Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year

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Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year

The beginning of a new school year is always a time of hope and optimism: and the 2014-2015 school year is no exception! The adults in our school system typically return to work with energy, enthusiasm, and a myriad of plans and aspirations for the year ahead. In that respect we are not unlike the students that we serve! Our Division’s ongoing plans and aspirations for our students through to 2017 are summarized briefly in a video message circulated to all schools last week. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can click the small picture, or find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh_zFuxMiNU

And there are other grounds for optimism and hope! This fall will see the opening of our new Seven Stones Community School, as well the temporary relocation of École Connaught Community School to the former Wascana Community School site.  I want to begin the school year by recognizing the extraordinary effort that has gone into making these two facilities ready for their new occupants. The need to manage the “domino” effect of having one student population vacating their school so that it could be made ready for use by another was a complex and challenging task, unprecedented in the Division’s history.  But due to the exceptional level of cooperation, leadership, and flexibility exhibited by the school staffs, their respective administrators, parents and SCC members, our facilities and custodial personnel, external contractors, and Division office staff, all 600 or so students will begin their school year safely ensconced in their new surroundings. 

The dedication of Regina Public Schools staff is also clear through the work many of them did before the first day of class. One clear example is their participation in edcampYQR on August 28th, an opportunity to exchange ideas, expertise and learning opportunities. A further example was on August 27 where more than 1,600 Regina Public Schools teachers, educational assistants, superintendents, consultants, teacher-librarians and administrators participated in a first-ever school division-wide treaty training professional development day. This may be a first for this kind of learning in the province and the country! This professional development opportunity complemented one of the Regina Public Schools' priority strategies, the development of a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Achievement Initiative. Our substitute teachers also participated in a professional development session on August 29th at the Division office.

This first week of school also includes the opening of our new Martin Sports Academy. The creation of this program marks another first for our Division and is also the result of a high level of collaborative effort from people at all levels of our system and in the community. Thanks to their efforts, many of our existing students will have brand new opportunities for achieving both academic and athletic excellence, and at last count, this new venture had brought almost 60 new students into our school system. The work to improve the equity of opportunity and results across our nine high schools that is central to our High School Strategy will provide opportunities to build on the success of Campus Regina Public and the Martin Academy in the year ahead.

It’s hard not to feel optimistic in the face of the kind of teamwork, leadership, and capacity for hard work that these existing projects have shown to be present in our school division. As if that isn’t enough, by the end of this school year, we will be well into initial stages of construction for the North Central Shared Facility (a new home for Scott Collegiate),  as well as having made significant progress made on the planning and design for a new École Connaught Community School,  back at its home on Elphinstone Street. Throughout the year ahead we will also continue to collaborate with the Regina Roman Catholic School Division on the construction of three new joint elementary schools in Harbour Landing, in Greens on Gardiner, and Skywood (north of Lakeridge). These projects are all expected to come to fruition for our students in September 2017.

On a final note, I have deliberately chosen not to begin the year with an examination of some of the challenges and unresolved issues that will undoubtedly influence our school year as well. There’ll be time enough for that…when the football season is over, and the Riders have won their second, consecutive Grey Cup!!!

Have a great year every one!!!

Julie MacRae