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RVS Chair looks back over school year, praises programming

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 02:43 pm

Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board Chair Colleen Munro said the division will be going into the new school year in September with a strong focus on student achievement because the division was able to complete a number of the projects this year that were outlined of the division's four year plan. In addition, she said RVS will continue to focus on First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) programs, which have put RVS FNMI high school completion rates well above the Provincial average.
Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board Chair Colleen Munro said the division will be going into the new school year in September with a strong focus on student achievement because the division was able to complete a number of the projects this year that were outlined of the division's four year plan. In addition, she said RVS will continue to focus on First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) programs, which have put RVS FNMI high school completion rates well above the Provincial average.
File Photo / Rocky View Publishing

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Rocky View Schools (RVS) closed the door on another school year on June 26 as students attended their last day of classes for the year.

As the year wrapped up, the Airdrie City View asked RVS Board Chair Colleen Munro her thoughts on how the school year went.

“One of the great things that happened was we were able to edit and actually delete projects on our four-year plan because they are done. We’ve achieved them,” Munro said.

The completed projects included the rollout of the new kindergarten to Grade 8 reporting process, identifying seven RVS teachers as Universal Learning Coaches to help establish effective universal learning environments, the development of learning commons in several RVS schools and completing proposals for all RVS high schools to participate in Alberta Education’s High School Redesign project.

Munro said by accomplishing these and other goals it will allow the division to focus on other areas in the coming year.

“We will be going into the new year with a huge focus on student achievement,” she said, adding there will also be a focus on offering a diversity of learning styles to students.

She said some of the highlights from the 2013 to 2014 school year are the student inquiry projects happening in schools throughout the district including the Langdon Oil Sands Project where students studied and visited the oil sands in Fort McMurray.

The project allowed students to visit the oil sands and then create projects that addressed a stakeholder perspective on the oil sands. Though teachers were there to guide and help them, this project was largely open to the students as to how they would pursue it, Munro said.

Munro said another area she is particularly happy with is the division’s high school completion rate for students who identify themselves as First Nations, Métis or Inuit (FNMI).

According to the RVS Annual Education Results Report, the division had a FNMI high school completion rate of 68 per cent in the 2012 to 2013 school year, 24 per cent higher than the Provincial average of 44 per cent.

“Our FNMI results are really outstanding,” Munro said.

She said inclusive programs and the introduction of an FNMI Learning Specialist have really helped the division make sure the FNMI students find success.

“When these families make the decision to come to Rocky View Schools, we want to make sure these kids have the same opportunities as everyone else,” she said.

“We don’t have as many FNMI students as other divisions but we are growing.”

As for the challenges that lie ahead, Munro said a big one will be accommodating the growing of RVS’ student population.

“We have a plan,” she said, “whether our plan lines up with the Provincial plan are two different things.”

She said RVS’ student population is not slowing down and the need for new buildings is a pressing one but the division does have portables, will open three new schools in September, have two new Airdrie schools expected to open in 2016 and a school in Cochrane they are hoping to open in 2016 but may be delayed to 2017 due to a change in the government funding plan from public-private funding to fully public funding.

“I think we do a really, really good job in projecting where our students numbers will be and we ask for what we need (from the Province) not what we want,” she said.

Munro said the division will also have a strong focus on wraparound services and supporting the social and emotional needs of their students.

“It’s not something we can’t focus on,” she said.

The division recently approved a new Community Resource Centre to be housed in the W.H. Croxford in Airdrie, which will likely open in November and Alberta Health Services granted a three-year funding extension to the Stepping Stones for Mental Health program, which provides students with mental health resources.

“The Community Resource Centre is a step in the right direction and the renewal of Stepping Stones funding also takes the pressure off,” she said.

RVS students head back to school Sept. 2.


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