Catholic Division expands and adds to partnerships in new school year

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education met for the first time in the 2023-2024 school year on Monday at the Education Centre.

As the new school year begins, the Prince Albert Catholic School Division is beginning or expanding partnerships with the University of Saskatchewan School of Nursing, SaskCode and Metis artist Leah Dorion.

The division has an agreement this school year with the University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing to host 12 nursing students for the completion of their practicum in community nursing. Each student will complete 216 hours, two days a week from September until December of 2023.

Director of Education Lorel Trumier said that she was excited about the initiative.

“When we look at the work that we do with students, whether it’s high school students or middle years or elementary, there’s so many elements that can really help and benefit students,” Trumier said. “Those nurses are going to have an experience that’s reciprocated in the sense that those nurses are going to learn more about how students think and how they’re acting and different age groups.”

St. John Community School, St. Francis School, Ecole St. Anne School and Ecole Holy Cross School will each have two nursing students assigned. Meanwhile, two students will be shared between Ecole St. Mary High School and St. Catherine Catholic School, with each school having one day with the student.

Students will be supervised by staff from the University of Saskatchewan as they complete their practicum.

“They’ll also be responsible for educating their children along with their teachers, of course, but they will always be supervised by teachers and working with teachers,” Trumier said.

Nursing students will be involved in creating health teaching, health promotion and disease prevention strategies. The nursing students will also develop resources for staff and students according to school needs.

Nurses will be able to do presentations around energy drinks and vaping or other health related subjects. Trumier said the division’s students will really benefit from the perspective the new USask nursing students bring.

“Those nurses will bring that experience and knowledge (to) share with them, and yet have the opportunity to grow and learn as young nurses as well, so we’re excited about the project,” she said. “There’s lots of things that we know that they’ll be able to assist us with.”

The school division was already working with prominent artist Leah Dorion as she created the art for the new three-year strategic plan. Now, the division will partner with her again after receiving approval for a City of Prince Albert Art Stimulus Grant at Ecole Holy Cross,

“We’re so excited to have her join us on those two fronts,” Trumier said. “She was kind enough to let us use her image to help us really represent the school divisions through your strategic plan and the way that could be meaningful to others.”

The division has also been approved for a $5,000 Grant through the City of Prince Albert’s Public Art Stimulus Grant. The project must be completed under the guidance of a professional artist, installed in a public location and completed within a year.

The division was approved in August for an art project at Ecole Holy Cross. The completed work will be a mural installed to the southeast of the front entrance of the school facing 15th Avenue East.

Dorion had been commissioned and will work with students, staff and school administration to create the design. Once they establish a design Dorion will guide the students as they complete the mural.

“To have her participate at the Holy Cross school and to do that initiative with students through the grant that was provided through the city, it’s going to be great,” Trumier said. “It’s going to be fun for those students to be engaged in it.”

The division is also continuing a partnership with SaskCode to offer expanded Coding and Robotics Opportunities after beginning a partnership in 2022-2023.

“We’re going to expand our program in robotics and we’re just going to get that underway here. We still have teachers to train in the different grades. We did the Grade 5 last year,” Trumier said.

She explained that they will be expanding to Grade 6 and 7 in the year ahead.

Students will participate in hands-on robotic activities aligned with Saskatchewan curriculum in Arts Education, English Language Arts, Math, Practical and Applied Arts, and Science. To support student learning, teachers will participate in professional learning opportunities provided by SaskCode throughout the 2023-2024 school year.

“We do know that the students love the program,” she said. “They’re highly engaged and really get to learn cross curricular elements by just using the robotics program to do that.”

Examples of skills students can learn are logical sequential, problem solves, STEM thinking, science and math.

Trumier said the division is looking forward to a new school year.

“It’s just an exciting year,” she said. “We’re very excited to start the school year. There’s lots of good news and we feel like we’re getting our feet underneath us after COVID. Our staff did a wonderful job during COVID, but we’re so happy to be resuming some of these activities and new initiatives that we can engage in.”