New in the schools

  • Sep. 24, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Students and teachers filled islands schools Monday morning for the first time in three months following the resolution of a lengthy strike. At Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary school, principal Vicki Ives said the first day of school was a happy one for staff and children. “It was great, it was a beautiful day,” she said. Students were thrilled to see that the school now has a climbing wall that was installed over the summer, Ms Ives said, and there are also new swings in the playground. A new slide will be added soon, and the kindergarten area has some extra green space. New staff at Sk’aadgaa Naay include Emmy O’Gorman, who will be teaching French Immersion on Fridays, and counsellor Jennifer Wissink. James Reid and Megan Benere will be teaching a grade 6/7 class and also running a music and drama program for the school, while Tyler Crosby has returned as the First Nations resource worker. Ms Ives reminds everyone that school is now starting at 8:55 am, a few minutes earlier than last year, to accommodate school bus runs with the new Sandspit ferry schedule. Sk’aadgaa Naay will be holding a special open house and grand opening of its new greenhouse on Oct. 3 from 5-7 pm, Ms Ives said. The greenhouse, which is already producing lots of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, is being named after Kaiya Williams, and everyone is welcome to attend. At Tahayghen elementary in Masset, new principal Ian Keir said the school received a fresh coat of paint over the summer and floors have been polished to a bright finish. Everyone was really happy to be back in the building this week. “The school looks like a million bucks,” he said. The grade 7 class has a new teacher, Amanda Buchen, who has worked previously in Masset and knows some of the students from her work with the Science Alive program. Tahayghen has cooperated on a program with Old Massett that will see a free lunch offered to students every day of the week, Mr. Keir said. There is also a drop-in breakfast program every day between 8:30 and 9 am in the school kitchen. Mr. Keir reminds everyone that there are some students with nut allergies and Tahayghen is now a nut-free school. Mr. Keir has been teaching at Tahayghen for seven years and became the principal over the summer. He’ll be going on leave in mid-October as he and his partner are expecting a baby, but he will be back next year. In the meantime, Marty Cross will be coming up to work as principal. Many people will remember Mr. Cross, who filled in as principal at G.M. Dawson for a year recently. At A.L. Mathers school in Sandspit, principal Leighann Rodger said students will experience even more outdoor activities this year than they did last year. The school has been emphasizing outdoor education, and is planning an ambitious program of field trips every second Friday. The other Fridays will see the entire school involved in art activities like silkscreening or clay pottery, she said. A.L. Mathers is also hoping to hold a school logger sports day where the kids can compete in traditional logger-style activities, echoing the community’s traditional Logger Sports Day event. Last year, the Sandspit students all made Haida drums and this year they will be working on Haida paddles, Ms Rodger said. The students will each create their own paddle with individual designs, she said, with help from Tyler Crosby. “We definitely have a big focus on art and outdoor education,” she said. “In some ways, we’re lucky because there’s only 30 kids in the building.” At Port Clements elementary school, teacher Josina Davis said everything is pretty much the same as it was last year, although it looks like there will be a few more students. That’s good news for the small school. Former Queen Charlotte principal Kevin May will be the principal at Port for now, and Karen Walhout will be working in the school as a prep teacher one day a week. Queen Charlotte Secondary is welcoming a new principal, Deavlan Bradley, and three new teachers. Keith Randall will be teaching art, Shelby Reinitz will be teaching music and Katrina Husband will be teaching home economics. Mr. Bradley, the former vice-principal, said even though school started a bit later than usual, teachers are busy organizing several trips. “All credit to the staff here, they want to get things done,” he said. Upcoming trips include a week at the Mount Moresby Adventure Camp next week for grade 11s, and a university/college tour to Vancouver Island in October. Queen Charlotte Secondary continues to work on a project that should see a raven and eagle pole raised later this school year. Jim Jones is the carver, and students have been involved as much as possible, Mr. Bradley said. The raven pole is finished and they are now working on the eagle pole. Donations are welcome and can be made at the credit union. The Observer didn’t hear back from G.M. Dawson in time for this week’s paper but we hope to bring you some information about that school next week.

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