Edwin Parr Nominee: Lindsey Tatarnic, from École Oriole Park Elementary School, is Red Deer Public Schools’ candidate for the 2012 Edwin Parr Teaching Award that recognizes excellence in beginning teachers. Principal Chris Good shared the outstanding work Lindsey has done teaching a variety of grades and subject areas. “She has the poise and patience of a veteran teacher and demonstrates initiative and leadership on staff,” said Good. Lindsey uses a variety of strategies that appeal to a range of learning styles, makes innovative use of technology to connect with students and parents and uses many techniques for promoting positive relationships. One parent commented, “We feel that Miss Tatarnic should be commended on her ingenuity with learning techniques, her commitment to her students, her contagious enthusiasm and also her profession representation of Ecole Oriole Park.” We are proud that Lindsey is also a graduate of Red Deer Public Schools.
International Education Report: Earlier this year, the district combined our International Student Program, International Languages and English as a Second Languages into International Education to support an all-encompassing internationalization strategy for Red Deer Public Schools. International Education Director, Rob Porkka, provided an update on several fronts as well as plans and future directions. Highlights include:
- Implementation of a new Spanish bilingual program at GH Dawe School—currently 31 students are registered for the kindergarten program starting this fall.
- Establishing a Middle School Chinese Language Program—a teacher from our partner jurisdiction in China will be joining us next year to support this program at Eastview and Westpark Middle Schools.
- Development of an International Education Certificate for high school students encouraging the study of second languages, intercultural studies, international experience and evidence of learning.
- Increased student numbers in our ESL programming representing increased immigration and diversity within our community.
- Review and support for French Immersion, as well as French as a Second Language, teaching and learning in our schools—10% of our students are registered in French Immersion.
- Continued success in attracting and supporting our international students who choose to study in Red Deer Public Schools – 50 international students are in our schools this year.
- Encouraging partnership and twin school arrangements with schools in other countries – this year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the twin arrangement between Lindsay Thurber and Mulhouse France.
- Promoting the advantages of second language learning to our students through a wide variety of options available in our schools.
- Offering a wide range of international education travel opportunities to students in a variety of programs.
- Supporting opportunities for internationalization of staff within the district.
- Recognized leadership provincially and nationally with regards to international education.
Reading College: With reading at grade level a key indicator for high school completion, it is essential that students develop those skills in the early grades. Literacy is essential for future success. For grade two students who are struggling with reading, Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer College have partnered to offer Reading College, a program that will provide intense literacy support through an exciting summer program. Thirty students who have been identified as reading below grade level, will spend four weeks in what is expected to be ‘the best summer ever’. These students will work with six graduates of the education program at Red Deer College. Using facilities at the college will also provide a wide range of interesting and engaging learning opportunities. Key to the program’s success will be commitment from the families—in turn, Reading College will provide transportation, meals and snacks, as well as a great summer of learning and exploring—all at no cost to those involved. The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools has been seeking support from the community to fund the program are pleased to welcome the Central Alberta Optimist Clubs as major sponsors for the initiative. While this will be the first year for the program, it is anticipated there will be need as well as support from the community allowing it to grow to assist even more students.
Locally Developed Courses: Locally developed courses allow middle and high schools to offer programs that do not follow specific provincial curriculum and provide an alternative for students and parents. Course in middle schools range from dance, driver’s education and newspaper to self-defense, the history of rock n’ roll and math mania! At the high school level, these courses include advanced acting, vocal jazz, dance and technical theatre. Red Deer Public acquires many of these courses from other jurisdictions who have already developed the program and identified learning resources. The Board of Trustees approved several locally developed courses which will be forwarded to Alberta Education for final approval.
Administrative Appointments: The Board reviewed and approved recommendations from Senior Administration on school administrators completing probationary terms as well as those whose three year appointments were up for review.
- The Board of Trustees will send a letter of congratulations to the Honourable Jeff Johnson, Minister of Education on his new appointment and will extend an invitation for him to meet with the Board.
- Several Trustees and Senior Administration attended the inaugural Grow Boys event for more than 550 grade five boys from across the community promoting the values and character that are important as they make the transition to becoming young men. Congratulations to all the organizers for an exceptional event.
- Trustees and Administration also attended Go Girls promoting healthy active lifestyles to more than 550 grade five girls--also an exceptional day for these students.
- Former Red Deer Public student Kylie Morrison was presented with the Youth Citizen of the Year Award for outstanding service to the community.
- Trustees attended and reported on the final City Wide School Council meeting of the year.
- Congratulation to Brad Vonkmann, a parent in the district, who was recently elected as President for Alberta School Council Association.
- Trustee Lemke has toured 50 community members through MicroSociety at Aspen Heights to showcase this program. The school will host a State Farm Day in recognition of the company’s significant support for the program.
- More than 70 students from Normandeau assisted Ducks Unlimited in a recent tree planting project which also raised money for the school.
- Several elementary choirs had the opportunity to perform with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra at “Choir Kids.” Once again, a very special tradition.
- The Foundation assisted the Central Alberta Optimists Clubs in the “Cures for Kids Radiothon” that raised over $111,000. Part of the proceeds will support the “Reading College” project this summer.
- Planning is well underway for the district’s 125th anniversary activities including a celebration evening, pancake breakfast, student assemblies and a number of school based activities.
- More than 3000 students attended the Career Expo at Red Deer College providing an opportunity to explore a variety of career options.
- Both Lindsay Thurber and Hunting Hills did well at the Zone Badminton Championships.
- Our middle schools came together to profile the best of their student artists and the Middle School Awesome Art Show.
- A number of school councils have hosted Teacher Appreciation Events to recognize our hardworking teaching staff.
- The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce hosted the “State of the City” luncheon with Mayor Morris Flewwelling providing an update on key directions. In addition to trustees taking in this event, the Prime Minister of the Aspen Heights MicroSociety also attended.