The work on hiring a new leader for Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is taking another step up.
WCPS board of trustees will be getting together later this month to pour over the applications for the job as superintendent, a post that has been vacant since Larry Jacobs took a leave of absence at the end of February followed by the sudden announcement of his retirement on April 15.
Since that time, Jayson Lovell has moved from his assistant superintendent of People Services role to fill in as acting superintendent.
The board is expected to look over the results of the interviews done with the candidates that were selected to participate in the process, but it isn’t known if trustees will make a decision at that time on who they would like to hire.
However, it’s anticipated a preferred candidate will be offered the post before the end of June as the board wants to have the new superintendent in place – if possible – prior to the start of the new school year in September.
Need an alternative
At the WCPS board of trustees meeting on Thursday, June 2, a decision was made to seek options to producing and distributing a division-wide Back to School flyer this fall.
Citing the high cost of $8,000 for 34,000 copies of the glossy full colour four-page flyer, trustees asked administration to head back to the drawing board and bring back some alternatives to what was described by trustee Bob Huff as, “not the wisest use of our money.”
Trustee Pam Hansen was the first to question the flyer’s effectiveness noting that, “it’s quite a bit more money than I first thought and maybe we should be looking for something more economical considering the financial situation we are facing.” That comment was a nod to the fact WCPS has approved about $2.6 million in cutbacks for the 2016/17 school year in order to balance the budget.
Trustee Donna Peterson added having the flyer has always been an issue since she’s been on the board as parents get more use out of the calendar from their specific school, in addition to the fact many people at the east side of the division area never receive them because the flyer is distributed via local newspaper inserts.
“Now might be the time to stop doing the things the way they were normally done and look at a different way of doing things,” she stated.
Huff then chimed in, “If its costing us $8,000, then you add in the cost and the time of our staff to do this, then I have to ask why we are doing it if there is no real value.”
WCPS acting superintendent Jayson Lovell admitted the cost is big and the division has also had very little feedback on the flyer from people in the various communities WCPS serves, so will come back at the board’s next meeting with some recommendations about what else can be done to accomplish similar goals.
The WCPS division office will be a brighter, more welcoming place for everyone with the addition of a new piece of First Nations artwork.
A painting by acclaimed Montana First Nation artist Aaron Currie – entitled Hair – was presented to the WCPS board of trustees by Montana First Nation Elder Joseph Deschamps, who also works in conjunction with the school division in various aspects of aboriginal culture and integration.
The artwork will be on display in the foyer and represents the continued growth of understanding between the school division and the aboriginal community. Deschamps also explained the cultural elements and symbolism of the painting to trustees.
In addition, trustees also approved a request to place on display the formal apology to Canada’s aboriginal community from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the residential schools in the foyer as well.
Lovell updated trustees on the questions that arose last month about dual high school/college credit courses.
He stated that there is one school that presently has an arrangement with Red Deer College for spots in their fabrication and construction courses, though the information on getting students involved hasn’t been widely available to other high schools in WCPS.
“What we are presently doing is gather more information about those opportunities for students and bring that awareness to the principals of our schools,” Lovell said.
“While there are some arrangements in some of our schools to have trades come in, we think this could be a chance to expand beyond just the trades – into other areas such as business – which would tie in nicely with the college. So our hope is to keep this going forward for next year.”