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New virtual school created to meet online learning demand

ElemOLC_news.jpgThe registration of 2,400 elementary students for online learning resulted in Saskatoon Public Schools creating the new Online Learning Centre Elementary school, trustees heard during the Sept. 22 Board of Education meeting.

A principal, vice principal, and 54 classroom teachers, along with additional teachers and support staff, are assigned to the new school, which is responsible for kindergarten to Grade 8 instruction of approximately 2,000 English-stream students. This is the first year Saskatoon Public Schools has offered online learning for elementary students.

The division's pre-existing Online Learning Centre Secondary, which has offered high school classes for more than two decades, has taken on the added responsibility of online instruction for approximately 400 French immersion students from kindergarten to Grade 8, along with more than 950 full-time high school students.

Planning for online learning as part of school reopening began in June and continued throughout the summer. A digital resource writing project saw 25 teachers develop kindergarten to Grade 9 resources. Professional learning in areas such as curriculum integration, online instruction, and management of Google Classroom prepared teachers for the start of the school year.

The board meeting also highlighted the work done by collegiates to ensure students were recognized during 2020 high school graduations. Initiatives included pre-recorded ceremonies, keepsakes for students, and COVID-safe walk-through events at the school. Examples are highlighted in the 2020 Graduation & Farewells video.

Reports and information presented at board meetings can be found at The next meeting of the Board of Education is Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.  Requirements that limit the size of public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean space for the public is limited. If you wish to attend a meeting, please call (306) 683-8200 prior to 4 p.m. of the meeting date.

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)9/30/2020 4:18 PM
School division, First Nation renew historic partnership supporting students

Signing1.jpgA renewed agreement between Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS), Whitecap Dakota First Nation (WDFN), and the Government of Canada will continue to support a historic education partnership agreement between the first nation and the school division.

The agreement signed Sept. 26 establishes a sustainable, predictable, and flexible funding model to support student learning and achievement for the next five years.

Through the partnership, Charles Red Hawk Elementary School is an alliance school with Saskatoon Public Schools – the first on-reserve school to be a part of a Saskatchewan school division. The partnership also enabled innovative investments by the federal government to support Chief Whitecap School in Saskatoon, becoming WDFN's designated school for its Grade 5-8 students.

signing3.jpg"At Saskatoon Public Schools, our vision is for every student to be known, valued and believed in," said SPS Board Chair Colleen MacPherson. "This vital partnership with Whitecap helps us achieve that vision. Students connect best to their learning when they see themselves in the lessons and in their school environment. This partnership allows us to build relationships with students at Charles Red Hawk School that continue at Chief Whitecap School and beyond."

The Whitecap Dakota First Nation Education Partnership Memorandum of Agreement was extended for another five years last September. First signed in 2014, the agreement recognizes and respects Whitecap's inherent jurisdiction over education of its members and continues the co-governance model previously created to oversee school operations. That agreement, together with the new Tripartite Agreement signed with the Government of Canada, provides WDFN and SPS with a sound funding model to support the goals of their education partnership.

signing5.jpg"Our partnership with SPS, combined with a new funding model under our tripartite agreement, is eliminating disparities in education," said Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation. "By combining the forces and resources of our partners and maintaining our First Nations control of education through our joint governance agreement, I am confident we are giving the best educational opportunity available for our children."

The education partnership supports the transition of Whitecap students to attend school in Saskatoon. Charles Red Hawk offers classes from prekindergarten through Grade 4, after which students are transported to Saskatoon to attend Chief Whitecap School and, subsequently, a public high school.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located approximately 26 km south of Saskatoon and has more than 500 residents living on- reserve, including Whitecap members, members of other First Nations, and non-status residents.

Saskatoon Public Schools is the largest school division in the province. The division operates 49 elementary schools, 10 secondary schools, one alliance school and one associate school. It serves more than 26,000 students and employs approximately 2,600 professional and support staff. 

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)9/29/2020 3:12 PM
Commitment of division staff creates successful return to school

thankyou_news.jpgIn the six months since schools were closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatoon Public Schools' staff have gone above and beyond to ensure the continuation of student learning and the operation of the school division during an unprecedented time.

As we looked ahead to a new school year, staff were dedicated to preparing our schools for the return of students and the goals of protecting the health and well-being of all; providing quality educational opportunities and instruction, whether in class or at home; and ensuring connections are maintained and strengthened with students and families.

On behalf of our colleagues and school communities, our administrative team shared a for the amazing work done by the division's entire staff to overcome the many challenges presented by the pandemic.

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)9/24/2020 4:27 PM
Nominations open for Board of Education trustee election

Election of trustees for the Saskatoon Board of Education will be part of the City of Saskatoon's local government election scheduled for Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. 

Saskatoon Public Schools is governed by a 10-person elected Board of Education. The school division is organized into 10 wards for purpose of elections but once elected the members of the Board of Education represent all students in the division.

Elected trustees are an integral part of education in Saskatchewan. Trustees have the responsibility to ensure that primary and secondary education put the needs of students first, making our schools, communities and our province stronger. The role of the trustee is to contribute to the Board as it carries out its mandate to achieve its mission and goals. The Board believes its ability to fulfill its obligations is enhanced when leadership and guidance are forthcoming from within its membership.

A candidate guide along with nomination forms for trustee election is available on the Saskatoon Public Schools website.

Completed nomination papers must be submitted to the civic election office located at 226 Cardinal Crescent, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nomination deadline is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. More information about the local government election including candidate guides, election nomination packages, and additional resources is available on the City of Saskatoon website

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)9/22/2020 8:46 AM
Deadline for transfer of students between online, in-person learning

SPS_425x325_OnlineLearningCentre.jpgIn order to maintain stability for student learning and staffing, Saskatoon Public Schools has established a deadline for transfers between in-school and online learning.

Current SPS families have until Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, to transfer between in-school and online learning. After this deadline, elementary students will not be able to transfer until Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. In order to transfer at that time, families will need to make a request before Dec. 18, 2020.   

Collegiate students can transition between face-to-face and online learning at the beginning of each new quint. The deadline to register for online Quint 2 collegiate classes is noon on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Quint 2 begins on Oct. 30 and Quint 3 begins on Jan. 4, 2021. 

Establishing these deadlines benefits students and staff alike. Students achieve their best when they have steadiness in their learning environment and classroom relationships. Classes offered face-to-face and online will be at different points in the curriculum and a transfer may disrupt the student's learning and have a negative impact on academic success.

Limiting transfers will also provide stability to class composition and staffing in schools and online learning. Class cohorts for in-school learning need to be protected for safety reasons and the movement of students in and out of the classroom does not support that goal.

If a family has extenuating circumstances after Sept. 24 (e.g. serious health issue, a change in access to technology or wi-fi), the family can speak to their principal about requesting a transfer to online or back to face-to-face learning. Requests will be reviewed by the division.

Students who are new to Saskatoon Public Schools can register at their school of choice or neighborhood school for in-person learning or through the Online Learning Centre (OLC) for online learning. 

Drabble, Rodney J. (Rod)9/21/2020 3:36 PM