2010-09 Pembina Pipeline - DocuShare


2010-09 Pembina Pipeline - DocuShare
Pembina Pipeline
September, 2010
“Our purpose is to ensure the delivery of an excellent education to our
students so they become good citizens who contribute to society.”
Welcome Back!
Summer is quickly slipping by and sooner than later we will
hear the geese in the skies above. The harvest has started and
families are thinking ahead to the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Let’s back up for a second! Did you enjoy the summer holiday?
Did you do any travelling or visiting? Did you do any camping
or boating? Quite a few of our senior students found that
valuable summer job and others attended summer camps and just
enjoyed the summer sunshine. It does go fast doesn’t it, too
Opening day was just fantastic. The students, MCs and guest
speaker, the choir and the art display, the Trustees and staff
cooking breakfast and the PD all came together quite nicely. The
focus was the students and in fact it was the reason we were
together celebrating the start of another school year.
Our WIG (Wildly Important Goal) is Successful High School
School Superintendent Richard Harvey does what he enjoys most, visiting
Completion and this work starts in Kindergarten and flows students, this time at the Hillman Colony School.
through and depends on all our departments within the division.
Student achievement is the measure for our success and our results
Our four key strategies: Increased High School Completion for
from this past year are showing improvements; congratulations!
Students at Risk, Increased Use of Formative Assessment,
Our purpose is to ensure the delivery of an excellent education to
Increased Achievement in Mathematics, and Increased Participation
our students so they become good citizens who contribute to
of Home and Community in Public Education are really the focus
society. Working hard to ensure more and more students have the
of our work.
skills and willingness to continue to successfully complete High
School will certainly help us fulfill this purpose.
Our staff throughout the division believes that working
collaboratively and setting goals are keys to our success. Our
Thank you for your hard work this past year and as we jump feet
AISI (Alberta Initiative for School Improvement) projects
first into September, I feel both excited and confident that we have
depend on staff collaboration and goal setting and we are
the professional team to get the job done for our students K to 12!
measuring our success, readjusting as the need arises
and holding ourselves accountable for the
Richard Harvey
results our students achieve.
Superintendent of Schools
W elcome to the following new staff of the Pembina Hills Regional Division:
Jennifer Austin
Scott Bourque
Christina Braben
Aimee Fulcher
Amy Gre e n e
Allan Hope
Catherine Hucik
Cheryl Hunter
Tracey-Anne Kager
Leanne Lindsay
Julie Mac
Ty l e r N y z n y k
Admin Asst
Admin Asst
Program Asst
Program Asst
Program Asst
Eleanor Hall
Swan Hills
Dunstable School
Regional Office
Eleanor Hall
Eleanor Hall
Carly Pawlowski
Yvonne Peterson
Amanda Priddle
Brittney Rennie
Gena Roach
Dionne Sackiw
Alysson Schneider
Len Seatter
Craig Silgard
C o l l e e n To e w s
Kare n Wi l l
Barrhead Elementary
Admin Assistant ADLC-Barrhead
Barrhead Elementary
Barrhead Elementary
Fort Assiniboine
Intern Psychologst Regional Office
R.F. Staples
Appr. Mechanic Westlock Transp.
R.F. Staples
R.F. Staples
Apprenticeship gives students headstart
on their career
Barrhead Composite High School is helping students get a
headstart in their automotives career. The school is one of
a handful across Alberta that now offers a first-year
apprenticeship program in automotive mechanics.
The program is open to Grade 11 and 12 students and offers
the same curriculum as post-secondary schools, but at a
fraction of the cost. The 16 students who enrolled this
semester each paid $200 to attend the program, which
compares to about $1,000 at a post-secondary school.
“This will give our students a headstart. It’s the same course
that is offered at NAIT or SAIT, except that we are doing it
over five months rather than two months.” says
Automotives Teacher Dan Sribney, who is spearheading
the project.
The program is split evenly between practical hands-on
training and theoretical classroom study. In addition to
12 student Jordan Wierenga makes a brake line in automotives at BCHS.
studying and working in the school’s automotives shop, Grade
He is one of 16 students involved in a new apprenticeship program.
the students will take part in a three-week work experience
“We have a wide range of projects set up for them to complete over
placement program in garages and shops throughout Barrhead.
the course of the semester, which will give them the basic skills they
When they are finished the course, the students will have to write need to start in the industry,” says Sribney. “We want them to learn
the first-year Alberta Apprenticeship Exam in the Automotives the material and develop the skills, but we also want them to look
Service Technician Trade and earn a mark of at least 70% to pass. and feel as professional as possible. We’ve ordered some coveralls
Once they have done that, the students work for 1,500 hours in the that they must wear while they are working. It’s all about pride
and self esteem.”
trade and then move on to their second-year apprenticeship.
Support convinces kids to stay in school
It’s only three years old, but the High
School Completion Liaison (HSLC)
program has already produced some
remarkable results. Most of the 80 students
involved in the program were struggling
just to stay in school, but now they are
achieving success and are ready to graduate
at the same rate as their peers throughout
the region.
