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Board Chair Column: Wolf Creek Public Schools looks back on success and student growth over the past school year

When we take a look back, be it as students or staff, parents or our overall school communities, there is no doubt highlights and accomplishments spring to mind. Our Board and school division is no different when taking a moment to reflect on the school year that was.

We are proud to see a continuous trend of growth for our students, and passion for our schools. These improvements in student achievement and overall student, staff and parent satisfaction are measured through Alberta Education's Annual Education Results Report. WCPS saw a continued increase in the 2017-2018 academic results in 17 subjects in the Standard of Excellence, and in the Standard of Acceptable in 15 subjects. Additionally, eight out of 16 measure areas showed improvement from the previous year, with achievement data from the grade 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Exams and Grade 12 diploma exams showing improvements in all four categories of students achieving acceptable standard and standard of excellence.

These results also coincide with targeted areas of focus for the division. That includes an ongoing commitment to ensuring all schools are safe, welcoming and caring through a district-wide health and wellness focus. We are also focused on maintaining a very high level of support for diverse learners through 144 educational assistants, School Social Workers in every school, coaching support for students and staff, and accessing community services to meet student needs. There is ongoing training in such areas as Traumatic Events Systems, which allows key school and district staff to respond to crisis situations to support our students and staff.

WCPS has also recorded improvements in high school completion, and expanding pathways to trades-based careers remains a strong focus through dual credit partnerships with Red Deer College in welding, agricultural equipment technician and automotive technician programs. These programs are a gateway to post-secondary, building student maturity and preparation for the skills they will require following high school, while giving them experience and credit towards a college trade. It is a very successful and expanding program with tremendous partnerships.

We are also proud to see increased success for our First Nations, Métis and Inuit students across Wolf Creek, with the addition of a full-time Learning Supports Coach while three elders provide cultural teachings to ensure all students and staff gain foundational knowledge. Our Board is committed to reconciliation, and part of that is the strong professional development opportunities provided for trustees, district office and school-based staff regarding Indigenous students, culture and history.

Our Division continued to strengthen its partnership with educational authorities in China, as WCPS hosted 15 students from Guangzhou, China in three schools in Blackfalds and Lacombe from February to June, while 24 grades 9 to 12 students from seven WCPS schools travel to Guangzhou in March. It is a tremendous partnership between the Division and the Education Bureaus in China focused on an extremely valuable experience for the students, and we commend our administration and staff for their commitment to fostering such opportunities for students.

Each day there are stories of success and achievement across WCPS, as a Board we support, applaud and congratulate our students, and are proud of the staff, division-wide, who play such a crucial role for students.

To our students, staff, parents and our Wolf Creek communities, thank you for all you do and have a great summer!

   Pamela Hansen is Board Chair of Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS). WCPS Board of Trustees consists of six trustees representing the communities and rural areas of Alix, Bentley, Blackfalds, Bluffton, Clive, Eckville, Lacombe, Ponoka, and Rimbey. Serving approximately 7,300 students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, WCPS employs approximately 412 teachers and 350 support staff in 30 schools, including five colony schools, throughout the Division.

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