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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Computer instruction in math to continue until June The computer is still alive and well at ihe Lakeview Elementary School in Lethbridge. An experimental project involving computer instruction in mathematics for Grade 3 students will continue for another four months at the Lakeview Elementary School, public school trustees decided Tuesday. The computer-instruction project was introduced in the school two years ago and the "results seemed to indicate that students did benefit in a tangible way District from instruction by this the public school director of curriculum informed trustees. Dr. George Bevan says the next four months will be used to investigate whether the computer- instruction is superior to teacher-directed classroom activities for developing computational skills. If it is found that the computer is the most efficient of the two methods then computer-instruction will be expanded to include all Grade 3 and 4 students and will be budgeted for until the end of the 1976 spring semester. If the teacher-directed classroom activities are found to be superior, the experimental project will be terminated in June. The two methods of instruction in mathematics will involve 120 Grade 3 students and two teachers. The students will be divided into four groups, all matched according to ability in mathematics. The project budget for the spring semester is If the computer project is continued next fall, a budget is projected for its operation during the next two years. Elma Groves, principal of the school, says the school finds the costs relatively high and isn't prepared to continue with it without confirmation that the computer-instruction is more effective than teacher programs. The program is funded by the province's educational opportunities fund so it must meet the approval of the department of education. The Lethbridge Herald Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, January 91974 Pages 13-20 Schools will have to decide what the accept- able minimum require- ment for every student is to be at a specific point in time. School skills will be ensured By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer Lethbridge public schools will guarantee parents that their children will be able to accomplish certain educational skills within a specific amount of time. This will happen in Lethbridge by Sept., 1975, if the new superintendent of schools has his way. Dr. Robert Plaxton replaced Dr. O. P. Larson on Jan. 1 as superintendent and participated in a local school board meeting Tuesday for the first time as chief administrator. Students in the public system like most school systems can now advance from grade to grade even if they have fail- ed to learn certain skills. The overall grade standing of the students could be better than average, but still they may not have mastered certain educational skills. For example, the student could do well in most subjects but fail to obtain an ade- quate understanding of mathematics or language. To be able to guarantee that a child has accomplished certain skills, the public schools will first have to decide what its acceptable minimum requirement for every student is to be at a specific point in time, Dr. Plaxton said in an interview. 4 checkpoints He proposes that the school system es- tablish four check-points in the 12-grade system. One check point would be at the end of the student's third year of education while the other three would follow the sixth, ninth and 12th grades. In order for all students to gain certain educational skills at a specific grade level, some students will require more in- dividualized instruction and will have to spend more time developing their skills, Dr. Plaxton points out. To be able to provide this additional instruction and study time, each grade will have to become more flexible. "We must broaden the students' scope of study by letting them study in other areas of interest to them." When a student has accomplished the acceptable minimum prior to the es- tablished checkpoint, he or she would then be allowed to do more in-depth study in one particular subject or begin taking op- tion courses such as painting or art. Improve weakness If a student accomplished most of the acceptable minimum skills, but was weak in one particular skill, most of the student's time would then be used to im- prove the weaker skill, Dr. Plaxton ex- plains. He says the school system may have to establish a different program with different objectives for students who tend to be Weak in all skills. He estimates those students only repre- sent about 10 to 15 per cent of the total stu- dent population. There are three problems with this Dr. Kobfrl Ion system that must be watched very closely. First, care must be taken to ensure the acceptable minimum requirements don't become the maximum requirements. Second, students must continue to learn "the great many things that are not measureable. "We must not forget to con- tinue to develop the incidental learning now being taught in the schools." He was referring to such things as learn- ing how to get along with other students, good study habits and respect for property and the rights of others. Simply stated Third, the system has to be careful not to overload teachers with paper work. The minimum requirements must be simply stated so the teacher doesn't have to be involved in time-consuming data, he explains. He claims the proposed check-point system can't be realized without the sup- port of the school board and the teachers. The school board will be examining it very closely over the next three months. And some teachers have been practicing for a few years what he is now proposing, Dr. Plaxton says. The problem has been that they each had their own system and standards for their particular grade and parents were never sure what skills their children should have acquired at any given level in the grade system. He says the check-point system depends on the co-operation of the teachers because "no management system can pre- sent a valid educational system" without the assistance of the teachers. Best teachers However, he did say the public schools need to put an increased emphasis on the selection of the very best people they can find as teachers. The public school system also needs to spend more time teaching teachers, he feels. The public system has to spend "more time and money on keeping teachers current." He believes the practical aspects of teaching are better taught after a teacher is actually teaching rather than during teacher training. In the interview, Dr. Plaxton also said public schools will have to continually look at their product over the next few years to make sure it meets community expec- tations. He calls the process "excellence through planning." Dr. Plaxton points out that he is not downgrading the local public schools by suggesting they take a look at their product. In fact, he feels it is "one of the finest school systems in North America" that consists of dedicated teachers and a solid administration. "But that doesn't mean it can't be im- proved." Hitching to safety These doomsday prophets from Winnipeg Dennis Wade left, and John Tower used a relatively warm day Tuesday to hitch- hike through Lethbridge en route to Calgary. The young men handed passers-by pamphlets with information on the great comet warning. Their information predicted the destruction of the (United States) Jan. 31. It was published by the Children of God Trust 1973. School board briefs Trustees will offer land to city Lethbridge public school trustees indicated Tuesday that they would sell a 13-acre parcel of land in Southeast Lakeview to the city if they received "fair market value" for it. But they reserved final deci- sion on the matter until they could discuss it further in a closed meeting following Tuesday's school board meeting. Trustees did agree during the open meeting to open negotiations with the city for the purpose of selling the land. The school board was also asked to approve a proposed subdivision for the Lakeview area that designates the school board property as playground and park area. The Herald learned that during the closed meeting one trustee was particularly concerned that the school board may jeopardize its bargaining position if it approved the proposal for its land to be designated as park area. The argument was that the value of park land would not be as great as land designated for private development. The school board purchased the land as a future school site for in 1961. Student population and future projections for student population in the area have eliminated the land as a possi- ble site for a new school. The trustees indicated Tues- day they want to hear public and teacher reaction to their decision to abolish the strap and all other forms of cor- poral punishment in all city public schools. The executive of the Senator Buchanan Home and School Association informed the Board delays decision on closure for Games Closure of schools during the 1975 Canada Winter Games would help fulfil the need for additional transpor- tation and a large number of volunteers during the games, a Winter Games delegation told Lethbridge public school trustees Tuesday. School closure would free school buses to be used to transport athletes, allow students and teachers the op- portunity to work as volunteers and also free school children to become spectators at the various Winter Games events, suggested Charles Virtue, a County, CUPE reach agreement A contract agreement has been reached between the County of Lethbridge and Canadian Union of Public Employees, reeve Dick Papworth said today. All points that couldn't be settled at two previous meetings were settled at a third meeting Tuesday, Mr. Papworth Mid. The county and CUPE negotiation committees will lecuiiiiiieiMl the contract be accepted, Mr. Papworth said. The county negotiation com- mittee will make the recommendation to a county of Lethbridge meeting today and the CUPE negotiation committee will make the outside workers, employed by the county, sometime next week Mr. Papworth says he thinks the county and UK rest of the CUPE outside workers will accept the contract as it now stands. A 35-cent an hour across- the-board increase was accepted, Mr. Papworth says. CUPE members were originally asking for a an hour increase. CUPE had a one-year contract with the county which expired Dec. 31. The wage increase will be retroac- tive to Jan. 1. The county will continue to pay CUPE workers for travelling time to and from the job on county time but to travel from the job on their own time. Overtime was discussed at Tuesday's meeting but nothing was put in the new contract concerning it. The county wanted the oil crew which does do seasonable work, in hot weather, to work more overtime. member of the delegation. He said volunteers will be needed to operate the games and "we're desperate- ly counting on people like teachers to volunteer." The trustees delayed deci- sion on school closure until further study can be com- pleted on whether all schools should close and on how the lost classroom time can be made up. Trustees Bill Brown and Reg Turner questioned whether it was really necessary to close elementary schools because the students going to them certainly couldn't be used as volunteers and may not even be interested in being spectators at the games. Mr. Turner suggested the Winter Games may be of good educational content for the youngsters, but he wondered how many students would at- tend the events and for how many days. Dr. George Bevan, director of curriculum, suggested the schools might well dose for 10 school days rather than the nine days requested by the Winter Games Committee. The Winter will operate from Feb. 11 to Feb. 22 so will occupy only nine school days. But since Feb. 11 is a Tuesday, Dr. Bevan said it is likely student and teacher volunteers would also be need- ed on Monday, Feb. 10, to prepare for the games Robert Plaxton, superintendent, told the trustees his office has done some study on school closure for the Winter Games and found it is possible to arrange the school year to make up for the classroom time lost during the Winter Games. Trial set in theft case A 23-year-old Lethbridge man pleaded not guilty Tues- day to a charge of auto theft and was remanded to Jan. 17 for trial. It is alleged that Charles Holtom stole a car from Fleming Motors Nov. 24. He was arrested Dec. S in Las Vegas, Nev., by American police and flown to Los Angeles for a deportation hearing before being brought to Lethbridge to face the auto theft charge. school board Tuesday that it wants the strap back in that school. Reacting to those who op- posed the school board's deci- sion to abolish corporal punishment, trustee Doug McPherson said "he was amazed at the emotional flak something like this creates." He said some people would have been opposed to any deci- sion the board made on cor- poral punishment. "We would have been called barbarians if we would have decided to hang on to the strap." Dr. McPherson said he would be interested to know how cfter. the strap was used in the Senator Buchanan School during the past year. Robert Plaxton, superintendent, corrected a statement made in a December school board meeting that indicated the strap was used only six times in the public school system last year He said it actually has been used one or two times in each of six schools. Other sources have told The Herald that school statistics do not necessarily represent the number of times the strap was actually used last year One teacher strapped six students herself last year, The Herald was told. Students attending the Lakeview Elementary School will start and end their school day earlier this year, trustees decided unanimously Tuesday. School will now start at a.m. and close at 3 p.m. The teachers will use the ex- tra time at the end of the day for staff meetings, to provide extra help for students, to hold in-service meetings and to prepare and plan instruction for the next day. The students will now start school 15 minutes earlier, no longer have a 15-minute recess in the afternoon and finish their school day a half- hour sooner. The federal government in- formed Tuesday that their school system will not receive funds under the Local Initiatives Program for the rest of this school year. The public schools were granted LIP funds for the employment of teacher aides the last two years, but this year LIP co-ordinators decided that "other applications received from your area more closely meet the needs of your com- munity." In a letter to the school board, LIP co-ordinators in- dicated that all the funds it allocated to this area have already been committed Teacher aides will now have to be sponsored through provincial government special program funds or local school board finances. Trustees accepted with regret the resignation of Wayne Ternff as principal of Winston Churchill High School. Mr. Terriff will now assume the position of superintendent of schools in Hanna in February His resignation is effective Jan 30. Power report delay sought City council will likely be asked to consider a motion Monday that the CH2M Hill report be tabled and a public meeting held on th'e power plant issue. The consultants may also be asked back to attend the meeting to answer questions from the public on their report. The report itself will be dis- cussed publicly for the first time by council at Monday's regular council meeting and among other things the amount of Calgary Power's offer for the city's power plant will be revealed. Mayor Andy Anderson said Tuesday the report is a good one but council may want to explore other specific avenues open to it and the issue could take considerable time to resolve. v'Ucvi ;