With students returning to classes this week, the principal of Stettler elementary and middle schools is optimistic about several changes geared toward building educated and confident students.
This year, the schools embark on a one-year pilot project for one principal to administer two schools, to help reduce costs in the face of less funding.
“It’s an opportunity to analyze the very best learning environment for students,” said principal Sharon Fischer. “I see this as an administrative change only.”
Under the leadership of Clearview School Division, the dual model was designed to build a team of leaders for both schools.
Despite early opposition, the current administration vows the system can work.
“I don’t see any impact on students and we will continue to offer excellent programming at both schools, boast outstanding achievement results and educational and extracurricular opportunities for all students,” Fischer said.
“We have excellent staff and fantastic students in both schools, which will make for a smooth transition and operations.”
Fischer said she’s pleased that the board will analyze the concept with an independent study by two university students. The division consults with the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, along with the community.
With 300 students projected for the middle school (6 to 8) this September and 550 elementary students from kindergarten to Grade 5, Fischer will oversee about 850 students.
This year, the middle school welcomes two new teachers — David Teasdale from Stettler Outreach School while Luke Peters moves down the hall from William E. Hay Composite High School to teach physical education and Grade 6 classes for language arts and social studies.
Fischer said the current staff at the elementary will be maintained.
She’s also excited about potential for both schools as they pursue the Leader in Me initiative (a program based on Steven Covey’s “7 Habits” success model specifically designed for schools).
“This program adds another level of character building for our student body and all staff being trained,” Fischer said. “It will bring a common language and culture in both schools and all students will benefit from this program.”
To start, 16 classrooms will be participating in the program this school year, and all staff from both schools participate in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” training this week.
Last Friday, the 16 staff that will institute the program in the new school year received further training in the “Leader in Me” program.
The local Kinettes have offered to sponsor one classroom up to $750 to help with the program.