I would like to take a moment to welcome both new and returning families and school communities to the 2016-17 school year at Prairie Rose School Division. Our mission here is to positively inspire lifelong learning through everyone learning together. Most of our energy is in one way or another directed to this purpose.
I thank our school communities for your support last year. Achievement results from Alberta Education’s Accountability Pillar will be available in early October. Survey results from last May and all other indicators such as graduation rates, transition to post-secondary and all other indicators show significant improvements. I am proud of the staff for their very active support related to our first Wildly Important Goal (WIG) of improvements in literacy, especially reading. The Board of Trustees invested significant dollars last year in improving and updating classroom literacy resources. Your active support of this and other strategies included in the Board’s Education Plan is greatly appreciated and is making a positive difference for students.
A trend as indicated by staff, students and the media includes concerns related to wellness. Although we continue to improve in most data indicators, the weakened economy and more complicated societal factors have led to an overall increase in student anxiety. Unresolved anxiety leads to depression and other mental wellness disorders. Our second Wildly Important Goal will include work on this topic.
Other successes lately have included additional partnerships with Medicine Hat College and other community colleges related to dual credit opportunities for high school students. Dual credit partnerships mean that students can gain high school and college credit while still high school. We have included media announcement this summer and will have further announcements about this soon, stay tuned. We also would like to have some important conversations about reporting achievement to parents this year.
We are very excited to see a new school at Schuler this year, high water tables have destroyed the foundation and we are excited to see the prototype building for small rural schools open later this spring. Planning related to modernization work at Eagle Butte High School continues.
Start-up for a new school year often brings some challenges. Our communication protocols include first speaking with the most direct person, usually this is the classroom teacher and/or the school principal. Most issues can be solved at that level. The use of social media will not solve a problem.
I am excited for another year filled with engagement, learning and fun. We hope to improve a little each day and we will by working together for the best interest of our students. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to welcome all to another year of “everyone learning together.”