As students prepare for the holidays, representatives of local school boards took the chance to speak with the Daily Herald about developments in 2013 and future plans.
Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD) superintendent Alan Nunn said that student achievement continues to drive the board.
“We’re driven by the provincial plan of Vision 2020,” Nunn said. “Of course that’s the focus on literacy -- looking at Grade 3 reading levels in particular -- (and) certainly focusing on grad rates and trying to make grad rates better, especially for improving our First Nation-Métis grad rates.”
He pointed to various new programs such as emergency services response training, university-level English classes for Grade 12 students and a class to build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
On the other hand, area teachers continue to struggle with transiency rates as many students enter and leave schools throughout the year.
Another major development was the defeat of the new teachers’ contract.
“It doesn’t have much impact right now,” Nunn said. “The salary grid remains the same and the contract remains in effect as it was when it expired. But certainly the anticipation of getting a new contract in place is a big focus of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Ministry of Education.
“They’re focusing on the bargaining and I think any employee group, when they know their contract’s up, they’re anxious until a new contract is put in place and all parties want that.”
Both Nunn and Prince Albert Catholic School Division (PACSD) education director Lorel Trumier noted the effects of high-level turnover at the Ministry of Education, as Don Morgan became the new education minister and Dan Florizone deputy minister.
“It clearly shows that Brad Wall and his government are looking at education,” Nunn said. “They want to be able to offer the best to the students of Saskatchewan and to do that they’ve put new leaders in place that are going to bring about that effective change.”
Certainly the anticipation of getting a new contract in place is a big focus of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Ministry of Education. Alan Nunn
Speaking for the PACSD, Trumier highlighted two developments.
“Our enrollment is up by over 100 students … and we’ve opened a new pre-K this year at St. John Community School,” Trumier said. “So now we have 11 pre-kindergarten programs in our school division.”
Both boards are looking forward to major developments in 2014.
For the SRPSD, Nunn pointed to the opening of the new gym at Carlton Comprehensive High School.
“We’re thinking January 30 will be the official date that the gym is complete and we’ll have the grand opening,” he said.
“It’ll be a state-of-the-art gym, one of the biggest gyms in the province. We’ll have seating capacity for 1,200 people and we’ll be able to host huge provincial tournaments here.”
Trumier said the PACSD plans to release its new strategic plan by early spring, determing its direction for the next three years.
Catholic schools will also be offering new programs such as an emergency response course and the Paul Martin initiative Getting Back to Business.
“It’s an opportunity for students to gain entrepreneurial skills through a course at the 10 and 20 level,” Trumier said. “So we’re excited about that as well.”
The PACSD annual general meeting will take place at St. Mary High School on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m.