Due to budget constraints and funding changes for the 2020-2021 school year, Battle River School Division made the difficult decision last spring to stop offering an Early Learning Program for 4-year-olds.
However, after a year’s absence, it has become clear that this program is critically important to the developmental, literacy and social needs of our school division’s youngest learners.
As a result, Assistant Superintendent Shan Jorgenson-Adam brought forward a recommendation to the Board of Trustees that the program be re-instated for the 2021-2022 school year.
“The students of our school division will be well-served by bringing this program back,” Jorgenson-Adam told the Board of Trustees at their meeting on Feb. 25.
The program will limit class sizes to about 15 students who are four years of age, and will include a mix of students receiving service through the PUF program, students with mild and moderate learning needs and other community children.
The program will be offered at multiple locations:, including CW Sears School in Tofield, as well as in Camrose.
As this program is not funded by the government, fees will be $295 per month.
Taking care of each other
As we move further through this most challenging of school years, feedback from school division staff indicates that stress levels are climbing, for both students and employees.
Staff have been doing outstanding work in supporting students. In addition, the BRSD Wellness team has been doing outstanding work in providing support to staff members and encouraging staff members to support each other. This empathy and acknowledgement of challenging times is critically important to all staff.
Both individually, through the Alberta School Boards Association and in conversations with government, school divisions across the province have been focused on finding ways to help ensure the mental health of students / families and staff is a priority.
Budget information coming soon
On the same day the BRSD Board last met, the Alberta Government released an overview of their budget plans for the 2021-2022 year. Specifics for school division funding will be available at the end of March. BRSD remains hopeful that the funding allocation will meet student needs.
Working with the Alberta School Boards Association
Battle River School Division has been working with the Alberta School Boards Association to bring forward a number of issues to Alberta Education. This includes seeking early vaccination for school-based staff and asking for increases in Per Unit Funding (PUF) for young children who need additional support for their learning and development, as well as advocating for funding for all pro-grams.
The school division will be part of an ASBA meeting with the Minister of Education on March 22.
There are innovative and exciting activities happening in schools every single day. During this pandemic year, when parent visits have been limited and students have been participating in fewer community events, it is even more important to celebrate successes. All BRSD schools are making extra efforts to highlight a range of student activities on their social media feeds.
In addition, the school division is sponsoring a “What Makes Battle River School Division a Great Place for Students” video contest, in which students will create brief videos on themes such as belonging, student leadership, safe and caring schools, academics, opportunities, sports and more.
Creators of the top three videos will win a prize, but videos will be posted and available to the public in May. Watch for them.
About one in five Alberta schools have experienced COVID-19 cases since in-person learning resumed on Jan. 11, but we are very pleased to report that BRSD schools remained COVID-free for the months of January and February.
– Battle River School Division