SUMMING IT UP: School Board searches for new superintendent, new after school arts program, visit to Abbotsford Middle School

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
November 16th, 2012

The search for a new School District 51 superintendent is coming to an end.

This month the shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by not only the Board of Education, but other community stakeholders as well, including Parent Advisory Council members, teachers and support staff. The community interviews are scheduled to take place November 19 followed by interviews with the Board of Education sometime after November 20. The board hopes to have a decision by early December.

Superintendent Michael Strukoff is set to retire in 2013.

Arts added to popular sports initiative

The After School Sports Initiative started last school year has been so successful at attracting and motivating students from Perley and Hutton Elementary Schools that a new arts component has been added to the schedule.

The initiative is funded by a government grant and aims at attracting students who may not be finding success in their normal gym classes.

“It really is trying to create opportunities for children in the Grand Forks community that are having a hard time connecting with sport as a positive influence in their life or are having self-esteem issues that find it difficult to connect with sport that way and families that might not have the financial wherewithal to get them into sports,” said Perley principal Kevin Ague during the regular board meeting earlier this month.

This year the program continues along with high school mentors and team leaders. They do everything from bowling, hiking and snowshoeing to gymnastics. Every Monday from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. the Grade 4 and 5 students from Perley and Hutton meet at Hutton and the Grade 6 and 7 students meet every Wednesday at Perley during the same time. There is also an additional community-based recreational activity scheduled one Friday a month. The students had to apply to participate and there is a wait list. About 20 kids per grade group are registered with participation running an average of 15 students per week.

“We want them to get to a point that they can pick up a badminton racket and say I can do this,” said Ague.

The arts group is similar to the sports program. It runs on Mondays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Hutton. The first day was earlier this month.

“So now the same social and emotional objectives as we spoke about in sport is now moving into this for an arts program,” said Hutton principal Doug Lacey. “So the whole idea of connectedness and taking risk and having opportunities to have new experiences. And so the goal of the program is to build self-esteem through art and to be able to interact with local artists in our community.”

The sports program costs $31,000 a year to operate and the arts program will be funded through a $12,000 grant. While the grant won’t run indefinitely, both Ague and Lacey hope the board decides to continue the program in the future.

“We’re holding people back (the program coordinators) are getting parents phoning them at home … and there’s only so many (spaces),” said Ague.

“Really those dollars are pretty minor for the impact,” said board chair Teresa Rezansoff, adding  a breakdown of the expenses might enable them to include the program in their future budgets once the funding ends.

Teachers to head to Abbotsford to tour middle school

While the board has decided to postpone their decision on whether to proceed with a middle school or not, they will continue to gather the information needed to make the decision.

Boundary teachers, trustees and even members of the public will be heading to Abbotsford November 22 to 23 to tour the Abbotsford Middle School. Abbotsford was chosen because, although larger than the proposed middle school in Grand Forks, it is similarly structured. While there the visitors will see the school during a normal day and have an opportunity to speak with teachers working there.

Teachers who participate in the trip will be returning to their schools, speaking with their colleagues. All teachers will be asked to provide feedback that will be included in the documentation the board will review.

Categories: EducationGeneral