BOW VALLEY – Students, parents and staff will have an idea on what the focus of education for public schools in the Bow Valley will be prioritizing in the coming years.
The Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) division’s school board approved its new four-year education plan that is set to run from 2021-25. The plan is submitted to the Ministry of Education for final approval.
“It’s not just about looking at achievement, but looking at the whole child, which is part of the CRPS vision,” said Lisa Blackstock, CRPS’ director of learning. “We look at wellness, mental health along with academics and ensuring we’re providing supports students need. It’s the whole child approach.
“We are very much looking forward to continue to work with the board and work with our staff to bring this plan to life for the next four years to support the success of our students in the Canadian Rockies.”
The four-year education plan is part of the Alberta government’s new assurance framework to create a three-, four- or term-plan.
Blackstock said work began on the plan last August and continued until it went before the school board at its May meeting. The work saw data analysis, focus groups and surveys used to collect information from staff, students, community groups and parents.
“This is a massive amount of work. It took a tremendous amount of time, but the board had their fingers in every bit of it and guiding us with what they wanted to see. It’s a large body of people they engaged in,” said CRPS superintendent Chris MacPhee, noting in the past the school division would have a three-year rolling education plan.
The plan will have five assurances to help continue student growth in and out of the classroom.
The five focuses of student growth and achievement, teaching and leading, learning supports, governance and local and societal context are designed to maintain and enhance public trust that the education system is supporting student success.
The plan has further priorities of health and wellness, engaged learning and student supports with strategy and performance measures to help students and staff succeed.
The plan was created in accordance with the Education Act and the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act.
The whole child approach looks at maintaining and strengthening the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual elements for students. The school division serves more than 2,000 students with more than 250 staff in seven schools.
“Creating the plan is not about people’s opinion, but looking at the data, the feedback and then having perspective of government priorities within the framework we have to meet and it’s pulling it all together. It’s a significant amount of work for the board,” Blackstock said.
She added they went with four years since the school board wanted time to see results, which are typically seen after three to five years after being implemented.
MacPhee emphasized how the discussions benefit all parties involved. At the board meeting, he gave the example of a school psychologist being hired earlier this year – with support from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation – to better assist students.
“It’s timely we arrived at these key strategic goals moving forward coming out of the year we had with the pandemic,” said Arlene Rheaume, the vice chair of the school board, during the May meeting. “It’s really brought together and synthesized the critical needs for students and teachers, so we can provide assurance to our parents. I think it’ll be a great tool going forward.”
With the ultimate goal and vision designed to help students attain success, CRPS administration and school board believes the plan is another step in the right direction.
“Everything we do is what’s our best to achieve student achievement and options for students to keep our programming running the best way we can to support those kids in our community,” MacPhee said. “Any goals and objectives we have in these plans is aimed at that.”
The four-year plan can be downloaded from the CRPS website.