The Board of Trustees for Battle River School Division held their first full Board meeting of the 2021 to 2025 term on Thursday, November 25.
Since their swearing in at the end of October, members of the Board have been participating in learning sessions intended to help get their time as a Trustee off to a good start. They have taken part in a variety of educational orientation sessions, met with the Alberta School Boards Association of Alberta and spent time learning the details of BRSD’s operations.
A highlight of each Board meeting is the opportunity to learn more about the wide range of programs that are in place to meet student needs within Battle River School Division. At this meeting, Trustees received a virtual overview of the Pre-K and Kindergarten program at Sparling School, focusing on the diversity of learners the program is able to serve and how ‘success’ can be different for every student.
Annual Education Results Report for 2020-2021
As part of the school division’s accountability process, there is an Annual Education Results Report prepared each fall, which reviews the overall results achieved by various age groups of students, using a variety of measurements. This report was presented to the Board on November 25 and submitted to Alberta Education. The report is available on the BRSD website: https://www.brsd.ab.ca/download/374272
Literacy and Numeracy Support
Assistant Superintendent, Learning, Shan Jorgenson-Adam shared an update with Trustees on how BRSD will be making use of the Learning Disruption Funding that is being provided by Alberta Education, to offset any early grades learning gaps created by the pandemic. BRSD will receive about $182,000 for Literacy and Numeracy support. Programs targeted at students who will benefit from additional Literacy and Numeracy support will begin in January.
Audited Financial Statements
At their first full meeting, Trustees heard from auditor Benji Wasserman of the firm MNP, who presented a report regarding the Audited Financial Statements for the 2020-2021 year. Mr. Wasserman reported that the BRSD Audit met the ”gold standard” for a clean audit, with no issues identified.
Superintendent of Schools Rita Marler reported that, overall, BRSD enrollment has increased by about 100 students this year over last. As the local school division, along with most other school divisions in the province, experienced a decline in student enrollment due to pandemic concerns in 2020, it is very positive to see some numbers coming back. Trustees also had a brief overview of Policy 16, which speaks to the Critical Minimum Enrollment numbers of schools. Though several schools do have lower numbers, there will be no motions or actions recommended for change. The Board of Trustees will consider resuming the community engagement process that was underway prior to the pandemic, to invite parent and student input on what high school might look like in BRSD in the future.
The Board of Trustees has given approval to the resumption of International Travel Study programs for BRSD schools, starting in the Spring of 2022. Any trips being considered must follow all aspects of the division’s International Travel policy and procedures, which includes requiring individual participants to have appropriate insurance in place, in the event the trip cannot proceed.
New School Nearing Completion
It’s several years since construction of a replacement Chester Ronning School was approved and the project is now nearing completion.
The building contractor is now putting the finishing touches on inside and BRSD staff are beginning the process of hooking up internet, installing interactive whiteboards, hanging televisions, and more. Watch for the Chester Ronning School staff and students to move across the yard to their new location early in 2022.
Based on Information presented at the November 25, 2021 meeting of the BRSD Board of Trustees