ensure a smooth transition to school.
To set up an interview appointment, contact the Welcome Centre by telephone at 905-335-3665, extension 3440, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.