Playground projects making progress in Catholic Division

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The Prince Albert Catholic School Division has made progress on installing four new playgrounds as part of a project to improve learning for all students in the division.

St. Catherine School and St. John Community School are the first of the two to be completed.

“We have two playgrounds that are close to completion, and we have two left,” Education Director Lorel Trumier said. “With the weather cooperating like it is today (Tuesday) we should be in good stead by the end of the week. We should have at least the other two started or near completion.

“We keep praying the good Lord will keep us with no snow and without frozen ground,” she added.

Trumier added that Facilities Manager Dan Gareau planned a big roll in make sure the first two projects were completed. Prepations will begin this week at St. Francis School and Ecole St. Anne School for the next two projects.

Crews have already removed the old equipment at St. Francis and Ecole St. Anne. Madera Playscapes (Blue Imp) was selected as the supplier for all four playgrounds.

At Ecole St. Mary High School, the division purchased more student tables for the cafeteria to create more space for eating. New curtains were also installed in the lecture theatre to support the performing arts program.

Trumier said they’re excited to see the new tables and curtains being put to good use.

The other elementary schools, Ecole Holy Cross and St. Michael Community School have had their gymnasium floors replaced.

The Grade 5 to 8 band program has also relaunched in the division according to an update on Monday.

“We know that there are students who want to pursue the arts and that is equally as important as the sports,” Trumier said. “We are trying to work with our public health authority about the best practices on band.

“Our Grade 5 to 8 are currently restarting the band program. They are going to start with percussion first so that we get the strategies of working with students in that kind of environment set out.”

The program will consist of percussion instruments for the first six to eight weeks. It currently has 196 students enrolled across all six elementary schools. The program has one full time equivalent band teacher

Trumier said they put COVID-19 mitigation measures in place after discussions with local health authorities. When making the schedule, they tried to minimize the size of cohorts.

“It has been a long time that we have been waiting,” Trumier said. “The high school is starting their first block of band, so we are excited about that as well.”

Trumier also reported the results of the School Community Council (SCC) professional development survey. The SCCs chose the “Caring for ourselves and our Youth During COVID-19” session with trauma and threat assessment expert Kevin Cameron, who did a presentation last school year.

“I’m not surprised that our parents would value the messages of Kevin Cameron, but it certainly affirms that what we did last year was very important,” Trumier explained.

Trumier said staff, students and families all worked through COVID-19 in different ways. She said it was important for everyone to get the chance to hear from an expert about how to take care of themselves during a difficult time.

Trumier said they are excited to invite Cameron back and are already starting the process of setting up for another session in January, 2022.

The board began planning for their annual meeting with the Prince Albert and Area Teachers Association (PAATA). This meeting did not occur in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Trumier explained that this is a general board advocating activities such as the recent meetings with MLAs and Minister of Education Dustin Duncan.

“We also try to build our relationships with the different organizations that have perhaps an opportunity to collaborate on and join and support each other in different areas like our Teacher Association and Sask Rivers,” Trumier said.

“It certainly sets some work ahead of us and that is the important work that our board does. We start communicating with our partners in education,” she added.

Administration requested that the board be present virtually and set a date for that meeting.

The board also began planning for a joint meeting with the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board of education.

Both meetings are being planned for March, 2022.