Kleckner fuelled by her experience

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

For a student-success teacher at PCHS, helping students is a personal matter.

“I felt that the teachers gave up on me,” said Melissa Kleckner. “I was absolutely devastated.”

Kleckner, who attended PCHS during her high school years, is now in charge of a department of the school that is determined to help struggling students and push achieving students even harder.

Her past experience at PCHS is what drove her to make a difference.

“Just because a kid has to work 40 hours per week and their grades are slipping because of it, doesn’t mean they can’t learn,” said Kleckner, referring to her situation while she was a student at PCHS.

The student success program at PCHS follows a system, which includes identifying the students’ problems first with the help of a 13-teacher alert team, then taking the appropriate steps to help them, including notification of parents, appointing a counselor and notifying teachers of the students’ situation.

When students are discovered to have any sort of problem, they are monitored. Kleckner keeps tabs on their marks, their attendance and any problems that happen in the classroom.

The school motto, which is ‘Putting all learners on winning streaks’, is something that Kleckner and the teachers at the high school follow closely in their teaching philosophy.

“Teachers aren’t here to teach, we’re here to help kids learn,” said Kleckner. “Everyone needs to remember that.”

Kleckner also says that she has seen a drastic mood shift with the teachers and students since she was a student. Many in the school attribute the change of demeanor to principal Ian Rawlinson, who took over roughly five years ago.

“We truly believe that our job is to help students be successful,” said Rawlinson.

“When I was in grade 10, I was a lost child myself,” said Rawlinson. “(Kleckner) and the alert team ensures that every kid has someone.”

According to Rawlinson, since Kleckner started at the school with the student success program, there have been no students expelled and the students are on the right track.