The Lloydminster Public School Division is well above the provinces 2020 education goals as they enter the new decade. The division had two focuses in the past year based on the provincial goals; increase literacy among younger students and increase graduation rates.
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education aims to have 80 per cent of students at or above their literacy grade level by June 2020. LPSD Director of Education Todd Robinson says the division’s literacy rates sit at 83.5 per cent.
“It’s well ahead of the province and we’re really proud of those results, our staff and especially our students and their effort in getting to that level.”
Another goal for the ministry is to have a graduation rate of 85 per cent for all students and 65 per cent for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students by June 2020. The LPSD has reached the goal of 85 per cent graduation rate in the division and a 74 per cent graduation rate for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students.
“We’ve done a lot of work and divested a lot of effort in trying to get as many kids to cross the stage as we can. Whether it takes three, four or five years at the end of the day what’s important is that kids experience success in high school and graduate with their diplomas.”
Robinson says they’ve seen a slip in enrolment this past year with 16 fewer students than the last school year. He says there was a smaller number of kindergarteners than they had expected and suspects the state of the economy may be a factor in the decrease.
LPSD is also looking into some ideas in helping students outside of the provincial plan that they will focus on in 2020. The division is taking more of a focus on student and staff wellness.
“It’s some tangible investments the board can make on helping kids and staff feel like they’re supported and well. We have a number of programs in our system that are focused on mental health and supports for kids and staff overall health.”
Some of the programs include focusing on the students’ natural strengths and developing them. Another is called Shine which teaches elementary school students how to deal with stress in their day-to-day lives.
Another possible change to the division is the introduction of a French immersion program to Barr Colony School. They have been taking feedback from the community for the past few months and the Board of Education will be making a decision at their meeting on January 22, 2020.
“We’ve gathered some interest from parents and that information will be going to the board this month. In January, the board will be making a decision on whether or not they wish to proceed with french immersion and if they so choose, the grade levels it will be offered in.”
When asked if there were worries of cuts to education with an upcoming Saskatchewan provincial election, Robinson says he’s not worried about cuts but is hoping to see more resources come to the division in the coming years.
“We’re in a tough period in regards to the resources we have and we’re going to have to do some work in terms of balancing and continuing to offer great programs for the families and students in our city but doing so with the dollars provided.”