Guy Neitz was named chair and Kim Smyth Vice Chair by acclamation at the organizational meeting of the Clearview Public School trustees on Aug. 26, 2020.
In a four to two decision, a motion was passed to increase the honorariums paid to trustees for meeting attendance from $175 to $185.
Discussion included—it’s never a good time to increase fees; Clearview was falling very much behind other school districts; we’re not in it for the money, and Clearview’s budget saw an increase in 2020-21.
No changes were made to meal and travel allowance rates.
Following the organizational meeting, Chair Neitz called to order the regular trustee meeting for the Clearview Public Schools. Brenda MacDonald in her new role as Superintendent spoke first.
Having changed her report title from ‘Superintendent’ to ‘Leadership’ highlights, MacDonald explained that she does not do her job alone.
She stressed it takes a leadership team working collaboratively with administrators and board members to bring the best educational results to Clearview students and to encourage and empower teachers and staff.
A Communications Coordinator, Wendy Rairdan, has been hired by the board of trustees to facilitate increased communication demands.
Apology to the Press
Associate superintendent, Peter Neale, apologized to the press in attendance for not informing them of the two special meetings held by the Board of Trustees on July 16 and August 17.
It was an unintentional oversight, said Neale.
Much planning and work has been undertaken by the board, leadership team, staff and teachers over the summer to prepare for a safe re-entry of students.
Superintendent MacDonald recognized teachers and principals for their ingenuity and creative thought that went into ensuring a safe learning environment.
An additional $100,000 will be spent to add day janitorial staff to Botha, Byemoor, Brownfield, Erskine, Donalda and Big Valley schools.
The larger schools are able to rearrange shifts of current employees to meet day-time commitments.
Bus riders will enter from the back, wear masks, fill the front seats first and sit in family groups as much as possible.
They will depart through the front doors, hopefully touching nothing on the way out.
School visitation by parents is permitted and encouraged but will be done through prearranged appointments.
There will be no extracurricular athletics for Junior and Senior High until Thanksgiving when it will be re-visited, and Grades 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement tests will not be written.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be intimately involved with any school facing a Covid-19 case or outbreak.
After two cases are confirmed in any school, AHS will call the shots.
When asked after the meeting, Superintendent MacDonald indicated no classes in Clearview face overcrowding and the low incidence of Covid-19 in the region is encouraging.
In-school students who are ill or need to self-isolate will continue to be supported by the homeroom teachers, not the at-home teaching staff.
Annual transportation fees are normally non-refundable when students stop riding the bus mid-year.
However, this year the district will reimburse private transportation fees to those families who change their minds from in-school learning to at-home learning or vice versa.
The district wants parents to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children’s safety and learning needs, absent any financial considerations.
Options for learning
Clearview is ready to offer in-school learning, at-home learning and homeschooling programming.
To facilitate parents who wish to start the year, or continue throughout the year with their children being schooled at home, the Board approved the hiring of three new teachers.
It is expected some delivery of direct or real-time instruction from a teacher will occur and hours of participation will vary depending on the grade.
The program requires that at-home students meet all outcomes in the Alberta Program of Studies and parents are responsible to ensure all supports are in place to facilitate at-home learning.
Actual assignments and evaluations will likely differ from those who are in-school.
At-home and homeschooling support will be in place by mid-September and will cost $300,000.
Deputy Superintendent, Daram Van Oers, indicated feedback to date suggests about one or two per cent of students may use these options.
At the July 16 special meeting, trustees gave permission to purchase 500 chrome books.
Clearview Public Schools will also offer parents the option of enrolling their children in a full-time homeschool program.
In this program, parents take the lead in educating their children by developing lessons and assessments while
Clearview provides support and resources as needed.
Homeschoolers also have the option to not use the Alberta Program of Studies.
Superintendent MacDonald said that Clearview Public Schools is willing and able to support these alternate programs of studies as well should parents seek their help.