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Summer programs given thumbs up

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Even though school may have been out for the summer, the Rainy River District School Board last night saluted students and teachers alike for continuing their education over the break.

“Summer Institute 2000,” a four-day workshop last month aimed at honing teachers’ math skills, was awarded the board’s “Recognition of Education” after Walter Rogoza, math and sciences program co-ordinator, gave an encouraging presentation.

“A lot of our teachers are competent,” Walter Rogoza, the board’s math and sciences program co-ordinator, told trustees at last night’s regular meeting.

“But after the four days, a lot of teachers said, ‘You know, I thought I was a really good teacher but this showed me I could do a lot better,’” he said.

“And that is a really exciting thing to hear. They became enthusiastic about trying all these new ideas out in the classroom,” added Rogoza.

Meanwhile, Donna Kowalchuk, program services co-ordinator, lauded the benefits of an educational support personnel workshop held Aug. 28.

It saw staff from the local public and Catholic school boards, as well as various First Nations, learn about diverse topics like non-violent crisis intervention, diabetes, and communication and autism.

“These programs are just a little bit of the formal part of professional development,” noted Education Director Warren Hoshizaki. “It’s important to remember they’re not the only thing teachers have done to prepare for the new year during the summer.”

Meanwhile, superintendent Terry Ellwood last night reported on the success of the summer school held for grade seven/eight students in July.

Offered at Riverview, Donald Young, Robert Moore, and Atikokan High School, some 58 students--35 males and 23 females--participated in the school, which was aimed at bringing students whose achievement levels in language and math was below “level three” up to par before advancing to grade eight or nine.

A deficit of $500-$1,000 was projected even before the school began and its four teachers (Shane Bliss, Cheryl Williams, Lee Anne Maraj, and Karen Wilde) were hired, said Laura Mills, the board’s chief financial officer.

“But we were able to keep students in the classroom, which is where you can really lose the grant money [if students don’t attend class],” she noted.

And Ellwood said not only is it likely summer school will be held next year, and extended to grade nine students, it possibly will be offered to grade 10 students switching from the applied to academic “streams.”

The 21 students who took summer school in 1999 also were tracked for success rate after entering grade nine. They had a 92 percent success rate, completing 150 credits out of 164 attempted courses.

Also last night, the board welcomed Sharleen Hanson of RRHS, one of its new student trustees for the 2000-01 school year (the other new student trustee, Colin Saj of RRHS, could not make the meeting).

The board’s next meeting is slated Tuesday, Oct. 3 here.

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