By Cole Parkinson
With 2018 at a close, the Horizon School Board got an update on their 2018-2021 three-year education plan and results of the 2017-2018 education report.
“We really are focused on engaging all learners to become life-long learners and contribute as global citizens. We say all learners because it’s not just about kids, it is about all staff, we want our staff to be learners as well. When you look at our school division, we really have one core goal and that is to contribute global citizens. We achieve that through two action items — strong instruction and when kids aren’t successful what kind of intervention do we do? That allows us to meet the competencies of the ministerial order of student learning,” said Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools, during the board’s regular meeting on November 26.
Over the past year, the school division has seen a dip in mathematics grades and Tymensen says they will be focusing in on junior high math specifically.
“One of the areas we have stumbled somewhat would be math and so one of the pieces the province has done is, they have moved forward with a research network. They have allowed a number of school divisions to submit processes for doing a research proposal and so we are doing one focusing on junior high math,” he explained.
Another major focus for the division is leaving students with academic learning with deep transfer of knowledge and not just memorizing facts.
A big portion of the document revolved around the accountability pillar which evaluates achievements, improvements and overall grades in a variety of different categories including First Nations and Metis system supports and teachers as examples.
“Certainly we have got lots of high academic achievements. It is important to realize in some cases if you drop more than one per cent, it goes to orange (issue score) and if you drop more than 2.5 per cent it goes to red (concern score). You can still be 10 per cent above provincial average but because you’ve dropped more than 2.5 or three per cent, your improvement has declined significantly,” said Tymensen.
In terms of Horizon’s combined 2018 overall summary, they have nine excellent scores, two good scores, two acceptable scores, one issue score and one concern score.
The nine excellent scores come from the categories of safe and caring schools, education quality, drop out rate, high school completion rate, diploma acceptable scores, diploma excellence scores, work preparation, citizenship and parental involvement.
Good scores come from transition rates and school improvements while acceptable scores are for program of studies and diploma exam participation rates.
The issue score comes from PAT acceptable scores which saw a dip from 75.7 to 72.1 through the provincial average for this year is at 73.6.
The concern is for PAT excellence scores which are at 11.7 this year, down from 14.9 from last year.
The provincial average is at 19.9 currently.
“Most of our results are good. Our PATs are not as strong as they have historically been, they have dropped,” added Tymensen.
The document also briefly touched on the budget which sees the board with a deficit of $726,361 for this year which is down from last year’s budget deficit of $1,457,075.
“This is, from our assumption, the last deficit budget that we plan to bring forward,” said Tymensen. “We actually have staffed more this year opposed to last year because there was a need for that. We placed that as a priority and whatever is left over, we give to schools. This year it is around $200 per student. We give another $200 per ELL (English Language Learners) student for additional supports. Because we are no longer tapping into reserves, it does mean that school budgets, what we gave schools two or three years ago were $2.4 million, now we are giving them about $1.2 million.”
The board made a motion to approve the plan and it was passed unanimously.