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School board update

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

All the school board trustees at Thursday night's meeting in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

All the school board trustees at Thursday night's meeting in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Confidential reports, preparing for the next four years, and having fun in math class were the topics discussed at Tuesday’s school board meeting in Portage la Prairie.

Portage Collegiate Institute is piloting an online reporting form which students and parents can use to report any issues being dealt with by students, or friends, at the school anonymously and confidentially. 

“They can leave their name if they want but the intention is for it to be anonymous because students need a venue where they can feel safe to speak up without having it come back to them,” says Pam Garnham, assistant superintendent. “We’ve all been trained in digital threat assessment and that was one area that is stressed. Students need an opportunity to be able to report something in a non-threatening way so they don’t feel like there will be any repercussions on them.”

The forms were developed for the second semester and it’s being tested out now at PCI’s website. Parents were notified in the Portage la Prairie School Division’s newsletter that was sent out not too long ago. Garnham adds students deserve to feel safe at school and this is another tool for them to use to feel safe. 

Grade 8 tours

The city’s Grade 8 students will be heading over to PCI for a full tour of the school Monday.

“They were excited after checking out the vocational programs in January,” says Garnham. “We’ll have three groups in the morning and two in the afternoon. It’s going to be a nice day on Monday because it’s an admin day for report card writing at the school, so there won’t be that much traffic for the students and they’ll really see everything PCI has to offer.”

Parents will be able to have a look around the school on April 3, and after that Grade 8 students will fill out their intention forms. The students will then return in May for some shadowing to better prepare them for their Grade 9 life.

Garnham adds teachers have noticed a real difference with the kids as they’re coming into the school a lot more comfortable than they used to, which is really helping with their credit attainment and attendance. 

Making math fun

A couple of La Verendrye School teachers stopped by Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the benefits gained from the math residency held at the school over three days in November.

“When using games you’re actually appealing to different types of learners as well,” says Joe Wermie, Grade 7 LVS teacher. “That is part of the psychology of education. So we have learners who learn better when they have something they are physically touching. Using manipulatives is not a new idea, using it in a game setting is probably a newer idea.”

The little bit of competition seems to help stimulate the students’ drive to take part in the math problems, strengthening their grasp on the subject. It also enables teachers to see where students may be going wrong in their reasoning with math problems. 

“We’d love to see it spread across the division,” says Brigget Heppner, Grade 4 teacher at LVS. “Different teachers asked if they could come when we were doing the residency and we decided we just wanted it to be (LVS teachers) to start and then we would expand. We wanted it very concentrated so that when we became close to experts, we could then share it correctly with others in the division.”

For more information on the math residency held at LVS and the benefits check out the past article here.


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