By Amelia Naismith
Four Lacombe Kindergarten to Grade 9 schools will be allocated one additional Professional Development (PD) Day as Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) board is allowing them to reduce their number of instructional hours by 5.5. After deliberation, trustees will allow Lacombe Upper Elementary, J.S. McCormick, Lacombe Jr. High and Terrace Ridge to reduce instructional hours to 969.5 for a one-year trial.
“I think it would be easy to explain to them they are in a unique situation and we will give it to them on a trial basis,” said Trustee Lorrie Jess.
Jess also felt the request was slightly irrelevant because in the fall of 2014 the province is reducing instructional hours to 907, province wide. Trustee Bob Huff wants the school to provide a report at the end of the trial on how having an additional PD Day positively supported the school.
Trustee Karin Engen didn’t feel the reports or supporting the request was the best course of action. “I think having a school out there running differently from the rest of our schools is inconsistent.”
Due to some busing schedules of Wolf Creek’s rural schools they have many more PD Days than schools in Lacombe. Outlying schools such as Bluffton, which only goes to Grade 9, due to busing, have longer days by approximately 20 minutes, said secretary-treasurer Joe Henderson.
“It’s just a differential. When you have to get kids to two schools and they’re a distance apart one has to start earlier.”
Trustee Barb Walker said if the reduction affected the entire division the numbers would still be uneven, since every school would gain an additional day.