A new school year begins next week and new superintendent Lynn Hauptman is excited for the upcoming year.
Hauptman said that things are looking wonderful and added she’s just had two days with all the senior staff and administrators working on preparations for the new school year.
“I am so incredibly excited to be working here in this school district,” Hauptman said. “I had the unique opportunity to be here for a whole week in June. During that week I had the chance to visit every school in the district and meet almost all the teachers.”
She feels this is a district that really works together.
“All the pieces come together beautifully and everybody keeps it centred on our students because that’s what we’re here for,” she said.
School District 5 has began a program that sees teachers work together collaboratively to look at ways to improve their students’ achievements, called professional learning communities. Hauptman explained that teachers look at current research and strategies on how they can best implement them, as well as looking at whether or not it’s having an effect.
“It’s very powerful work, that teacher-to-teacher engagement,” she said. “Teachers working collaboratively and working with one another, it’s just one of the best things possible for school systems.”
She said she’s pleased with that the school board has agreed to continue supporting the work.
The school district has two major goals – to have all students graduate with a purpose and options for completing school and for all students to be able to read at grade level by the end of Grade 3.
“Those are pretty lofty goals, but we’re well on our way in terms of getting there,” she said.
“All school districts need to set what they believe is the work that needs to happen. So we based that on data that is looked at every year. We always strive for the utmost. We dream big and set lofty goals. When you say every student will graduate and every child will read by the end of Grade 3, there’s not a district that’s at that point yet, but then we set an action plan on how we’re going to improve.
“We have seen some improvements over the past few years, but want to see more.”
Hauptman said that is a big part of the budget setting. As well, the board looks at staffing and goals to decide what to apportion in dollars to reach those goals.
On the subject of possible job action by Canadian Union of Public Employees, Hauptman said there is work currently going on in terms of trying to resolve some of the current issues, with the biggest being monetary.
“Right now the Ministry (of Education) is working with the employer group and CUPE,” she said, adding meetings will be happening this week. “We hope that there will be some positive conversations at that table so that we don’t end up in job action. That will be the work that has to be done in September by boards across the province. There will be a meeting between board chairs and the BCSTA on Sept. 5.”
Hauptman said over the summer maintenance and custodial staff have worked hard to get the buildings ready.
“They’re kind of the unsung heroes of the school district,” she said. “They really create that wonderful environment for our students to return to every september. This summer was no different.”
She said she also had the pleasure of meeting with the district parent advisory committee.
Student registration starts this week so she couldn’t say whether there were any big changes in the student population.
“This tends to be a pretty stable community, not a lot of transiency,” she said. “We’ll have some new students but will have left over the summer. By the end of September we’ll have an accurate count. That count is what our funding is based on.”
The new superintendent said she loves the end of August and the anticipation at the beginning of September and reminds everyone to register for school.
“If you are new to the community and have not registered, please contact your neighbourhood school and register, all they need to bring is their birth certificate.”