The Prairie Valley School Division will be working on a new 10-year education plan in 2021, along with the provincial education department, director of Luc Lerminiaux told a meeting of trustees Jan. 13.
The new Provincial Education Plan was to be in place earlier in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that presented the education system delayed progress on the plan’s development.
“As a result, what was decided by the ministry and governance structure (education directors in other school divisions) was to develop an interim plan for 2021-22, and through the course of this year, possibly into September, develop a new (strategic plan),” Lerminiaux said, adding this one-year bridge plan would enable the full development of the 10-year plan as originally intended.
Developing an interim strategic plan was chosen over extending the existing plan for one year, as it can take into account specific challenges school systems face in light of COVID-19. Three specific areas include reading supports for students in Grades 1-3, learning apps to assist remote or online learning, and anxiety, mental health and wellness.
Lerminiaux said efforts to obtain additional personal protective equipment for education staff have also been made.
“The combination of the wearing of surgical-grade masks and face shields, along with training of proper donning and doffing of this equipment wouldn’t automatically lead to staff having to quarantine after a potential COVID-19 exposure,” Lerminiaux said, adding those provisions would be subject to Saskatchewan Health Authority directives and guidelines.
Leadership development and succession planning has also been on mind of the Prairie Valley School Division, Lerminiaux said. Where past programs have worked with teachers aspiring for leadership, this year’s efforts are targeted to anyone who aspires to leadership.
“It’s great to see staff from division services take part as the concept of leadership transcends the classroom,” Lerminiaux said.
Lerminiaux also noted that students needing more intense individualized learning plans to achieve have increased in the division.
“Remember in some cases, some kids have multiple plans as they may have a variety of diagnoses,” Lerminiaux said.
As Grade 12 students look to complete their course work and have the requirements to graduate, the division needs to look at alternative course delivery. Lerminiaux said calculus and pre-calculus have been offered at Vibank through distance learning. As COVID-19 pushed more learning online, Lerminiaux said other courses may become available to other smaller high school through distance education as well.
“What we currently do is deliver the best we can, and sometimes we farm out to other distance education providers,” Lerminiaux said. “This isn’t to replace in-person learning and we aren’t looking at solely virtual schooling. We are just trying to top up the options available to students in senior maths and sciences, and also social sciences, social justice and mental health and wellness courses. We will see how that plays out and whether there is sufficient interest.”
Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum