Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
-Friday, Augutl 11, 1972 THE LETHBP.IDGE HERALD _ 13 Lois of room For the public in school board room. School board meetings are open to the public If you arc interested in finding out what goes on in the schools, a good place lo start looking is at the regular meetings of your school board. The public board meets the sec- ond and fourth Tuesday of every monlh during the school year and (he separate board holds ils meet- ings on the first Wednesday of the month. Yet while all meetings are open 1o the public, it is extremely rare when anyone comes to a board meeting lo simply sit in and find find out what is taking place why certain courses are or arc nol offered, why a new school will or will nol be built, why more or few- er teachers arc needed. The wheels that make the educa- tional machinery turn are needed. The wheels that make the educa- tional machinery turn are oiled, Creased and repaired at these meetings, and they arc worthwhile attending. In regard lo public attendance, the separate hoard has a heller record than the public board. Citizens can involve themselves directly by making presentations (with prior arrangements) lo their respective school officials during Hie regular meetings and, special meetings have even been called to hear the views of the taxpayer on certain matters. Anyone wishing to appear before cither board has the riant to do so as long as the board receives no- lice several days in advance. This is required because Hie agenda is prepared well before Ihe actual board meeling is held. Delegations are also welcome and, although wrilten submissions are preferred, they are not neces- sary. However, advance notice is also appreciated in this case. 'Hie public board office is locat- ed at 433 15lli St. S. with the meet- ings starling at p.m. The sep- arate board meets at 0th Avc. and Jfllli St. S., also al p.m. Innovation popular in separate schools Most schools in the Lelhbridgc separate school district have been edging into innovative educational programs for several years, and this year perhaps the most inno- vative due to enrolment changes will be St. Mary's and St. Pat- rick's Schools. At .St. Mary's, for the first time this year all Grade 7 students in the city will be collected together. In the past, they were at several different elementary schools. The first result has been to in- crease St. Mary's enrolment by 85 students, to 470 students. The school will also have 19.5 teachers. But with all of the city's Grade 7 separate school students gathered into one place, many changes in their education pattern are likely to he undertaken. The school has just completed a addition and renovation job, which among other things has provided a six-room-equivalcnt open area classroom, a two-room open area and a junior high school science room. St. Mary's principal Jim Joevcn- said the school can now intro- duce a learn-as-you-go, non-graded education program for its students, concentrating in the open area. While at first not all courses may he non-graded, each student will he given the opportunity to help to de- velop his own education plan. Mr. Joevenazzo said it will prob- ably be two or three years before the new system can be honestly evaluated, since it will lake that long for teachers and students to become sufficiently familiar with it. It will provide a permissive at- mosphere for the students, but limits for their activities and free- doms will be established by the teachers. The focus will be on learning, not on teaching, and the system calls for lise of teacher aides to assist regular teachers in routine and bookkeeping activities. The St. Mary's staff has been holding meetings to devise objec- tives for their new program, with Hie help of a parents advisory council. Grades 3 to 6 will participate in the open area this year, with other grades in the regular classrooms. 'Hie school district's opportunity room will also be at SI. Mary's, and in the open area. It is hoped lo pro- vide the class with sufficient indiv- idual attention that many extra goals may be realized by ils stu- dents. The opportunity students will ho included in regular classroom ac- tivities. At St. Patrick's, there has been somewhat of a decrease in enrol- ment. In the past it has had Grado 7 students, but they have all been moved to St. Mary's now. The school will have about 150 students and principal Gary Mahoney says that since sonio grades do not have large enough enrolments to make up full class- rooms, some mixed-grade rooms will be operated. "What we do in the way of in- novative programs will depend on the Mr. Mahoney said, "but we'll definitely be trying some new things in language arts." The mixed grades and mixed ago groups will also encourage teach- ers to try new approaches, and the school's "buddy system" will like- ly be expanded. The buddy system provides the oportunity for older students to help younger ones, in studies and other school activities. Students will also be assisting more in certain school activities in- cluding operation of the library, since it is unlikely the school will have a regular librarian's service due to its small enrolment. "We'll have a media centred school this year, and since we've- taken out a wall to add a class- room area to our library space, we'll have more flexibility this Mr Mahoney said. Wally Ruff, principal at St. Ba- sil's, said the school will be indiv- idualizing its educational programs as much as possible in language arts and mathematics. Some non-grading will also be started, he said, "to try not to put all the kids into a pigeonholed pat- tern." i At St. Paul's, teachers hope to have a "learning says principal John Aberle. The non- graded program will start this fall, involving eight teachers. Students will be grouped in in- structional levels according lo their performance, with small numbers of students at each level. project fund available The Lcthbridge public school board recently established a 000 special fund lo provide assis- tance lo schools in developing new programs. The fund was set up because existing school budgets can't han- dle the extra burden of new pro- grams, even though the programs may be extremely valuable. Projects may be proposed by in- dividual teachers, groups of teach- ers or an entire staff. If the board approves the project, it will pro- vide up to 80 per cent of the finan- cing. The school has to come up with the remainder of the money, either by dipping into ils own bud- get or through special fund-raising activities. So far, the board lias approved six projects, costing Winston Churchill High School for a Management by Objec- lives program; Allan Watson Elementary .School for a special reading pro- gram; Lethbridge Collegiate Tnslihite lo incorporate the audio- visuals technique in the social stud- ies program; Lakeview Elementary School for a mathematics program involving the use of computers; Hamilton Junior High School for an audio-visuals approach to social studies instruction; Westminster Elementary School for a non grading pro- grain in language arts. The Lakeview project has al- ready been completed, while the Hamilton and Westminster pro- jects arc now under way. The other three schools will start their pro- grams this fall and will continue for periods of one to four years. The provincial government has played a major role in the (inane- ing of programs already completed or under way, through its innovip live projects fund which was dis- banded this spring. Reports on the projects go lo the school board for consideration in its system-wide policies and pro- crams.