By: Korie Marshall
School District 57 announced on Sunday, September 7th that schools in the district will remain closed for the week of September 8-12, while the teacher’s strike continues. The announcement says parent wishing to register their children should contact their school of choice by telephone.
Derrick Shaw, principal of McBride Secondary, says enrolment is currently down compared to previous years, with 77 students. Ninety-six were enrolled last year.
“We are excited to have hired two new staff,” he says – Ms. Montogomery will teach senior science and math, and Todd Crossman has been hired as a result of a collaborative plan with Valemount Secondary to hire a qualified shop teacher. Shaw says he hopes that is something the schools can do more of in the future. He also notes Mr. Keim is continuing to build the outdoor education courses, and has strong numbers expressing interest in Outdoor Pursuits 11 and Outdoor Recreation 12.
Dan Kenkel, principal of Valemount Secondary, says enrolment is currently looking like 72, up from 71 last year, and Crossman, who is a cabinet maker and a luthier, is the only new addition to teaching staff. He says the school garden survived the heat, but the fence can’t be finished until the teachers’ strike is over.
Kenkel says the school is seeking clarification from the district on what they can do or provide for kids to work on subjects at home, but the Ministry of Education says there are resources available to parents and students on their website – www.bcparentinfo.ca. The website says the resources are not a substitute for the learning that happens in the schools, but they provide some opportunities for students to learn at home. Free texts and interactive project-based activities are available for download at www.openschool.bc.ca. Interactive games for young learners and resources for parents are available at learnnowbc.ca/learningcentre.
The ministry says some school districts have additional resources for parents, which can be found through www.discoveryourschool.gov.bc.ca/schooldistricts. It says students may also want to consider taking other recognized training certificates like First Aid or Foodsafe Level 1, some of which are available online.
One resident, Jennifer Scheller says her kids are doing the same as they’ve done all summer. She’s been printing worksheets from the internet for her sons, and they have been doing homework since June, but they miss going to school and seeing their friends. At least one local resident has enrolled her daughter in school in Jasper.