Truth and Reconciliation Week
Jeff Thompson, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, brought forward a request to the board to make a permanent motion designating the week encompassing September 30 as Truth and Reconciliation Week in PRSD schools.
“It sends a very strong message that the board is fully onboard and supportive of the Truth and Reconciliation initiatives that are on the way throughout the country,” said Thompson.
The board of trustees unanimously agreed to designate the entire week encompassing or preceding September 30 as Truth and Reconciliation week across the Division.
Capital Plan Update
Following the news that the Division successfully obtained funding to convert the Manning bus garage into instructional space, Secretary/Treasurer Rhonda Freeman requested that the board remove the Manning bus garage as the Division’s top priority and replace it with the plan for a new K-12 School in Red Earth Creek. The board approved this change.
The board was made aware of an upcoming art gala hosted by the Peace River Art Club. The art club is in Peace River, and currently operates out of the former central operations building. Freeman explained that the art club is doing very well in the building, which is still owned by the PRSD.
“I'm so happy for them. They're a big presence in their town. They're doing really, really well,” she said.
The board agreed to send at least two representatives to the upcoming art gala.
Superintendent Adam Murray shared preliminary enrolment numbers, stating that as of September 21, the Division’s total enrolment was 3,041. Murray continued by highlighting the growing enrolment in the Division’s home education program with 116 students currently enrolled with the Peace Home Learning Connection.
“That's promising. Those are people that continue to stay with us and are bringing their friends. We've got a good reputation and parents are really interested in exploring their own curriculum or we can introduce them to the Alberta curriculum, if they so wish,” Murray said.
An area of concern, according to Murray, is the Division’s Kindergarten enrolment numbers. At 188 students across the division, the overall trend in Kindergarten enrolment is showing a decline.
“But that's going to continue until industry comes here because farming doesn't require the amount of people that it used to require,” Murray said. “So, we have got to really think about that when we make long-term decisions, and when we talk to the government.”
Request for a First Nation Trustee
The Board reviewed a request from the Western Cree Tribal Council to have a joint meeting with the Duncan’s First Nation chief and council to discuss the possibility of introducing a First Nation trustee to the PRSD board of trustees. During the last school year, the Alberta Education Minister passed a new regulation for education service agreements between school boards and First Nations encouraging each board to foster strategic decisions with an Indigenous perspective.
While all of the trustees had many questions regarding the process, all expressed an overall willingness to invite a representative from Duncan’s First Nation to the board table. A motion was approved to request a meeting with the Western Cree Tribal Council at Duncan’s First Nation to further discuss their request.
The board received an update from facilities regarding work that was completed over the summer months. Facilities began by including a brief update on the progress of the new Manning School build and the conversion of the Manning bus garage project. Construction of the new school building has commenced and a floor plan for the bus garage has been drafted.
Facilities also highlighted work done throughout the Division to install security doorbell systems at schools that enable office managers to address visitors at the main entrance to the schools from their desks. This will increase the overall security and safety of schools because there is no longer any reason a door should be left propped open and unsupervised for any period of time
Other work included the construction of the classroom and office spaces for the North Peace Commercial Driving Academy, a new roof at Lloyd Garrison School, repaired sidewalks at Nampa Public School, a new elevator at Peace River High School, new windows at TA Norris Middle School, and new second floor bathrooms at Peace River High School. These bathrooms were constructed in response to a request from the school community for safer washroom spaces. The new bathroom design enables increased supervision in the area where students wash their hands, and increased privacy in stalls.
Following an in-camera discussion, the board unanimously approved a motion to state that the motion made at the special meeting held September 19 had been addressed.
At the special meeting the board made a motion authorizing Board Chair Crystal Owens to oversee the review of queries made by Trustee Moise Dion and Trustee Marie Dyck regarding the board chair and vice-chair election process that took place during a special meeting on August 28.
The motion made on September 21 means that all queries regarding the August 28 meeting have received a response.