Tuesday, March 3, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 9 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Story4
 
       
       
       
       
       
Quote of the Week

“That shows the caliber of
people in this community.”

- Dawn Rigby  
- on helping stranded  
travelers while Highway 3  
shut down  

 

 
The Livingstone Range School Division is considering changes to school schedules that they believe could benefit students throughout the area. On Wednesday, February 25, a parent information night was held at the Crowsnest Consolidated High School to explain the new ideas.
The proposed changes would mostly affect the high school, and boil down to coordination among all high schools in the division. The plan, if the school board approves it, would see every high school in the division start and end their days at the same time, take lunch at the same time, and have equal period lengths.
“There’s absolutely no coordination between one school and another (right now),” said Stephen Harris, Associate Superintendent for the division. “Coordination will start to allow us to share teachers.”
The issue, explained Harris, is that student enrollment is dropping across the division and it becomes harder to offer some of the less popular courses when only a small handful of students desire them.
The solution, said Harris, potentially lies in coordinated school days. If every school has classes starting and ending at the same time, students from one school could take a class via videoconferencing with other schools.
Videoconferencing allows a teacher in one location to speak in real time with students in another location. Students can answer questions and see displays as though they were in a classroom.
“Going to that coordinated school day allows us to do that,” said Harris. “We’ve got to start thinking outside of the box.”
 
He added that it would also allow schools to attract qualified teachers in specialist areas more easily, such as shop or music teachers. Even if there were not enough classes in one school for the teacher to instruct full time, the teacher could be shared between different high schools because of the coordination.
The suggestion currently is to have high school classes start at 8:35 a.m. Classes would each last 90 minutes, there would be a 45-minute lunch, and school would be dismissed at 3:30 p.m.
Each Friday would become a half-day, ending for all schools, including elementary, at 1:16 p.m.
This would have some effect on bussing, but it was suggested that the easiest solution would be to swap CCHS and ISS in the bus schedule, so that ISS would start its school day earlier. Horace Allen School would remain on the same schedule.
The transportation issue as a whole for the division is still under review, and will come up for parent consultation at a future date.
Harris noted that child care is a concern with the early dismissal Friday idea. Currently the coordinated school day and early dismissal Friday is in place in Nanton, Fort Macleod, and Claresholm, and Harris said that the child care gap is often filled by high school students also getting out early and babysitting the younger children.
A questionnaire on this issue has been sent out to all local parents in the mail, and has to be returned by March 10. The school board may make its decision as early as April 14, for possible implementation in September depending on the decision.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 9 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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