Students on the islands will be enjoying a few extra days of summer holiday this year.
Schools open on the Tuesday after Labour Day (Sept. 5) as usual, but then they are closing for the next three days so that teachers and staff can attend a special “Tribes” professional development workshop, with school beginning in earnest on Monday, Sept. 11.
Steve Bentley, the new principal at Tahayghen elementary in Masset, said he has already been through a Tribes workshop and he is really looking forward to doing another session next week.
“Tribes in fantastic,” he said. “It’s a positive experience for anyone, it doesn’t have to be an educator.”
Mr. Bentley comes to the islands with eight years of experience teaching in a remote fly-in Ojibway reserve in Ontario, Fort Hope. He loved it there, but moved to BC at the urging of his sister, who lives in Penticton.
Mr. Bentley said he wants to focus on literacy improvement, outdoor education and incorporating culture into the classroom this year, and is looking forward to collaborating with teachers and the community.
“It’s going to be a very exciting year this year,” he said. “This is a very interesting place to be.”
The first day of school at Tahayghen will start with an assembly so students can meet the new teachers and principal, Mr. Bentley said.
At G.M. Dawson high school, longtime local teacher Lorrie Joron is looking forward to her first year as principal. GMD has two new staff members: Marcus Gosse from Newfoundland, who will be teaching junior classes and French and Derek Siefert from Whitehorse, who will be teaching junior classes.
Students will be starting off the school years with an opening ceremony on Monday, Sept. 11, with local mayors and the chief councillor invited to make speeches. The grade 8s will be drummed in.
“We’re going to have the best year ever,” Ms Joron said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Claudette Lavoie, principal of both Port Clements elementary and A.L. Mathers elementary in Sandspit, said there will be a new e-school teacher working out of ALM to replace Laura Sample, who has retired. As well, Elaine Kwasnicki has been appointed vice-principal at ALM.
“We’re looking forward to doing more outdoor ed throughout the curriculum in Sandspit,” she said. Staff are also looking forward to welcoming some new students, seeing their old students again and getting back to work.
At Queen Charlotte Secondary, principal Angus Wilson said there’s a new program called the Taay.yaan.nuhl program all set to start with a group of 15 students between grades 8 and 11.
The program emphasizes outdoor education, living on the land, as well as regular classes. New teacher Kim Kyba will be doing this program, with the rest of the school staff staying the same.
New courses this year include Forests 11, Community Action 9 (a course which was locally developed at GMD) and Art 3-D 9, Mr. Wilson said.
This year’s timetable is very different as well, with just four classes a day, allowing for longer instruction time with no interruptions.
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