While there wasn’t much on the agenda for the Quesnel School District’s January board meeting, due to the Christmas break cutting off committee meetings, there was still business to attend to.
With districts across province struggling to fill teaching positions, the board’s director of human resources, Perry Lofstrom reported strong numbers in the Quesnel School District.
Over twenty teachers are hosting student-teachers in the district across eight schools.
The district also organized a last-second student teacher spot for the partner of one of their new full-time hires.
“I feel like it’s a celebration for our district,” Lofstrom said. “I want to thank our teachers and our local union for that kind of support.”
Trustee Gloria Jackson suggested sending a letter to schools and teachers thanking them for taking on the added responsibility during COVID-19, which was unanimously approved.
Lofstrom noted in his report all of Quesnel’s student teachers who will graduate this year are locals, so the district could add ten teachers to their staff for next school year.
Lofstrom also participated in an online recruiting fair featuring UBC teachers on Friday, Jan. 15.
Jackson gave an update to the board after a meeting of the Aboriginal Education Council met on Jan. 6. The committee is carefully monitoring the outbreaks in communities near Williams Lake, and is ready to move if those outbreaks travel north.
“Hopefully we can get the vaccines to those communities as fast as possible,” Jackson said.
The district’s Curriculum director, Suzanne Bolin, gave an update on planning for kindergarten registration. Registration is set to begin on Monday, Feb. 1, and run until Friday, March 5. The district expects almost 90 per cent of kindergarten registrations take place during that time frame.
Pandemic restrictions have meant a change in how registration is conducted. Normally parents could just come and go as they please to pick up packages, but in 2021 it will be a more controlled process.
“School principals and secretaries have established routines already at the school level for registrations, with exchanging these papers and packages at the door,” Bolin said.
“We aren’t anticipating this change in procedure for registration will be a problem … the school is familiar with parents knocking or ringing the bell.”
Bolin added school preference forms will be included in the package.
Planning for the annual welcome to kindergarten event is also underway, with public health restrictions meaning it will likely be an all-digital event.
“Last year the district had to re-vamp their usual plans,” Bolin “They managed to be safe and successful in the end. We’re expecting we’ll have similar plans again this year.”
The next Quesnel School District board meeting is set for Feb. 17.