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High school to get second parking lot

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Despite only being open for a week and a day, complaints about a lack of parking space at the new Fort Frances High School already has prompted the Rainy River District School Board to take action.

Murray Quinn, superintendent of plant operations and maintenance for the board, told trustees at last night’s board meeting that additional parking space would be located to the east of the building.

“There’s been a little bit of a parking problem but we will deal with that by producing another parking area for students and staff,” he said. “As well, we’ll be sure to add signage to designate a fire lane, just in case.”

Quinn was unable to speculate on how much the additional parking spaces would cost but noted it should be done by the end of the month.

Additional “deficiencies” with the facility to be sorted out in the near future include a few shower heads, minor plumbing leaks, and some re-painting in the hallways and gym area.

In other news, FFHS principal Terry Ellwood outlined plans for the high school’s grand opening, which tentatively is slated for Oct. 13 at 4 p.m.

The board will send invitations to various dignitaries, including local MPP Howard Hampton, Premier Mike Harris, and other political figures.

< *c>Goals agenda

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Education Improvement Commission’s review here in late April, the public school board has developed a system goals agenda for the year ahead to help implement the EIC’s recommendations.

The “blueprint” will consist of a communication plan, increased involvement of school councils, a facilities and pupil accommodation review, and the development of an overall strategic plan.

The communication plan will involve consultation with partners, staff, and schools councils, followed by the formation and implementation of a formal policy.

The involvement of school councils will start with a district-wide meeting, as well as a model for communication and a process for input so the councils can be in on the board’s decision-making.

The facilities and pupil accommodation review will culminate in an overall plan for the board, including long-term maintenance of facilities and how student enrolment will impact future budget management.

The development of a strategic plan, including a mission statement, visions, beliefs, and possible improvements will be key in the board’s near future.

Director of Education Warren Hoshizaki also stated his goals for the next year, including:

•strengthening partnerships with various federations, unions, and councils;

•creating a model for input and decision-making with staff, councils, and the community; and

•assisting with a plan to improve the board office.

Betty Ann LaRocque, assistant superintendent of education, also resolved to:

•support and assist principals in their role as the instructional leader in the school;

•facilitate the operation of program support teams;

•develop a review process for Central Library; and

•develop a comprehensive system curriculum plan.

< *c>Saluting excellence

Also at last night’s meeting, the Recognition of Excellence went to Nancy Fretter, principal at Donald Young School, and Walter Rogoza, the board’s math, science, and technology program co-ordinator, for their organization of “Summer Institute 1999.”

The series of workshops, held here Aug. 23-24, were meant to bring teachers from the local public and Catholic boards, as well as from the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, “up to speed” on changes resulting from the new curriculum.

“Teachers said that they needed more information on the new curriculum. That they needed time to talk, to learn,” remarked Fretter.

“During the workshops, they discussed the different strategies for assessment, and it was fun and informative,” she added.

“Teachers want to be professional in the classroom but it’s not always easy. A workshop like this really excited teachers,” echoed Rogoza.

Fretter mentioned the more than 60 participants would meet again sometime in November to review how their evaluative skills were working in the classroom.

In a final piece of business, the board was pleased to receive correspondence from the Ministry of Education stating it will receive a $6,000 grant to fund six tutors in the next school year.

The grant will cover half the salary and benefits of eligible post-secondary students, with the other half being picked up by the board.

The tutors, which will help out in elementary or secondary classrooms as needed, have yet to hired and their allocations have yet to be determined.

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