Wednesday, 20 September 2017

And We're Off - The New Year Begins!

The start of a new school year brings with it a whole new set of challenges and possibilities. This year, in addition to all the regular anxieties that come with start up, our district faces the added challenges of recruiting enough staff and making every effort to operate within restored contract language that limits class size and composition.  Add increases to enrollment  at many schools and you have a recipe for lot of anxiety.

Our district is dynamic and growing. This year more than 6000 students will be attending our schools. With many schools already stretched beyond capacity, this expansion has required the ordering of portables for installation at a number of sites. While district maintenance staff stand ready to install our new classrooms upon their arrival, provincial circumstances including high demand for limited stock and transit routes and supply chains slowed by forest fires, have required some schools to improvise and house classes in alternate spaces for now. Portables began to arrive in district this week and the plan is to have them in place and operational as soon as possible and no later than early next month.

District recruiting efforts brought nearly 60 new teachers to the district. Impressive numbers but we still have openings for at least seven additional full time teachers. Increasing enrollment and restored contract language limiting class size and composition has created a high demand for teachers all across the province and many northern district are competing with us for available candidates.

Growth in town has sometimes made it difficult for families to have their students attend their schools of choice. Principals and district staff are working hard to ensure that all students have a seat in an appropriate learning environment, and we know it can be more than frustrating when things don't work out exactly as hoped. The patience and understanding of our community and staff are greatly appreciated. Creative talent and the ability to innovate have long been a strength of our communities.
As this new school year rolls out I thank staff students and community members for their patience and resilience and know that all our staff will be doing their best to make this a successful year for everyone!