School District 57 board meeting held in Valemount

Dianne St. Jean

Discussions focus on meeting constituents’ needs

School District 57 held their regular board meeting in Valemount on Tuesday, May 1 at the VSS library. The meeting was connected by video conference to the Boardroom of the Central Administration Office in Prince George, and was open to the public.

Those attending included Tim Bennett (Chair), Trish Perrin (Vice Chair), trustees Bob Harris, Brenda Hooker (via telecon), Sharel Warrington, Tony Cable, Bruce Wiebe, Superintendent of Schools Marilyn Marquis-Forster, and executive assistant Diane Nygaard, as well as other representatives from Prince George.

SD57 held their regular board meeting in Valemount on May 1 in the Valemount Secondary School library. The meeting was open to the public.
SD57 held their regular board meeting in Valemount on May 1 in the Valemount Secondary School library. The meeting was open to the public.
Dianne St. Jean photo

MLA Shirley Bond, Village of Valemount councillors Peter Reimer and Owen Torgerson, principals Derrick Shaw (Valemount) and Dan Kenkel (McBride) were among the other attendees.

A variety of topics were discussed, a main part of which included the need to find ways to offer a range of courses and diversity to students.

In her address, Joanne Hapke, president of the Prince George District Teachers’ Association said, “We need to start funding needs and not just the enrollment number.”

Discussions included the school district’s efforts in collaborating with industry to provide students in certain areas with the opportunity to operate machinery as a form of extra learning. There was also discussion on shared use of facilities and surplus space in Mackenzie Secondary School.

Other issues included approval of a two-year calendar, and changing Family Day to the third Monday in February in accordance with the Province’s decision to align Family Day weekend in BC with other provinces.

McBride position seen as stable

The board had met previously in McBride to discuss consultation processes and to plan a variety of courses and ways to innovate and increase access for students to those courses.  According to SD57 Superintendent Marilyn Marquis-Foster, the elementary and secondary programming in 2018/2019 in McBride is secure, and the Board sees things as remaining stable. There is positive future outlook with high numbers of enrollment at the primary level.

New trustee positions for rural representation

New trustee positions will be showing up on ballot boxes in this year’s upcoming general school election - one for the Robson Valley and the other for the District of Mackenzie. Five seats remain for the greater Prince George region.

The new positions are in response to requests to have northern rural schools better represented within the district. Minister Rob Fleming authorized the variation last month. The next general school trustee election is to be held on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Lacrosse added as new course option

The new graduation program requires Grade 10-12 courses to be either Ministry authorized or Board authorized in order to count toward graduation; therefore, a recommendation to have Lacrosse 10 approved as a Board authorized course was passed. The course will be worth 4 credits.

The course will not only provide students with an additional option toward their graduation program, but more importantly, as a traditional indigenous game, will foster awareness of indigenous culture and enable First Nation students to actively participate in that aspect of their culture.

And, many individuals may not be aware of the fact that lacrosse is also Canada’s National Summer Sport.

The course as recommended consists of five units. The first unit covers the history of lacrosse in North America including the origins of the game, and where it is now played on both provincial and national levels. Unit 2 goes into further detail on the types of lacrosse, from Inter-Lacrosse which is played in schools, to box, field and women’s field lacrosse. Unit 3 focuses on the individual skill component, Unit 4 covers team play, including both defensive and offensive strategies, and Unit 5 are the rules and regulations of the different forms of the game.

For now the sport is offered at Prince George Secondary School; however, should there be sufficient interest, and provided there is a properly trained coach, the course can be offered in any SD57 school.

According to Marquis-Foster, the district is making good progress in their consultation plans to learn what constituents - students and community members - want in terms of goals and from a programming perspective.