March Regular Board Meeting Highlights

March Regular Board Meeting Highlights

Board approves 2021-2022 Divisional School Calendar
Superintendent Paul Bennett provided a thorough review of the process involved in developing the proposed 2021-2022 school calendar and shared with trustees the feedback received on the calendar from families and staff. The Peace River School Division (PRSD) board of trustees approved the 2021-2022 School Calendar and thanked the Calendar Committee, school communities and partnering school divisions for their contributions, partnership, and input. (View the media release and approved calendar here). 

Student Mental Health and Wellness Survey results presentation
Tash Taylor, consultant for Leadership Services provided the board with a preliminary presentation of the survey data from PRSD’s Student Health and Wellness Survey. The survey was open to students in grades 7-12, all parents and staff in early February with a total of 1860 responses. “The board sincerely thanks our students, families and staff for their time in responding to this very important survey” says PRSD Board Chair Darren Kuester. “The high level of response to the survey speaks to the importance of student mental health in our school communities. This provides us concrete data and a better sense of student wellness, perspectives and where attention needs to be focused.” The PRSD board is meeting virtually on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 with Tash Taylor and PRSD management staff to thoroughly review the data and develop a plan for moving forward. Summary data from the survey will be made available to the public in the coming weeks. 

Board approves PRSD 2022-2025 Capital Plan
During the regular board meeting, the board of trustees reviewed and approved PRSD’s 2022-2025 Capital Plan. PRSD’s Capital Plan outlines the division’s top priorities with respect to school building and modernization projects. “PRSD’s Capital Plan for the most part stays the same as the 2021-2024 plan with the only difference being that PRSD’s number one priority, a new K-12 school in Manning, has been approved by the government in the design phase” says Kuester (view media release). Priorities on PRSD’s plan are as follows: Priority #1: New K-12 School in Manning; Priority #2: New K-12 School for Red Earth Creek;  Priority #3: Fairview High School Modernization; Priority #4: Worsley Central School Modernization; Priority #5: TA Norris Middle School Modernization; and Priority #6 EE Oliver Elementary School Modernization. Every April, school boards submit their Capital Plan to the Alberta government.

Trustees approve request for Modular Classroom at Grimshaw Public School
The board of trustees is submitting a request to Alberta Education for a modular classroom to be provided for Grimshaw Public School (GPS) to address a shortfall in space due to high enrolment at the school. “GPS is currently at 95% capacity and is projecting an increase in enrolment for the 2021-2022 school year” says Kuester. “The school is currently renting classroom space at the former Kennedy Elementary School for junior and senior high art classes to address the shortfall of teaching and learning space at the school.”

Technology Department presentation
Technology Manager Shayne Pierson provided the board of trustees with a presentation focused on how changing technology will impact the future working lives of our students. Pierson shared information about various technologies existing in the world today or coming soon that will impact society and careers. Pierson shared information about how smart devices are rapidly advancing, that Starlink Satellites will enable high speed internet to rural areas, and how autonomous vehicles will impact the way society receives goods and services and have wide ranging impact on the transportation sector.  When trustees asked how PRSD is responding and preparing for these changes, Jeff Thompson, PRSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning responded that instruction is moving more toward a focus on process, skills, problem solving and creative thinking. The board commended Pierson for his dedication to support technology integration and for the enlightening information shared in the presentation. “The Technology Services team does exceptional work to support teaching and learning and provide students with the best opportunities possible” says Board Chair Darren Kuester. “The presentation today was eye opening and provided the board with food for thought.”

Board plans for meetings with neighboring school boards
Trustees discussed plans and agenda items for upcoming meetings with the Holy Family Catholic Regional School Division and the Grande Prairie Catholic School Division board of trustees. The board meets annually with neighboring school boards to discuss topics of common interest. Common agenda items for both meetings with HFCRD and GPCSD include capital planning, student mental health and wrap-around services (supports for mental health, addiction, physical and learning disabilities) and PRSD’s outreach programs in Peace River and Fairview.  Administration is working on scheduling the meetings to take place in the coming weeks. “These meetings provide all boards with the opportunity to share, collaborate and discuss common areas of interest in our school communities” says Kuester.

Policy Work
The board performed an annual review of Policy 4 Trustee Code of Conduct, Policy 4 Appendix – Trustee Code of Conduct Sanctions and passed second reading of Policy 9, Board Representatives. View policies under review here.