September 2018: A Note From Tony

Hello Prairie South Friends,

Welcome back to another year at Prairie South Schools!  With a week of classes complete I know that everyone will be getting into the routine of a new year.  The beginning of a new school year is always full of excitement and stresses, and I hope you have had a good few days back at school or work.  I want to give a shout out to several teachers and EA staff who have had assignments and sometimes schools juggled after the first day of school because of student shifts from one school to another.  It’s a pretty stressful deal to have plans for the year upended, and the staff members affected have been flexible, professional and positive – that says a lot about who you are as people!

Congratulations to our friends at what used to be known as Caronport High School.  After a significant amount of work by the board and staff there, the name change to Briercrest Christian Academy was official in time for the beginning of the year.  Briercrest Christian Academy, together with Cornerstone Christian School in Moose Jaw are our two associate schools in Prairie South, and we are lucky to have such a great partnership with both schools.

I’ve had the chance to be in a few schools over the past week or so, and they are looking great!  Every year I try to make a point of thanking our facility operators and division facility staff for their work over the summer months, and you can help me with this by helping kids to say thanks in your school – learning and teaching can be a messy endeavour, and its great to have people on our team to keep schools and classrooms looking nice.  Please don’t forget that we can all help out with school and classroom clean-up – many hands make light work.

We have a number of projects underway at the division and provincial level that are interesting for me and will make up much of my work for the year.  At the division level, the board has embarked on four projects this year connected to their committee structure and the Prairie South Schools Strategic Plan.  Between now and Christmas we will be working with staff on a broad-based review of the Comprehensive Learning Framework to determine if this model of school improvement continues to meet our needs.  We have several Board-sponsored innovation initiatives underway in schools where staff have identified something they would like to try in order to improve student outcomes.  A transportation catchment and facility review will be completed this year to determine if our buildings and transportation routes will meet the learning needs of kids in the future.  Finally, a board committee will be doing some community engagement work with SCCs from several schools during the course of the year.

Provincially, there will be some calendar work to do to ensure that we are meeting the requirements of the provincial collective agreement for teachers after an arbitrator provided some direction for the folks who bargain that collective agreement last week.  We are approaching 2020, which is the year that the improvement goals in the ESSP are set to be complete, and the sector will need to determine what comes next.  We know that we still have a ways to go connected to helping students achieve at a higher level and we also know that provincial reductions in funding prevents us from having some of the services we would like to have in place for kids and families.  Prairie South (and other) teachers and staff have done an amazing job of supporting our students and getting us to where we are now, and together we will need to plan to address the important things that we will work on I the years after 2020.  Exciting times!

I’m hoping to be in every school in the division at least once before Christmas, so if you need a guest reader or a volleyball fan or a helper/supporter for any project you have on the go, please keep me in mind – one of the most rewarding things about my job is the opportunity to work with great staff and kids throughout the school division.  I can’t believe that this is my 5th year at Prairie South – some days it seems like only yesterday that I started work, and other days I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t here.  I am very lucky to work with a supportive Board of Education and amazing colleagues who care deeply about kids, families, and Prairie South.  If there is anything I can do to support your work in 2018-2019, please feel free to let me know!

All the best for a great year – see you at school,

Tony

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