Sunday, 24 January 2016

Seeking the Best for Our Students

The January snow and post Christmas return to classes make September feel a long way off, but preparations have already begun for next year. The recent announcement of a new school for Fort St St John kicked off a flurry of behind the scenes activities as we rush to find architects, designers and builders in order to get building as soon as possible. To accommodate the current and projected numbers of students, schools have been asked for fall enrollment projections; always a challenging task in a community as energetic, fluid and vibrant as ours. In the past years we've been pretty accurate in projecting our needs. This year however more than 300 additional students arrived above and beyond projections.

Providing quality service and instruction to a growing community goes beyond just ensuring that everyone gets a seat. Besides making sure facilities are available and up to the task, senior staff are always searching for the best people to work with our students. This week, I accompanied our district recruiters to the education job fair at UBC, in order to meet aspiring new teacher graduates. Recruiting efforts continue this week in Saskatchewan and Alberta as staff meet with teacher candidates in Regina and Grande Prairie.  Closer to home staff recently celebrated with graduates of Northern Lights College's AHCOTE teacher education program.  I'm happy to report that several of them are now working within the district.

It can be a challenge to find and retain good people to work with our students, whether it be in teaching or any of the many support positions that are all so essential to our operations. Beyond teachers a school district must have clerical staff, educational assistants, custodians, bus drivers, and a whole team of skilled tradesmen to ensure that our students are well served. Northern recruitment has its own set of challenges. Public sector compensation cannot always compete financially with the private sector,  and there remains a perception in folks who've never been here that our geography and climate are inhospitable.

Fortunately we know better. Our district includes a tremendous range of talent in all ranks and professions and we are always seeking to add to the team. Whether its through the online provincial jobs portal at www.makeafuture.ca , our own district websites and youtube channels or just word of mouth we continue seek the best for our students. We are working to get the word out that SD 60 is a great place to live, work, and make sure that education matters!

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