Superintendent's Update

Posted On Friday September 09, 2022

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

Thank you for a wonderful start to a new school year. There is a renewed sense of positive energy for staff, students, and families in these first days back to school.
 
New 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan
 
I will continue to share district and school stories that show our new District mission in action– Supporting learning opportunities and environments which inspire students to thrive. Students thrive when we commit to four core valuesconnections/relationships, well-being, equity, sustainability, and the Grandfather Teachings. In weekly updates, stories will highlight one core value and one Grandfather teaching.
 
September: Connection/Relationships and Humility
 
In September, I will highlight the importance of developing strong relationships and connections that strengthen learning and growth, and Humility–our ability to compromise and to be humble, and honour each other’s ideas, values, and needs.
 
New Playgrounds: Ralph Bell and Heffley Creek 

Principal Jennifer Boyle of Heffley Creek Elementary School, commented, “It was so wonderful to see all of the families from the community enjoying the playground last week!” Playgrounds inspire students to connect to new and old friends while exploring these vibrant play spaces. 

Students and parents have grown in their excitement as they watched the development of new playgrounds at Heffley Creek and Ralph Bell Elementary Schools. 
 
In the picture (above), Facilities staff (from left: Vic Khara, Brad Simpson, Kodi Taylor, Steven Reekie, John Kerssens, Ken Spivak, Robin Hodgson, Quinton Harasemchuk) stand together as a dynamic and productive team.
 
The replacement of playgrounds, while seemingly straight forward, requires a dedicated and coordinated team approach. Quinton Harasemchuk, SD73 Grounds Manager, and the grounds crew spent approximately 3-4 weeks during the summer months to ensure the old playgrounds were safely removed from the sites and the sites were reviewed for proper drainage. 

In the case of Ralph Bell Elementary, the site of the new playground structure required the installation of a minor retaining wall on the North side due to the sloping topography within the space, along with improvements to the drainage.  
 
The SD73 grounds crew delivered over 100 tons of dirt to Ralph Bell to level the space. To ensure accessibility and safety for all students, Manager Harasemchuk and his team paved a walkway from the school building to the playground, installed engineered wood fibre around the structure, and ensured a rubberized coating was placed beneath the accessibility swing. Often when a project is initially planned, unforeseen work is required resulting in changes to the scope of the project, timeline for completion, and the budget.  
 
As I learned about and reflected on their highly collaborative process and the complexities that arise as they engage in their projects, I am humbled by the sophistication of these projects involving intricate planning, designing, repairing, and building to cocreate what has become a magnet of student and family excitement.
 
I am grateful for all that this team has done to create learning opportunities and environments that inspire our students to thrive! 
 
Communicable Disease Prevention Guidelines
 
We continue to focus on ensuring the health and safety of students and staff in our SD73 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan. Some reminders:  

  • Stay home when sick
  • Practice the daily health check and follow health advice 
  • Wearing a mask is a personal choice
  • Practice good hand hygiene (wash hands, use hand sanitizer) and good respiratory etiquette (cover mouth when coughing; wash hands after coughing or sneezing)

As we celebrate our first week together, please take that positive energy into the weekend with family and friends.

 
Rhonda Nixon, PhD
Superintendent

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