Schools getting set for new year

School starts in a little over a week and school district staff, teachers and students are all busy getting ready

School starts in a little over a week and school district staff, teachers and students are all busy getting ready.

School District 5 superintendent Lynn Hauptman said things are looking fantastic for the upcoming school year. Last year, as most will recall, began with a teacher job action that delayed the start of classes into the fall. This year however things are proceeding smoothly.

“We’re very happy that things have been settled and we’re looking forward to a wonderful school year — a very productive school year,” Hauptman said.

The school board has been busy meeting with principals, vice-principals and clerical workers over the past few days to ensure everyone is ready for the start of classes.

There are new teachers coming in as well.

“We had a lot of hiring that we did last year in terms of new teachers and adding teachers to our teachers on call list,” she said. “We’re still in the process of doing some further postings or fillings that we have a number of new teachers.”

Teachers are hired through the year, she added.

“We also have what’s called the Learning Improvement Fund which is quite a substantial sum of money that came out of the last round of bargaining,” she said.  “Through this the education fund part of it is to hire more teachers. We look at it once in the spring, consult with our schools and our local unions and make decisions in the spring.”

That funding is also used in the fall.

“We take a look at, are there any hotspots? Are there any places that need some additional supports and services?”

On the subject of students, Hauptman said they won’t have the official count until the end September, though they will have an idea by Sept. 10.

“But as every year, we’ve had a number of new students registering throughout our schools in the district, but we don’t know how many students have left,” she said. “That’s why it always takes us the month of September to track them down and make sure that everybody is where they are supposed to be.”

The province is also in the midst of a changeover of curriculum.

“And not just one subject area, but really looking to transform how we deliver education and really engage our students,” she said. “This year is optional implementation from K-9, and next year it will be mandatory — the new curriculum and competencies.”

She said it will be an exciting year.

Also on Sept. 25, Barbara Coloroso is coming to present to the district. Hauptman said she is a well-known presenter who has spoken to parent groups and educators and community leaders for years and years on parenting advice and educational advice.

She will be presenting the night before for anyone who wants to come out at Key City Theatre at 7 p.m. (Sept.  24). It will be about teaching children how to think and act ethically.

“It’s going to be a workshop that will be packed with solid, practical advice. I found her years ago when my kids were little. She was my guru in terms of parenting. There were so many things that she gave me personally that I use for my own children. If you talk to other folks who know of her, they will tell you the same thing.”

SD5 has eight elementary school, six middle and high schools, and one that is a combined — the Jaffray Elementary Junior Secondary School. There is also the Kootenay Discovery School, which is a distance learning centre, accessible throughout the district.