Clearview, East Central boards fail to reach busing co-operation

Clearview School Division announced last week that the East Central Alberta Catholic Schools board plans to continue its own busing

Peter Neale began work last week as the Clearview School Division’s new associate superintendent of business and finance.

Clearview School Division announced last week that the East Central Alberta Catholic Schools board plans to continue its own busing system, thereby nixing plans for a co-operative bus schedule.

At its meeting last Thursday, the Clearview board expressed disappointment that an agreement won’t be reached in time for school this fall. The trustees, however, remain hopeful a joint agreement can be reached in the future.

The inefficiencies of running two busing systems have been criticized at the so-called community consultation meetings this year.

Stettler’s ECACS trustee, Chris Nichols, said that board took the issue to a public meeting in June.

“We wanted to make sure our stakeholders had some say,” Nichols said.

He said there are still some things that need to be clarified with the Clearview board.

Special-education cuts

Director of student services Eileen Johnstone presented the annual special education report to the Clearview board.

With less funding from Alberta Education for special education, the family school liaison and other services will be reduced in the 2013-14 school year, Johnstone said.

“We are so short of money, it’s going to be a real stretch.”

She said funding for family school liaison has been cut by eight per cent.

Priority will be given to the division’s larger schools, and the smaller schools will be visited once every three weeks, or on an as-need basis, Johnstone said.

New man in town

Clearview’s new associate superintendent of business and finance has arrived.

Peter Neale has been on the job since last Tuesday.

Neale said he’s already impressed with Stettler, saying “it has a lot to offer.”

After touring William E. Hay Composite High School, Neale said he has worked for larger school divisions that didn’t have such facilities.

Neale has also been appointed returning officer for the Clearview trustees elections in October.

Neale takes over from Lewis Hill.

Big Valley briefing

Four Big Valley students in grades 5 to 8 — Daniel Brown, Jessie Armstrong, Raina Thomson and Brandon Sukkau — gave a presentation on their BP Energy Literacy Project.

This is the third year that Big Valley School has won the $10,000 BP (British Petroleum) grant. The project combined researching energy sources with writing. With the assistance of literary expert Lyle Weis, the school created and published a children’s storybook based on energy sources with a conservation focus. The board was given 10 copies to distribute to its schools.

Becky Baltimore, representing the early learning program at the Stettler Elementary School, gave a presentation to the board.

Baltimore said there’s a misconception that playschool and early learning programs are the same.

The early learning program (previously known as pre-kindergarten) assesses the needs and develops children in the two-to-five age group.

Baltimore said it’s an established structured program, with speech pathologists and early literacy sessions, that also addresses behavioural and social skills. “It ensures all children are on a level playing field to start kindergarten.”

Teachers’ review

Under a new agreement reached between the province and the ATA, school jurisdictions are required to conduct an internal review of teachers’ workload related to tasks and policies initiated by the school division.

Karen Holloway and Patty Dittrick were appointed as the board representatives on the internal teacher workload committee.

Four-day week

The board instructed central administration to investigate the potential cost savings and resulting impact of program changes.

The board has requested information about changing Big Valley, Botha, Byemoor, Donalda and Erskine schools to a four-day school week.

The board directed the superintendent to analyze and report on how program objectives are being met with double-, triple- and single-grading.

The board and administration plan to analyze ways to develop co-operative programming for the Castor and Coronation schools.

Clearview schools are to encourage registration of home-schooled students and to offer resources and blended programs.

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