Saskatoon News August 20, 2012

Saskatoon Public Schools Report to the Community

I was a bit surprised to have a big beautiful glossy colourful book waiting for me at my office “With Compliments of the Saskatoon Board of Education”. This lovely printed book I am sure is worth a pretty penny. I have to say, it would be much better next year if they emailed this instead of spending so much money on the printed version that will, in many cases, just end up in the landfill. I am a hard core recycler but not everyone is. I am not sure why I was sent this, not every Saskatoon REALTOR (r) was sent one (I hope!!). I guess this is what my high taxes are contributing towards?

Alas, I will not let it go to waste, I will write about the highlights from the Saskatoon Public Schools Report to the Community and forever capture it online myself.

High Achievers in Mathematics-for 10 years Saskatoon schools have placed in 1st place in Saskatchewan with Marion Graham in 2003, Evan Hardy Collegiate in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and Walter Murray Collegiate from 2006-2011.

Ivan Vendrov is a graduate of Bedford Road Collegiate and was awarded the 2010 Board of Education Award of Excellence. This award recognizes the Grade 12 student who exemplifies excellence in areas including lifelong learning, critical and creative thinking, respect for others, world citizenship, a sense of personal worth and dignity, and moral, ethical and spiritual values. He maintained a 99.71% average in Grade 12. Wow!

Another astounding student is Rui Song, a Grade 10 student from Walter Murray who was recognized with a 2011 Top 20 Under 20 Award for Canadians “who have demonstrated a significant level of innovation, leadership and achievement”. According to the June 1, 2011 Globe and Mail, she “already boasts a resume that would surely impress even the most qualified scientist: She was the youngest ever competitor and champion of the 2010 National Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge, a finalist at the 2010 Sanofi-Aventis International BioGENEius Competition andd won the 2010, 2009 and 2009 Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge Saskatoon Regional Competitions”.

I do have to shake my head a bit when I read the message from the Director and one comment is about their “green efforts” as I read this book they put out. Some other things to note though, besides my “green rant” is that they completed the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre in the north wing of Mount Royal Collegiate, Nutana Collegiate is being restored, and Willowgrove Elementary School design is progressing.

One of the “green” things they are doing is developing a number of community gardens throughout the school division. They act as excellent outdoor classrooms but also have many practical aspects in terms of teaching young people a wide variety of skills and simply providing nutritious food for students. This is very cool!

Saskatoon Public Schools is also culturally responsive toward students and families through curricula and programming.

New programming continues to be introduced such as: the addition of French Immersion at Tommy Douglas Collegiate, the launching of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Bedford Road Collegiate and the offering of an integrated Grade 9 program at Aden Bowman Collegiate called Collective Voice.

The school division also has many partnerships with our community such as: Literacy for Life, The Okiciyapi Partnership, The Nehiyawiwin Cree Language and Culture Program, Parent Engagement Conference, The Restorative Action Program and Signing of the Community Threat Assessment and Support Protocol, Child Hunger and Education Program, Children’s Festival, Saskatoon Industry-Education Council, Care and Share, etc.

Another welcome addition was on August 15, 2011 with the opening of the Newcomer Student Centre (NSC) which is located at the Public School Division office downtown. The mandate is to orient newcomer students and their families to the Saskatoon Public Schools while focusing on students who do not speak English as their first language. The staff introduces families to public schools, assess students’ language and math skills, assist students with registering in school and recommends support and programming for students needing English as an additional language services. In its first month they registered and assessed over 200 newcomer students. As a real estate agent in Saskatoon I help many newcomers purchase houses here so I can just imagine how daunting the school process can seem.

The program that I am excited about is Education for Sustainability. Saskatoon Public Schools is committed to education for sustainability in: teaching and learning; facilities and operations; human capacity building; and partnerships. The school division inspires learning that honours stewardship of the environment by building a sense of social responsibility and social action. Some examples of the programming include: Bioresource Management,EcoQuest, Eathkeepers, Collective Voice and Citizens Inspiring Change, Let’s Lead, ScienceTrek, Outdoor School, Kamskenow, and Community School Gardens. There is also a Grade 7 program using the Net Zero home as the student’s classroom.

Wow, I guess this wasteful book was a bit enlightening after all! As a Saskatoon real estate agent who does not have children I find that I don’t know as much about Saskatoon Schools as I would like but this book was quite helpful and I definitely learned a few things today.

If you are looking at buying or selling a house for sale in Saskatoon I hope to hear from you!

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Fusion