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LCSD reflects on first half of school year

In a year of constant change, LCSD’s Director of Education says the division is prepared to adapt for whatever comes in the rest of the school year.

Nigel McCarthy says looking back at the year he notes the whole city and people across both provinces had to change and adapt to the new way of living in the pandemic. But along with those changes, the division stuck to their main goal of providing the best education they can under the circumstances.

“When society has to adjust schools have to determine what they can do and how we can be a part of teaching and educating young people that’s going to help us all going through this time.”

In the initial wave of the pandemic in the spring, division staff and teachers worked alongside the province to create a modified online learning experience to ensure students were still getting their education. Since then, students have been able to head back to in-person classes with students in K to 9 attending everyday and high school students every other day.

Students will be following the same guidelines in the second half of the school year, however should things change McCarthy says the work has been done to prepare for the possibility of moving all classes online.

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“We’re going to distribute computers. Our teachers have worked to make sure there is a week of study on their Google classrooms ahead of time. That’s been universal across the school division, so when small groups of students have to move online or when Holy Rosary is on every second day of education, there’s predictability on those days where students aren’t able to attend.”

Outside of the classroom and day-to-day education, the division will be keeping busy in 2021 with the high school expansion. McCarthy says designers and contractors are expected to be signed onto the project by the end of January. He adds there will likely be more consultation with students and families in the coming months to ensure the designs meet the current and future needs of students.

Looking at the consultation process, McCarthy says it and the ideas that have come from it have been highlights of the year.

“A new set of labs for science, the idea of an expanded art space and how to make that functional as a gallery space either in virtual or hands-on sorts of ways – just the creativity that has come out of the consultation process with students and staff has been the most exciting part of the process thus far.”

McCarthy hopes to see shovels in the ground in 2021 as the project aims for a completion date in 2022. LCSD will also be working with LPSD and the city to build a new seamless levy agreement. The agreement was put into place in 2012 and city staff are hoping to add more transparency and public accounting on where taxpayers money is being spent in the new agreement. McCarthy says they are looking for the same things and the three parties will work together to create a new agreement that benefits all.

“The great work between our trustees and the city will continue in the year to come and we’ll work hard to meet the common goals that we have for our students and the programs that we’re able to offer here in the city universally on both sides of the border.”

Connecting graduates with their futures in post-secondary or the workforce continues to remain a goal for the division. Due to the restrictions, McCarthy says they haven’t been able to get their alumni in to share their journey with expecting graduates.

“We’re doing our best to make sure through our supports at Holy Rosary that our students are applying and getting registered. We’re trying our best to keep in touch with our alumni.”

McCarthy says even with so much work in the next year, from January to June, teachers and staff will put their students’ safety and education first.

“There will be moments when change happens, but we’re hopeful that as we move into the spring things are going to get better and we’ll be able to do more and more with our kids. We look forward to graduating the class of 2021 in new ways as well.”

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