K-Three implementation continues 0
Hazen Barrett, superintendent of the Portage School Divisoin, spoke to trustees on Thursday about the further steps being taken with the kindergarten to grade three class size implementation, which is currently being undertaken across Manitoba. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
Things were very busy at the meeting of the school board on Thursday. Trustees were updated on a number of ongoing and upcoming initiatives including the reduction of class sizes in kindergarten to grade three students.
Youth Health Survey
The Portage la Prairie School Division is preparing to administer a Youth Health Survey before the year is through, which will collect data on the health of students in our division.
Assistant superintendent Mike Mauws said the division hopes to have the survey completed by December of 2012.
“The Youth Health Survey was last conducted across the province, I don’t think there were many schools that didn’t participate in it. We are once again participating in the survey this fall, it’s being conducted by Healthy Child Manitoba and kind of coordinated through the Southern Regional Health Authority,” said Mauws.
The survey will be done by hand by all of the students at Portage Collegiate.
“It’s a survey that basically tries to gather some data on our youth around healthy behaviours in areas such as student engagement, alcohol use, physical education, and activity. There’s about four or five different areas that are going to be looked at,” said Mauws.
The results of the survey will be posted on online and copies will be provided to the RHA, the school division, and the Province.
Wide Area Network
Things are finally wrapping up with the Wide Area Network (WAN) the Portage la Prairie School Division has been installing over the last year.
“Basically our Wide Area Network (WAN) is ours now. We had some training on Sept. 7 and that was one of the last pieces we needed to put in place around having some of our staff being trained in terms of locating fiber if someone needs to dig,” said Mauws.
The school division is now registered on the Call Before You Dig website, and there are technicians and operations staff trained to locate that fiber.
For the most part things have been running smoothly and are mostly ready to go.
“We had a few issues with bandwidth and we’re feverishly working on those trying to get it up to where it’s supposed to be. There are a few things that need to be looked at but it’s getting there,” said Mauws.
Active Travel to School Week
Next week is the start of Active Travel to School Week in the Portage la Prairie School Division.
From Oct. 1-4 students are being encouraged to use manpower to get to and from school, whether it be walking, biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding.
“We ran this for the first time last year in October and we’re running it again to really try and encourage students and staff to walk, bike, or rollerblade to school. It’s really there to just kind of teach us to maybe promote that activity,” said Mauws. “I think it fits in well with some of our education for sustainable development programs that we promote. So hopefully we will see a few less cars in front of the schools.”
Things are continuing to progress with the Provincial initiative to reduce class sizes in the kindergarten to grade three classes in Manitoba. The program, which has been dubbed K3/20, is set to release more detailed information in the coming weeks.
“Obviously, a lot of what will happen with K3/20 will happen at the end of September based on student numbers,” said superintendent Hazen Barrett. “Right now it looks like we have received probably $46,000 and change for this year. That’s our minimum, which is $60 for every kindergarten to grade three student.”
So far, those funds are earmarked for Yellowquill School and La Verendrye School whose kindergarten classes are above the benchmark of 23 students.
“We are not allowed to go above 23 students unless it occurs after Sept. 30 and we are grandfathered for the school year. We are not allowed to have any more than 10 per cent of our classes with any more than between 20 and 23 students,” said Barrett.
The Portage la Prairie School Division is starting with the kindergarten classes for the 2012-2013 school year and will be moving ahead with the grade ones, twos, and threes in coming years.
“It’s not clear yet whether they’re going to adjust the funding after Sept. 30 if our kindergarten to grade three numbers are greater than they were in June,” said Barrett.