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Under the Northern Lights - February 23, 2022

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Trustee/Admin Information Items

  • Trustee Debra Lozinski commended Lac La Biche County on the Pink Shirt Day banners put up throughout the community. 

  • Nicole Garner, Communications and Public Relations Manager, presented the Board with Good News from schools throughout the division. The focus for the presentation was Numeracy, which is one of the division's priority areas identified in its Three-Year Education Plan. The full presentation is available on our website: Good News - February 23, 2022.


COVID Update

Rick Cusson, Superintendent, provided the Board with an update on COVID-19 and how it is impacting the school division. Since the last board meeting, no additional classes or grades have had to shift online and there has been a drop in staff absenteeism related to COVID. Students have resumed participation in sports competitions and field trips following the guidance provided by Alberta Education. 

More restrictions are expected to be lifted on March 1, but there will continue to be a guidance document that outlines what process and procedures school divisions need to follow in regards to COVID. As per the last announcement from the government, school boards are no longer permitted the flexibility to implement enhanced measures beyond what is included in the guidance document.


Cold Lake Middle School Renaming

Rick Cusson, Superintendent, reviewed the presentation made by students from Cold Lake Middle School and Nelson Heights Middle School at the last board meeting. The students requested the Board consider a name change for the school, which is transitioning from a 4-8 to a 7-9 school over the next two years. According to the division's administrative procedure that details the process for naming new schools or renaming existing facilities, the Board has to approve a potential name change and then collect public feedback before making a final decision. 

The Board passed a motion to accept the name change to Cold Lake Junior High in principle and to gather input from the public on the proposed change. Cold Lake Junior High received the most support from students during the consultation done by the student focus group. 

More information about the public consultation process will be shared with the community once plans are finalized.


Board Meetings 2022-2023

The Board approved their meetings dates for 2022-2023. They have been added to the Board Meetings section of the website. 


Transportation Report

Terry Moghrabi, Associate Superintendent, provided the Board with an update on the impact the bus driver shortage is having on the division providing transportation services to students. A bus contractor gave the division notice that they no longer had a driver for Route 68 which is a route that starts in the rural area around Bonnyville and then picks up students in town. No spare driver is available to do the route and the contractor and NLPS are currently working together to recruit a new driver. Moghrabi noted that the Transportation department is working with contractors to see if alternate options are available for some students that were on that route. 

Bonnyville has been the area most affected by the bus driver shortage with five routes collapsing since September. One route that was vacant earlier in the year has since been filled. 


Political Advocacy 

Following up on a discussion at a recent Public School Boards' Association of Alberta meeting, Trustee Debra Lozinski suggested that the Board write a letter to the Education Minister requesting that the implementation of the new curriculum be deferred. She noted several issues with implementing the new curriculum in September including harming children who are still catching up from time missed due to COVID, and inadequate time to train teachers and prepare resources. The Board agreed to write a letter requesting a delay in implementation. 


Finance Committee

The Finance Committee recommended that Trustee Expense Claims be posted on the division's website within 60 days of approval. The Board passed a motion supporting that recommendation.