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The Board Connection

February 2014

Great news to share

As you may have heard yesterday, Minister Jeff Johnson announced that our District will be getting two new schools. One school will be K-9 located in Ambleside in the Windermere area, and the other will be a junior high, set to be built in Webber Greens within Lewis Farms. In light of the enrolment pressures many of our schools are facing right now, we’re really pleased to receive these new schools. We know getting new schools is the best solution to our challenges around managing space for students. Last week, the province announced four modular classrooms and six portables to also provide some additional space in schools that are near or at capacity. And last month, funding was announced to support modernizations at some of our older schools in mature neighbourhoods. The funding will be used to give a facelift and upgrade the mechanical and electrical systems at Belgravia, Ross Sheppard, Vimy Ridge and the Alberta School for the Deaf. They’ll also have parts of their interior modified to better meet the programming needs of our students. It was good to hear we’ll be receiving a replacement elementary school in one of our mature neighbourhoods, too – the addition of this school will help us make the best use of our space, benefitting communities in the process. All of our students deserve quality learning environments and these announcements will help us to make that a reality.

That goal has been at the heart of the work we’re doing to develop a long-term, sustainable strategy to manage space in new and fast growing areas.

Space for our students

…and that leads me to what I want to talk about next. I’d like to send a big thank you out to all the parents and community members who took the time to share their perspective through the online survey and the in-person consultation sessions held last month. It was really important that we hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas for new solutions as we discussed how to deal with the enrolment pressures facing schools that are full or nearly full. We want to see libraries be libraries and gyms used as gyms. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but we really are all in this together. Something that I hope is remembered through this whole process is that, regardless of where your child attends school within our District, they’ll receive a quality education that supports them and helps them experience success. I know our Superintendent is dedicated to making decisions that he feels are in the best interest of our students. He’ll share his decisions with the Board on February 18. If you have a child in one of the schools facing high enrolment, you’ll receive an information package on the 18th filled with important information about the decisions.

Building a bridge to the future

Right now, the Board is in the process of developing the new Vision, Mission and Priorities for the District. This is something every newly elected Board works on – this opportunity only happens once every election cycle. Together, the Vision, Mission and Priorities form an important roadmap that will drive everything we do as a District to support our students over the next few years. It means a lot to our Board to work with students, staff, parents and community partners to get these three vital elements right. It’s crucial to have a good understanding of what ideas, perspectives and goals they need to reflect. The survey closes on February 14, so if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll take some time and tell us what you think about our draft statements! You can access the survey here.

Supporting our littlest learners

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the launch of the Comrie Family Learning Centre full-day Kindergarten classroom at Beacon Heights School! As always, the event was fantastic – filled with fun activities and a warm and cheerful energy – and, of course, lots of cuteness. This full-day Kindergarten program was made possible through the generous donation of $500,000 over the next five years by Bill Comrie and his family. We’re so thankful to community partners like Mr. Comrie for supporting our efforts to provide the best resources and learning opportunities to students at-risk. We continue to reach out to partners in the business community, as well as to the municipal and provincial governments to help us support some of our most socially-vulnerable learners. These relationships play a vital role in making sure our students benefit from valuable early learning skills that will help them have a smooth transition into Grade 1 and a great start to life. Check out some pictures from the event below!

Provincial annoucement - crowd shot

Provincial annoucement - podium

Board Chair with student

Little kindergartners performing

Group shot