Westlock and Swan Hills to stay in school
and ultimately graduate. Greg Gramlich,
Darryl Abrams and Ria Young are the parttime student advisors who head up the
program in their communities. They help
students with assignments, course
selection, attendance issues, work issues,
and often act as a liaison with their
“In most cases, these kids were getting
very few credits and many of them were
not in a position to graduate. After we
started working with them, their academic
results improved to the point where they
are now in a similar position as other
kids,” says Greg Gramlich. “These students
are making substantial gains in credits and
substantial gains in their chances of
“We are basically advocates for the
students, trying to build relationships and
create trust. The kids need to understand
that you are there for the right reasons and
that you can help them become more
successful and overcome the barriers in
their life. For many of these kids, they
don’t have an adult or even a friend who is
a good mentor,” says Greg.
The HSLC program was established to
encourage at-risk students in Barrhead,
“We spend a lot of time doing career work,
doing an inventory and giving these kids a
reason to get out of bed and come here.
With many of the kids who have achieved
success, they have found a way to make it
work. With our support, these guys see a
way of changing their education – see a
way of making something work where
they didn’t have that power before.
“A lot of teachers, program assistants and
administrators are very much on board with
this and doing their best to make school
completion possible for these kids.There
has been a profound change in
administration, how they approach what’s
available to kids, but ultimately it’s the
kids who are responsible for their own
success. They are the ones doing the
work and making the changes. It’s
gratifying to know that we
are making a difference
for some of these
New pavement
a smooth ride
Staff and visitors to regional office in Barrhead
are in for a much smoother ride this year. The
school district did an overlay of asphalt in the
parking lot over the summer, getting rid of
the potholes and obstructions that made for
such a bumpy ride.
“The original pavement was done in the 1970s
and served its time. We levelled it and did all
the repair work, but there were so many
fractures in the old asphalt, that it made more
sense to do an overlay over the whole thing,”
says Tracy Tyreman, Director of Plant
Operations and Maintenance.
“The base wasn’t what it should have been. We
had to dig down about two feet and fill it in
with concrete to get a proper base. Once the
rain got below the surface it was going under
the building and creating some structural
cracks in a couple wall areas and our
foundation. We had sumps going continually
because the water kept running underneath.
These improvements will take care of that.”
Staff from Plant Operations and Maintenance
did a lot of the prep work and landscaping,
but the paving was done by Whitecourt
company, which had the lowest of four quotes
for the project.
Facelift does wonders at R.F.S.
Visitors to R.F. Staples will no longer
have to wander through the halls searching
for the main office. Maintenance staff with
Pembina Hills and contractors transformed
two classrooms at the front of the school
into a new office and work space for
administration, teachers and support staff.
entrance that has earned rave reviews from
staff and visitors. “We’ve had a lot of
positive comments about the changes when
it comes to the landscaping. The School
Council did all the legwork to get the
landscaping project going and the results
are amazing,” says Pierre.
The renovation project has been in the
works since the spring and was completed
over the summer. Staff from Plant
Operations and Maintenance knocked out
some walls and designed a spectacular
open-concept office with new flooring,
natural lighting and custom-made cabinets
and furniture.
Additional funds are still needed to
complete the area in front of the school
with benches and tables, making it an area
that students can proudly take ownership
“We were one of only a few schools
anywhere with the main office in the centre
of the building. Now that we have moved
it to the entrance people don’t have to go
through a maze of halls to find the office,”
says R.F. Staples Associate Principal
Pierre Ouimet. “It looks so much better
around here. Having natural light from
windows may not seem like a big deal but
it certainly is a welcome change.”
In addition to the work inside the school,
the fundraising efforts of the R. F. Staples
School Council helped complete a major
landscaping project outside the main
Construction workers are not quite finished
at the school with renovations still taking
place in the old office. This will be home
to a group of ADLC teachers who will be
stationed in the school. Part of the school
district’s vision and strategy is to integrate
alternative modes of instruction and
learning (like what the ADLC offers), with
the traditional education of a bricks and
mortar school.
“It doesn’t need quite the facelift we needed
for the front office so they are expecting it
to be done in a month or two. Bringing in
staff from the ADLC will help facilitate a
number of initiatives. One of those is
having all students take at least one online
course at some point in high school.”
Parents play vital role at schools
When it became apparent that students at
Barrhead Elementary School needed more
options for exercise, the School Council
jumped into action.Within a year, the
volunteer group planned, raised funds and
built two sets of new playground equipment.
“We rotate the playground equipment between
different classes. The project started out by
trying to figure out something for the kids
to do while they were off the equipment,”
says Vickie Anderson, president of the
School Council. “We started to think about
the playground we have at the back of the
school, which is really not appropriate for
most of the kids. It was originally designed
for junior high students and was too big for
younger kids. That’s when we decided to build
a new playground.”
The School Council started the project by
donating $25,000 to a building fund. In short
order, they raised another $65,000 and by
last spring started construction of the
equipment. “We had fantastic support
from the community and businesses.
We were very lucky we could do it so
quickly. It was a lot of work, but it’s so
worth it to see the kids playing on the
equipment,” says Vickie.
