As Trustees of the Grande Prairie Public School Division, my colleagues on the Board and I value our role to provide governance and oversight of our division to help ensure we meet the educational needs of our students. We are excited to see students return to school in-person. Last June, over 7,000 students, parents and staff completed our survey, and over 86% of those respondents expressed a desire to see our students return to in-person learning. Respondents also overwhelmingly identified the safety of our students needs to be our top priority. We are pleased the division and school plans being created align with the expectations established by the Province of Alberta and use a combination of strategies to contribute to a safe return so our students may renew their focus on learning with their teachers and friends.
Our schools are ready! They are clean and polished, and new signs are posted to help with the routines being developed for this year. Our Board is grateful to our staff for their very significant efforts this summer to prepare for our students returning to school. We are also grateful to our parents and our students for taking the time to respond to our questions when asked and for your patience as we adapt our plans based on the latest information made available to us. The information our schools get from your survey responses is very important, as it allows us to adjust our plans and be as responsive as possible to your needs. We value our close work together and your engagement with our staff, and by answering short surveys, it means a lot to us.
The Minister of Education has given our return to in-person learning the name Near Normal Operations. The changes to our daily operations are the NEAR part, and the focus on student achievement, which is NORMAL, is what we are really looking forward to this year. Thank you for your patience as we work together to adapt to our new normal at school, and as we transition our Learning from Home program from a concept to a reality. Our plans will continue to evolve as our situation evolves during the year.
In conversations with staff and parents over the last six months, my fellow Trustees and I have been impressed by the common desire we share to see our students succeed. Building on that belief, we now all have the opportunity to come together and contribute to that student success. My experience is kids just tend to make things work, and I believe with everyone working together, it won’t be long before we are back to something that looks like what we are traditionally used to.
Thank you for your partnership and support. Have a great year with the Grande Prairie Public School Division.
This article was submitted to the Daily Herald Tribune by: John Lehners, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Grande Prairie Public School Division. On behalf of: Lesley Craig, Vice-Chair and Trustees Paulette Kurylo, Joan Nellis, Andre Ouellette, Lynn Driedger, Rob Martin.
Link to the article: https://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/news/local-news/gppsd-board-chair-explains-importance-of-reopening-schools