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School Board briefs
Enrolment boost at Catholic schools

Candace Thomson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, January 10, 2014

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
The trustees of Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) did a collective drum roll Dec. 18 during the superintendent's report for an item they'd been waiting for since October.

The enrolment numbers have finally come in from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE). Schools submit enrolment numbers each year at the end of September to make sure all late registrations are accounted for. The numbers are then tallied by ECE.

Enrolment determines how much funding a school board receives, and low enrolment could mean a hike in the mill rate - a percentage of property tax that goes from ratepayers to the school boards.

This year, the numbers come with positive news for YCS.

"This is a good news item," said superintendent Claudia Parker.

"And the good news is that our student enrolment has an increase in all three schools, with an overall increase of 45 students."

The current number of students at Yellowknife Catholic Schools is 1,393, including pre-school.

The greatest increase was in kindergarten students with a small decrease of 10 per cent or less in Grades 6 to 8. Strategic plan sparks debate

The strategic plan birthed from a day-long conference with Yellowknife Catholic Schools' staff and trustees has eight priorities to enhance the education of Yellowknife's Catholic students.

Trustees discussed the first four priorities but after the fourth sparked debate, they decided to discuss the rest during the next committee of the whole meeting, to be held this month. The first four they discussed were Catholic identity, student learning, aboriginal student achievement (which might be added to student learning), and health and wellness.

The fourth was struck from the list after a heated debate between trustees on whether or not the priority would apply to teachers and if the board had the right to pressure teachers to lead a healthy lifestyle.

It was determined during the discussion that healthy lifestyles of teachers isn't a strategic priority for the board, which is meant to focus on curriculum. Instead, it was determined to be an administration issue.

French board honours helpers

Phillipe Brulot, superintendent of the francophone school board, visited the trustees to offer thanks to Mike Huvenaars. Suzette Montreil wanted to make the presentation, but was in Ireland on business and could not attend.

Brulot said when one of the francophone school board's financial co-ordinators died last fall, it was tragic for the board, and trustees were left with matters in disarray. Huvenaars came to the school and helped them get organized financially, helping them sort out how to pay bills and apply funds to various programs.

"When bad things happen, there is always an angel around, and for us, that angel was Mike," she said. "He and his right-hand person, Debra (Kruger), helped us figure out what to do and served as mentors for the young man who took over the position."

She gave Huvenaars and Kruger a painting done by a local artist and told Huvenaars the school had pooled together money for him to do what he wanted with, whether he wanted to keep it or donate it.

Annual report goes electronic

The annual report sent out each year by Yellowknife Catholic Schools might be getting a change of face.

Instead of its regular hard-copy calendar of the past several years, trustees are debating making the report electronic.

"It costs close to $8,000 to print the calendars and we're wondering how many of them are actually being put up," said superintendent Claudia Parker.

The trustees agreed an electronic version would be more modern, but a list of people who want a hard copy should be made to make sure those who'd prefer paper still get them.

"Given the way society is today, a lot of people are dealing with less paper, so we've been considering changing it for a while," Parker said.

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