Minister honours school districts

The Minister of Education Leadership Recognition Award (MELRA) has been given to two Ponoka-area school divisions recognizing outstanding work contributing to student successes within our schools.

By Jasmine Franklin.

The Minister of Education Leadership Recognition Award (MELRA) has been given to two Ponoka-area school divisions recognizing outstanding work contributing to student successes within our schools.

“Success is the result of having clear, measurable objectives and great leadership,” said Dave Hancock, Alberta’s minister of education. “Nowhere is that more apparent than with Alberta’s school board trustees and superintendents.”

Wolf Creek School Division and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools Division, (STAR), were commended by the minister for enhancing education within their schools.

Wolf Creek was recognized for significant improvement in the practical arts (Career and Technological Studies courses), fine arts, healthful living and non-diploma courses such as extra curricular courses.

“It’s always nice to receive these kinds of awards,” said Larry Jacobs, Wolf Creek superintendent. “The healthy living aspect has really been important.”

Through the healthy living initiative, Wolf Creek received a $50,000 grant and appointed one staff member in each school to work with staff and administrators on healthy eating and activities.

“A lot of parents like the fact of healthy eating choices,” Jacob said. “Kids get excited about healthy living.”

STAR Catholic received recognition for significantly improving their high school completion rate and diploma exam participation rates.

High school completion jumped to 78 per cent this year, from 66 per cent last school year.

“We invested heavily into technology enhancement and CTS courses to engage our students and keep them focused,” said Jamie McNamara, STAR superintendent. “We’ve spent a lot of resources and time in these areas.”

The school division also received a high score of 89.8 in the quality of education which is above the provincial average of 89.3.

Next year’s goals for the STAR division are to focus on literacy across all grades. Personal development will be done with all teachers from grades K to 12.

“If students can’t read then they can’t understand,” said McNamara. “We want to focus on improving all reading skills.”

In central Alberta, seven school boards were recognized.