First meeting of 2018
Assistant superintendent Pam Garnham (left) and superintendent Todd Cuddington taking part in a math game at Tuesday night's school board meeting in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh)
Portage la Prairie’s school board met for the first time in 2018 Tuesday to discuss a few things after an extended break due to a cancellation of last week’s meeting.
One thing discussed was the Cradle to Career: Literacy and Numeracy Summit held at the Convention Centre in Winnipeg where the focus was on literacy and numeracy, and how they’re key foundations of learning. Data from provincial and external sources indicate a need for improvement as there are gaps in achievement that must be addressed.
“The idea behind it was to look at our test standing across Canada,” says Portage la Prairie School Division superintendent, Todd Cuddington. “Some standardized tests showed Manitoba is struggling nationally. So this was an opportunity to bring stakeholders together from around the province from different divisions. We sent nine representatives as well as two trustees and they had very positive feedback.”
The two-and-a-half day summit circled around many different conversations regarding causes of numeracy and literacy challenges in children. Cuddington believes a lot of the issues come down to socioeconomic status.
“The test results don’t lie and they show (which) groups are struggling,” Cuddington says. “So a lot of the challenges we face in the division relate to those things. The more we can support children in the 0-5 age range so they’re entering school with more support, the more those scores will go up. The results aren’t from a lack of effort from educators around the province.”
The division’s upcoming special public meeting regarding the budget was also discussed at the meeting Tuesday night. In previous years, attendance at the budget meeting was very poor, with little to no members of the public attending and educators and administrators filling the seats. This year the plan is to showcase some of the recent purchases the division has made, a few of the programs offered, and some of the support staff on hand for students.
“We’ll also have student-led programs, technology will be highlighted, and people will be able to walk through in a symposium format - all while getting an understanding of how the budget is spent,” says Cuddington. “We want to get some more people out including members of RM council, Portage city council, and we’ve even invited the MLA and MP.”
Cuddington adds there may be a few trustee positions open as the civic election is coming up this fall and they’d love to be able to explain what the role of a trustee is in an effort to entice people to consider throwing their hat in the ring.
The next Portage la Prairie School Board meeting is January 23.