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SSBA Spring Assembly dissected by Sask Rivers board

Professional development and networking opportunities explored.
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Trustee Barry Hollick noted Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill spent time at the assembly. “ … a good sign that he’s comfortable with trustees and will get a good understanding of our issues,” trustee Barry Hollick said.

PRINCE ALBERT — During their regular meeting last week, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division Board of Education discussed the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) Spring Assembly on April 11-12 in Saskatoon.

The theme of the conference was Forward Focus.  

"There were lots of different professional development opportunities for the board that took place,” Director of Education Neil Finch said.

According to a school division press release, trustees had the opportunity to gain valuable professional development and learn alongside colleagues from across the province.

Board chair Darlene Rowden led a roundtable discussion of the meeting.

“We were led well by our executive I feel throughout the weekend. we are looking forward to our team and the teacher team getting back to that table and settling this,” Rowden said.

Trustee Barry Hollick noted how long Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill spent at the Spring Assembly.  

“Hopefully that’s a good sign that he’s comfortable with trustees and will get a good understanding of our issues,” Hollick said. “Usually they come, they give their speech and they are out of the door.”

Trustee Grant Gustafson highlighted the session on Governance in Saskatchewan about getting people involved in school boards.

“What stood out was the part about involving students in the decision-making process,” Gustafson said.

With the Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change (SRSC), the division is ahead of the curve on student voices in decisions.

“I thought, ‘well we are doing something right’ and it's not just the board that is doing it. We are working with students and doing something that is right and it is working,” Gustafson said.

A highlight of the event was a presentation from the Ile-a-la-Crosse School division on Land-Based Learning, a plan which has a lot in common with a similar initiative in Sask Rivers.

Trustee Alan Nunn said that the presentation really showed how that division leads the way in the province in outdoor education.

“For us, we are trying to get going,” Nunn said. “We have got Wesmor and different schools that are taking this on. I was good information and I thought really interesting.

“It’s good for us to hear success stories,” he added. “We always hear the other side of the coin, but a success story is kind of nice and kind of upbeat.”

Rowden noted how much community support the program had.

Trustee and SSBA President Jaimie Smith-Windsor discussed the presentation on the National School Food Program.

“The school food program in the United States has been legislated since 1946 and it was really interesting to hear how that has evolved and what some of the missteps have been,” Smith-Windsor said.

Her takeaway from that presentation and one at a national conference was that local partnerships are important.

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