Students and staff set to return for a great year!
The signs of back to school are all around - staff have been working hard getting lessons and classrooms prepared, and families are gathering those last minute items before getting back into routine.
Going back to school every year is a special time for many. New beginnings bring new teaching and learning opportunities, new classmates, new friends, and new hope. Student enrolment is expected to exceed 11,000 students from within the City of Red Deer for the 2019-20 school year, as classes begin in Red Deer Public Schools on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
The district has also hired 60 new staff, which includes 31 teachers.
Red Deer Public Schools Board Chair Nicole Buchanan said staff are ready for another great year.
“We are a school district that values people, diversity, and strives to inspire learning and nurture hope in every student. We not only value our priorities of Literacy and Numeracy, Equity, Student Success and Completion, but we recognize that we want all of our students to grow into well rounded, good citizens, who care for themselves and others,” she said.
DISTRICT VALUES LAUNCHED
There are a number of new initiatives this year, one of which will see the launch of the district’s values.
“Parents want to know that school will be a positive experience for their children, filled with life lessons beyond academics. We share the responsibility with parents and teachers to foster a lifelong love of learning and strong core values in our students, so that they will have the tools and qualities to be successful in life - and be a good person while doing it,” said Stu Henry, Superintendent of Red Deer Public Schools. “We are guiding students through the journey of learning and life.”
These values include:
“It’s important that our board define what our values are. We talked to our community about what values they thought were important for our students to have for learning and life,” said Buchanan.
Red Deer Public Schools will roll out the values throughout the school year.
MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE
Last year, Red Deer Public Schools was on the leading edge with the district’s focus on mental health. This year, the district will continue that focus by introducing Go-To Educators.
“The goal of this single-day training is to help all staff who work with students to begin using common language related to mental health. We recognize that mental health and wellness have become growing issues for students, staff and families across our community. By enhancing the capacity of staff across the district, we are better able to meet the needs across our schools and district,” said Henry. “We were very successful in our launch of our Valuing Mental Health Initiative last year where every one of our staff underwent training from the Neufeld Institute, like the Making Sense of Anxiety module geared towards Grades 9-12, which developed staff knowledge and skills in this area.”
Equity of opportunity so that all students achieve their educational potential through excellence in instruction, supports for students and reduction of barriers all remain high priorities for the district. Red Deer Public Schools will also continue to utilize the district’s Pyramid of Supports model to provide universal, targeted and specialized supports for students.
Another highlight for Red Deer Public Schools is the opening of the new $13.5 million West Park Middle School. The grand opening of the school is set for Oct. 4.
SUPERINTENDENT TO RETIRE AT END OF SCHOOL YEAR
In addition, Henry also announced his retirement, effective the end of the 2019/20 school year. Henry has been with Red Deer Public Schools for 15 years.
“I am looking forward to another fantastic year for our wonderful school district,” said Henry. “I have had a rich and rewarding career and have been privileged to be surrounded by inspiring and dedicated staff members. Any success I have had is completely as a result of their tireless work.”