School divisions highlight upcoming events

Matt Gardner
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With students back in school following the holiday break, area school divisions are looking forward to a range of new developments and upcoming events.

A sign outside Red Wing School promotes the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division’s new approach to teaching literacy as part of its Commitment to Student Achievement plan.

Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD) superintendent of schools John Schultz identified the upcoming annual general meeting of electors as the next big event on the horizon.

“That’s a big one because it’s a report on the previous year of the activities of the school division,” Schultz said. “So that one we want to get out … and let people know how we did the previous year.”

The public school AGM will take place at W.J Berezowsky Public School on Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. All ratepayers in the school division are invited to attend.

Two of the most significant events for the SRPSD in the near future revolve around Carlton Comprehensive High School.

On Jan. 30, the school will mark the official opening of its new gym, with local Grade 8 students among those invited to see the new facility.

“It’s got two full-size basketball courts,” Schultz noted. “You can fit two full-size volleyball games at the same time. It’s got seating for 1,200 people.”

“So it’s exciting,” he added. “It’s one of the bigger high school gyms in Saskatchewan … Take a look from the floor to the ceiling and you’ll see it’s very, very, very tall, and that’s obviously a key thing that you’re looking for when you’re doing high school athletics.”

Carlton will also play a key role during the Prince Albert 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games, when the school will serve as the site of the athlete’s village -- hosting 1,800 young athletes over the course of the games during study week.

Aside from graduation ceremonies, which generally take place in June, the SRPSD will also be focusing on its new Commitment to Student Achievement, which expands the concept of literacy beyond reading and writing.

“It extends a little bit into the ability to communicate effectively and what to do with it,” Schultz said.

It’s positive that the whole province is working on a plan to improve the educational processes and student achievement. Lorel Trumier

Total student enrollment in the SRPSD is currently hovering around the 8,500 mark across 32 schools. Schultz estimated a relatively small drop of perhaps one per cent over the last couple of years.

By comparison, the Prince Albert Catholic School Division (PACSD) -- with more than 3,000 students -- has seen a noticeable increase in enrollment this year after adding an additional pre-kindergarten program.

“We’re up by about 100 students,” education director Lorel Trumier noted. “It’s very positive for us.”

Aside from its own AGM, which is taking place at St. Mary High School this Thursday at 6:30 p.m., the Catholic school division is preparing to round out the semester with final examinations for high school students the week of Jan. 20.

Following its weeklong February break and Easter festivities, the PACSD will honour staff members in May with its annual Celebration of Life.

“It’s a longstanding event in our school division where the board of education and staff celebrate the long service awards of staff members at critical career points -- so for example, five years in or 15 or 25 years in,” Trumier said.

The event also celebrates milestones for staff in their married life or religious life, with honorees attending a banquet and receiving gifts.

In terms of lesson plans, the school is preparing for the provincial government’s Student First initiative, having partnered with the SRPSD to host Minister of Education Don Morgan last week.

“It’s positive that the whole province is working on a plan to improve the educational processes and student achievement,” Trumier said.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division, Prince Albert Catholic School Division, W.J Berezowsky Public School Carlton Comprehensive High School Mary High School

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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