March 18, 2020 Board Meeting News

March 20th, 2020

Regional Office –

Replacement school for BCHS remains top priority for capital plan

The school board adopted their three-year capital plan, keeping Barrhead Composite High School (BCHS) as their top priority. In 2018, Alberta Education funded a Value Scoping Session to examine the implications of modernizing and right-sizing the school vs. building a replacement. Representatives from Alberta Education, Alberta Infrastructure, Pembina Hills, BCHS School Council, Town of Barrhead, County of Barrhead, Woodlands County, along with government consultants participated in the session.

The option that offers the best value is a replacement school, adjacent to Barrhead Elementary School. This option would include demolition of the southeast wing of Barrhead Elementary School.

We have had preliminary discussions with our municipalities and they have provided ‘in principle’ letters of support for potential or possible use of parts of the existing building—specifically the gymnasiums, cafeteria and surrounding area. Capital projects that involve partnerships are looked upon favorably by the province.

If the division receives approval from the province, further consultation with municipalities and the school community would take place to determine the feasibility of the project. Capital projects can take four years or longer, so we are still in the initial stages of this process.

Alberta Distance Learning Centre Update

On February 27, 2020 Pembina Hills was informed that our service agreement with Alberta Education to operate ADLC will conclude after a two-year period. Funding would be reduced to $14 million in 2020-2021 and $7 million in 2021-2022.

On March 13, 2020 MLA Glenn van Dijken visited ADLC to learn more about the valuable services it provides to schools across the province. Board Chair Jennifer Tuininga shared details of the visit, including these key messages:

  1. ADLC is not a distance education school; it is a provincial service that levels the playing field of access to distance education in the province.
  2. The course completion rate is a measure that is best considered in context.
  3. ADLC is a cost effective service that supports the government’s goals for Choice in Education and Red Tape Reduction.

In our effort to inform the province and the ministry of education on the value of ADLC as a provincial resource, division leaders will be holding subsequent meetings with the Deputy Minister and Minister of Education in the coming weeks.

In the midst of the current COVID-19 outbreak, jurisdictions across the province are accessing teacher resources from ADLC. These resources will help support teachers as they prepare for a different way of providing instruction to students.

Check out the board meeting agenda and minutes for more information.

The next school board meeting is at the Regional Office on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 starting at 9:00 a.m.