Students will get one more day of classes for the next school year.
Trustees with Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) approved the new school calendar for the 2017-18 school year at the board’s meeting on Feb. 2. The new calendar will see student instructional days increase by one to 175, while the number of aligned calendar days for staff has been reduced from 16 to 14.
WCPS superintendent Jayson Lovell explained a staff feedback survey saw just over three-quarters of WCPS staff wanted to keep the number of days for professional development and other staff days at 16, but that trustees determined a change was necessary for the safety of students.
“The board had a very thorough discussion around the feedback, comparisons from other central Alberta school division calendars and details on how those aligned calendar days are being used to support our staff and their ongoing work to develop their skills and understanding of students and best practices,” Lovell said.
The first day for students will be Sept. 5 with two staff days — on Fridays — scheduled for the months of September, October, February and April with just one staff day set aside in November, December, January, March, May and June.
The full WCPS division calendar is available on the website at www.wolfcreek.ab.ca.
Future remains Bright
As part of Lovell’s report to the board, trustees were presented with an update on the state of enrollments for next year’s Bright Futures Play Academy pre-kindergarten program.
As of the meeting, 100 new registrations for the program have been received across the division in the past month with many existing families re-enrolling their children that will be turning four for a second year. For those families, each was asked for feedback about the program with all 38 responding they were satisfied or very satisfied.
Due to the continued favourable response from parents, Lovell told the board that administration is discussing possibly expanding the program at some sites. However, any request to do that will come to trustees at a future meeting.
Bus drivers needed
As has been mentioned at a meeting last fall, a concerted effort continues to be put forth by WCPS to recruit bus drivers with trustees being informed the situation seems to be getting worse instead of better.
Lovell explained there remain difficulties in retaining current drivers, which is amplifying the problems the division is having in attracting new drivers.
“Due to illness and other leaves, the supply of bus drivers has become very scarce, particularly for spare drivers,” he stated.
“Without a sufficient number of trained drivers, the operation of routes is at risk when drivers are absent. This situation also places additional stress on the regular drivers as they simply cannot be given time off.”
Administration continues to search for those who might be interested. Lovell said anyone considering applying should call the WCPS transportation department at (403) 783-3473 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The division will train all new drivers and also assist them in attaining the required Class 2 license and “S” endorsement. Lovell added drivers also receive a competitive salary and benefits package.
A proposed survey, to be done through Thoughtexchange, for all present WCPS Grade 9 and 12 students was reviewed by trustees prior to being approved and distributed. It’s hoped the survey will give WCPS a better idea at what students feel is being done well in the current system and what improvement students believe should be made to make the educational experience better for the future. It wasn’t know when the survey would be sent out.
As well, WCPS administrative staff along with principals and other staff from the three Outreach programs — Ponoka, Lacombe, Rimbey — have created a group to look at generating a new and comprehensive overall vision for the programs. Lovell explained that the Outreach Visioning Process will see all of the participants working on creating a more aligned mission, beliefs and set of goals for the programs with a draft document to come to trustees before the end of the school year.