The Battle River School Division Board of Trustees has voted in favour of a request submitted by the Ryley School Council to return their school to a 4-day-week schedule.
The school, along with its companion school in Holden, had operated on a 4-day-week schedule for many years. Last spring, at the time the Board voted to consolidate the two schools into one location serving students in Kindergarten to Grade 9, the Board also shifted the school into the same 5-day-week schedule all other BRSD schools follow. However, based on the request from the School Council, and input provided by families and staff, the Board agreed on March 25 to return the school to its previous schedule. This change will take effect for the 2021-2022 school year.
Online School consolidation
The BRSD Board of Trustees voted on March 25 to officially close the Battle River Online School. This closure vote allows the school division to combine administration of the online school program with Camrose Outreach School. There will be no change in the availability of online education opportunities for students. This change will take effect for the 2021-2022 school year.
Reading University planning is underway
Reading University is back for the summer of 2021!
At their March 25 meeting, the BRSD Board of Trustees heard an overview of plans for this unique summer reading program which has served BRSD students for more than 10 years. In the past, the program has been designed to support Grade 2 and 3 students who are not yet reading at grade level to build their literacy skills and confidence over the summer. Last year, the program had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
This year, Reading University will be made available in an online format, to serve students in Grades 2 to 5 who are identified by their teachers as needing extra time and support to increase their reading levels. The program will be provided Monday to Friday, in either the morning or afternoon. It was reported that teachers would begin contacting families of potential students in mid-April.
The program is made possible through a funding partnership with the Battle River Community Foundation.
Agriculture is coming to life in Round Hill School
Students at Round Hill School are entering a community partnership with the Round Hill Renaissance Agricultural Foundation this spring. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about agriculture by participating in such activities as a community garden, food forest development and more. Thanks to the community for supporting this initiative!
Enrollment continues to decline
Board members heard, at their March 25 meeting, that students numbers in BRSD are projected to decline in the year ahead. As rural populations go down, this continues to be an issue for many Alberta school divisions.
BRSD submits Capital Plan request
As school buildings within BRSD continue to age, there is an ongoing need for renovation and modernization. We have been fortunate to have three projects approved in the last 10 years—for the replacement of schools in Bawlf, Bashaw and Chester Ronning School in Camrose.— but other projects are also needed.
Each year the school division is required to submit a capital project request list to the provincial department of Infrastructure, outlining the top priorities for attention. Submission of the request does not guarantee projects will be approved. For the second year, BRSD has identified replacement of CW Sears School in Tofield, modernization of Hay Lakes School and replacement of Ecole Charlie Killam School in Camrose as being the top three projects for consideration.
Replacement of Division Office
While funding for school modernizations and replacement is provided by the province, funding for repairs or replacements of administrative buildings and other non-school buildings for a school division must be paid for by the division itself.
In Battle River, this has meant an ongoing process of attempting to maintain the existing administration building. However, after careful consideration, it has been determined that allocating more funding to repairing the substantial deficits of the existing division office is not worthwhile. At their meeting on March 25, the BRSD Board approved purchase of a building located on 38 Street in Camrose. The building is of sufficient size to permit consolidation of division-wide staff into one site, including those who work in the current division office, as well as those who work in the Support Services Centre and, in the longer-term, those who work in Facilities and Transportation shops. The new building is also designed in such a way that more division meetings and training sessions can be held onsite, rather than BRSD having to rent space. The Board agreed that existing buildings will be sold to help offset the cost of this project.
Before the purchase can be finalized, BRSD will require Ministerial permission. This process began immediately following the Board meeting. The goal is to occupy the new building at some point in the next school year.