Students will begin easing back into school this week amid political turmoil.
But, students shouldn’t notice much of it.
“What we’re really trying to do is make it so it doesn’t effect students… and at the same time, put pressure on management and administration to encourage negotiations,” Cowichan District Teacher’s Association president Shellie Trimble said.
Teachers are without a provincial contract, so they’re carrying out a job action that rules out administration tasks. These tasks include things such as the following;
• Supervising students before school, during lunch or recess, or after school if principals, vice-principals, or the district’s other managers and excluded staff can supervise students.
• Preparing or distributing report cards.
• Submitting grades to the principal, with the exception of Grade 12 marks required for graduation.
• Collecting money from students in fund-raising activities.
Although the political situation shouldn’t directly affect students too much this week, it doesn’t mean to say that things are entirely the same at Cowichan Lake’s three schools.
The following are the changes that will meet students when they go back into the classroom.
Lake Cowichan Secondary School
Students in Grades 6 and 9 will begin the school year with a half day’s worth of class, Tuesday, September 6, with a dismissal three hours early.
This will allow students brand new to the middle school, and new to the high school, an extra chance to get used to it, principal Peter Jory said.
A full day’s class will greet all students on Wednesday.
New to this year will be an Environmental Studies elective class.
“Middle school kids will be learning about greenhouses, recycling, and the environment,” Jory said.
The class will make use of the school’s newly re-built greenhouse and community gardens, which will be completed in the near future.
Also new at the school will be two new faculty members.
Local resident Lindsay Hartshorn will teach the humanities, including English and Drama.
Fresh from university, Larua Kline, from Sooke, will teach Science and Biology.
AB Greenwell Elementary School
Over at AB Greenwell Elementary School, teachers have spent the week prior to students’ arrival immersed in the Tribes Program.
“It’s a program that teaches co-operation,” principal Jann Drake said.
The program focuses on three specific learning goals, including:
• Attentive listening
• Appreciation and no put
• Mutual respect
• The right to pass
Teachers will then pass these skills on to the students.
The school is welcoming a new faculty member this year, with Phaedra Fairwell, from the Duncan area, coming in to teach the Kindergarten/Grade 1 class.
She’s recently returned from a teaching job in Japan.
The total number of students will not be known until Tuesday, but tentatively, Drake said that the school will be divided into a Kindergarten/Grade 1 classroom, a Grades 2/3 class, and a Grades 4/5 classroom.
Palsson Elementary School
A new modular building will be wheeled to Palsson Elementary School this month.
The building is being provided by the government to offset the space taken up by full day Kindergarten.
The building will house the Music classroom, and will have a sidewalk leading up to it.
The way school supplies are purchased from the school has changed.
Unlike previous years when they could be purchased on the first day of classes, this year had parents required to pre-order them. Only half have done so.
“Those that didn’t must buy their own,” principal Fergus Horsburgh said.
A number of new teachers will grace Palsson Elementary School this year.
Lorne Platt is coming from Duncan to teach Kindergarten students.
Rhonda Dale – also from Duncan – will teach in the Resource Room, and will also work as a learning assistant, with a focus on helping students with special needs.
With last year’s Music teacher Theo Lassche going on to teach a Grade 4/5 class, Albertan Kris Poole will fill his place in the Music classroom.
Two new education assistants at the school include Oline Nickel and Moira Mercer.
On Friday, September 16, the school’s Parent Advisory Council is holding a welcome back barbecue at the school, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
With notes by Krista Siefken