While the kids were enjoying summer break, the Lloydminster Public School Division (LPSD) was hard at work getting ready for the 2014/15 school year. Last Friday, Aug. 29, they used their opening address at the Vic Juba Community Theatre not only to turn their heads to the future, but to look back on a year that could best be described as one of “change and flexibility,” said Scott Wouters, superintendent of HR for the LPSD.
Change, because the LPSD has hired a wealth of new staff, including 40 teachers, and moved over 50 existing staff members, due in part to a delay in the opening of College Park School. Flexibility, because of the four schools that committed to receiving the overflow of staff and students from the delay about two weeks before the first day of school on Sept. 2.
“I think it was Aug. 1, we were still planning on being at College Park,” said Wouters. “Aug. 15 came and we made the decision: we need to change.”
It was a hasty resolution to a situation that thankfully didn’t end in crisis, said Wouters. Just in time for the start of another school year, 530 students were relocated to four different schools in LPSD.
Wouters went on to thank the staff of College Park, Jack Kemp Community School, Barr Colony School and Bishop Lloyd Middle School.
“I don’t know what we would do without those people,” said Colleen Young, board chair of the LPSD, of the janitorial and maintenance staff that made the relocation possible. “I think we already took care of the labour shortage,” she joked.
They weren’t the only ones who received thank yous and congratulations, as an awards ceremony was held for teachers nominated by parents and students for the Excellence in Teaching Award, an honour that recognizes instructors’ strong character and expertise. Among those who received awards were Trisha Rawlake, superintendent of curriculum and instruction and Stacey Klisowsky, principal of E.S. Laird Middle School, who both won Leadership Academy Awards.
Despite hiccups in the construction of College Park School over the summer, the 2013/14 year saw many successes. A PowerPoint was shown outlining a few of them, including more than 2,500 computers accessible and more than $200,000 awarded in scholarships from the division, province(s) and community. But Wouters noted, “We could have put bullet, after bullet, after bullet on there and probably would have taken up two hours with what we do. But it is incredible when you look at it from a one year perspective.”
Students’ successes throughout the year were recognized as well. Bishop Lloyd’s student group the WE Team, who partnered with Free the Children, raised $82,000 for the building of a school in Ecuador, and in the upcoming year LCHS will host three provincial championships in curling, volleyball and badminton. Every school in the LPSD made some kind of achievement for themselves, said Todd Robinson, director of education.
“Across all of our schools, there are multiple service learning projects that happened, which included providing support for everything from the SPCA to the Food Bank to Christmas Gifts for the Interval Home,” said Robinson. “I’m really proud of the fact that our schools are contributors to our community, that they take an active role in being great citizens and I think that our community really appreciates that as well.”
The year to come has now arrived, however, and with that comes a focus on three Hoshins, or “Must do, can’t fails,” said Young: an improvement in Grade 3 reading levels, a rise in graduation rates and an increase in achievement and graduation in the First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) student body, all in accordance with the recently implemented Educational Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP).
Beyond that, Young encourages teachers to continue making that connection with students. She has a mantra.
“Kids don’t care until they know and see you care,” she said.
And she wants teachers to make sure they do.