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Under the Northern Lights - May 1, 2024

Good News Items

  • Vice-Chair Garry Kissel complimented Glendon School leadership students on their successful cake and auction which raised $2,800 for the Bonnyville and District SPCA, new Glendon Public Library, and the school's leadership activities. Kissel noted that bags of perogies sold for $200 and a dozen cookies averaged $75.

  • Trustee Roy Ripkens thanked the Board for the opportunity to attend the recent ASCD Conference with Trustee Ron Young. 

  • Board Chair Karen Packard commended the staff involved in planning the Lakeland Student Trades Fair which offered students in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake regions the opportunity to explore a variety of careers, talk to potential employers, and learn about post-secondary options. She said she heard many positive comments about the event from both vendors and students who attended.

  • Trustee Debra Lozinski thanked division staff for their efforts to support and relocated Ecole Plamondon School students and staff following flooding at the school in April.

  • Trustee Cheryl Edwards thanked Duclos School for the opportunity to participate in their recent Family Reading Day celebration. Edwards was Jack in the performance of "Who's Been Eating My Porridge."

  • Nicole Garner, Communications and Public Relations Manager, presented Good News highlights from throughout the division. The full presentation is available on our website: Good News - May 1, 2024.

Ardmore School - Ottawa Trip

Ardmore School students shared the highlights of their recent trip to Ottawa. Twenty-two students, eight parents and five staff spent a week in Ottawa visiting a number of educational and historic sites throughout the city.

They were grateful to receive a tour of Parliament with MP Laila Goodridge. They also observed Question Period, receiving a wave from Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre, and met MP Shannon Stubbs. 

Other interesting sights included the Centennial Flame, Chateau Laurier, Rideau Canal, Byward Market, the Canadian War Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, Rideau Hall, a Haunted Hike, the RCMP stables, Roman Catholic Cathedral, and Aviation and Space Museum.

The favourite part of the visit for the group was visiting the Canadian Museum of History which features Alex Janvier's Morning Star in the dome of the Haida Gwaii Salon in the museum. 

The students took pins given to them by MLA Scott Cyr to hand out to people they met during their visit. They also hid ducks at different locations with instructions for people who found them to post pictures on social media with a hashtag. One duck travelled all the way to Washington, D.C.

Edwin Parr Award

The Board welcomed the division's 2024 Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominee, Danik Becotte.

The Edwin Parr Award recognizes outstanding first-year teachers for their contributions to education. Each Board selects one teacher annually to nominate for this provincial award.

Becotte is an NLPS alumnus who graduated from Cold Lake High School in 2019 and then earned his teaching degree from the University of Alberta. This year he is teaching French and Science at Cold Lake High School. He said it was important for him to return to Cold Lake and give back to the area that gave so much to him and his family. Becotte said he's had an amazing first year and has enjoyed building relationships with students and his colleagues. 

More information about Becotte is available on our website: Edwin Parr Teacher Nominee

2024 Impact Awards

The Board approved the recognition of 21 students with 2024 Impact Awards this year. The awards will be presented at schools throughout the month of June.

2025-2026 School Calendar

The Board approved a draft 2025-2026 School Calendar in principle. The calendar will be shared with stakeholders for feedback in the fall before it is considered for final approval.

Division Priorities

Bill Driedger, Associate Superintendent, thanked all of the students, staff, parents and community members who participated in the Community Engagement sessions that were held in February and March to help the Board determine new division priorities for its Three-Year Education Plan.

He noted there were four highlights that came out of the feedback process: appreciation for the nutrition programs in the division's schools; appreciation for the supports and programs that are in place to support mental health and wellness; appreciation for the division's teachers and support staff; and appreciation for the internal communication processes that are in place.

After reviewing all of the feedback at the recent Board retreat, the Board identified two improvement priorities for its Three-Year Education Plan. Improvement Priority One will be to increase student achievement. This priority has two parts. For ECS to Grade 6 students the focus will be on improving foundational skills in numeracy and literacy. For Grades 7 to 12 the focus will be on enhancing learning pathways to success. Improvement Priority Two is to continue to support the improvement of the mental wellbeing of students.

Now that the Board has approved those priorities, administration will being the process of identifying strategies to address those priorities at the division level that will be included in the Three-Year Education Plan. Schools will also identify strategies as part of developing their school plans for next year.

Board Policy 26

The Board reviewed the feedback received from stakeholders on proposed changes to Policy 26. The updated policy was approved and will be posted on the NLPS website and shared with stakeholders.

Ecole Plamondon Update

Superintendent Rick Cusson provided an overview of the steps taken following flooding at Ecole Plamondon School on April 18. Just over 250,000 litres of water entered the school due to a water main break in the schools teacher workroom/art room, causing damage to almost every classroom in the building.

The school was closed on April 19, 22 and 23 while school and division staff worked to find and set up alternate sites for students and staff to finish the school year. Cusson noted that the relocation could not have occurred so quickly if the community hadn't stepped up and offered space and assistance. In just five days, temporary classrooms were set up for K and Grade 1 at the community hall, grades 2 and 3 at curling rink, preschool at the Francophone school, and grades 4-12 at Portage College in Lac La Biche.  This included packing up personal belongings, supplies and resources from the school and transporting them to the new sites, setting up technology, and modifying transportation routes. Cusson said this is an excellent example of what working together can accomplish.

Damage to the school is still being assessed. Cusson said the insurance claim is expected to be in excess of $2 million. The school will be closed for an extended period of time while repairs are being made. The division is hoping that classes can resume on September 1 for the start of the 2024-2025 school year. 

Disposition of Central Elementary School

Superintendent Rick Cusson received a letter from Alberta Education informing him that the transfer of Central Elementary School to Conseil scolaire Centre-Est had been approved. The request had initially been made six years ago.