School Councils across the region are
pitching in to spruce up their schools.
At R.F. Staples, the main entrance of
the school looks spectacular, thanks The School Council at Barrhead Elementary was
to the effort of parents, who worked on instrumental in building a new playground.
a major landscaping project over the
getting the job done. “We need a playground
because ours is getting so old. We tore out a
At Westlock Elementary, parents planted trees bunch of the old equipment this summer and
and have built a magnificent green space in hope to get going with it in the fall,” says
front of the main entrance. Parents in Fawcett School Council member Hazel Schneider.
are just starting their playground project. A “This is one of the ways we can make a
sub-committee working on the project has difference. It gives parents a connection to
already looked at design ideas, has done some the school and an opportunity to be part of
fundraising and is ultimately responsible for what’s going on at the school.”
New teachers thrilled to start school year
He just started working for
Pembina Hills a couple weeks ago,
but Trenton Wierenga is definitely
familiar with his surroundings. The
newest teacher at Neerlandia Public
Christian School spent many years
there during his childhood as a
student and now he has returned as
an adult.
it’s a completely new
experience, but for others it’s
more like a homecoming. They
are returning to the schools
where they first fell in love with
education. Heather McMillan
was born and raised in Busby,
graduated from R.F. Staples in
2000 and now teaches at the
Alberta Distance Learning
Centre. She too spent time
overseas, teaching the last three
years in a school in London,
“Everything looks pretty well the
same as it did back then. I recognize
a lot of it. I was a student in the
room where I’m teaching now and The new school year is especially exciting for this group of new
teachers, who pose for a photo in front of a wall of student artwork at
the carpet is even the same,” jokes the opening ceremonies. Pembina Hills has hired 19 new teachers
Trenton. “The classrooms, the gym throughout the region.
“I really missed it here. I enjoy
and offices really haven’t changed
being in a small community,
that much. It brings back a lot of memories.”
where you know people and there is a sense of family. I enjoyed
working overseas, but it can’t compare to home. I taught right in
Trenton was thrilled with the opportunity to return to his the heart of London. The atmosphere is so much different there
community. He graduated from Barrhead Composite in 1998, earned than it is here and the kids are so different.”
his teaching degree at the University of Alberta and spent the last
three years teaching in Ontario. Prior to that he did a stint in South Amanda Priddle is returning to her roots in Barrhead. She graduated
Korea teaching English as a Second Language.
from BCHS in 2005 and is now teaching at Barrhead Elementary,
where she was a student in Grade 5 and 6. “I’m so excited to be back.
Now he teaches Grade 7-9 Math part time in Neerlandia and hopes It’s a bit weird to see the classrooms I was in as a student. Not a lot
to become full time in the near future. “It’s nice to be home, has changed at the school, but you walk into the classroom and
especially after being gone so long. I have a lot of family here and suddenly it all becomes real,” says Amanda. “I’ve got tremendous
my dad can always use some help around the farm,” says Trenton. support though, right across the hall and throughout the school. It’s
really exciting. If I can help a few kids learn and enjoy school, I can
Pembina Hills hired 19 new teachers this year. For many of them, really make a difference in their lives.”
Pembina Hills kicks off new year
You can’t blame Cheyanne Duchesnay for
being a little bit nervous Aug. 26 at the
Westlock Community Hall. The Grade 12
student from Swan Hills School stood up on
stage and suddenly stared out at a sea of
Nearly 700 staff members from across the
region squeezed into the hall for the annual
opening ceremonies and all eyes were on
Duchesnay and the other students on stage.
“I was really, really nervous when I saw how
many people were out there, but then I
focussed on the teachers from my school
and that made me feel a lot more relaxed,”
said Cheyanne, who served as Master of
Ceremonies for the event, along with BCHS
Grade 10 student Nathan Wesenberg.
The annual opening ceremonies featured a
pancake breakfast and a hearty welcome from
school trustees and regional administrators,
but it was the students who stole the show.
The morning itinerary included a selection of
songs from the R.F. Staples choir, as well
as an inspirational presentation from Fort
Assiniboine Grade 12 student Dauson Kluin,
who was born with Cerebral Palsy.
“My whole life I’ve been told by people
what I can’t do and I have never let that stop
me. I don’t live with CP. CP lives with me.
I have a wonderful family who help me all
the time. I also have support from all my
really great friends and a good community
that cares about me,” said Dauson.
“There’s some things I can’t do, but when I
set my mind on something I usually get it
done. It is important for people to understand
that a person who has a physical disability
does not necessarily mean they have a
mental disability.”
Dauson received a thunderous standing
ovation for his inspiring message. It was a
hard act to follow for School Superintendent
Fort Assiniboine student Dauson Kluin
received a standing ovation at the opening
Richard Harvey, who ended the morning
session by reminding everyone about the
critical role they play in the lives of
students. “This is one of the most
professional group of people I have ever had
the pleasure of working with. We have a
fabulous team here, we have a supportive
school board and people understand the only
reason we are here this morning are the
kids,” said Richard.

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