KIDS who love school should be delighted today -- this is just about as long a school year as it's possible to have.
Thanks to Labour Day falling on Sept. 1, and June 30 being a weekday, the school year will be 197 days long.
Only a leap year could have made it longer.
There's really no systemic headliners this year, no new province-wide report cards or Bill 18 or mandatory grades 11 and 12 phys-ed credits, but there are still changes in our schools:
-- You'll see 30-kilometre-per-hour speed-limit signs around elementary schools in the city. And drivers, don't ask if the police will have radar traps out, just drive -- always -- as though it's in everyone's best interests and as though you have a kid or two walking to that school.
-- Education Minister James Allum said he'll make major announcements during the next two months about the province's goal of providing students with the academic and skills training necessary to find good jobs in Manitoba. "Stay tuned. There's more to come on the quality agenda. We want to be sure students are being prepared with the appropriate job skills."
-- More school divisions are using property taxes to introduce full-day kindergarten, including Wellington, John M. King, Strathcona and Norquay schools, in Winnipeg School Division; and Ralph Maybank School in Pembina Trails School Division, where superintendent Ted Fransen said trustees added Ralph Maybank after seeing success with full-day kindergarten at Westgrove School. "There's no question that the students at Westgrove are more engaged at school," Fransen said.
- In Louis Riel School Division, there's been an unusual trade, a straight up one-for-one with no draft choices involved. âcole Marie-Gaboury and Hastings School have switched buildings. Not without controversy and considerable squabbling did LRSD move the overcapacity French-immersion program into the larger and largely empty building at the other end of the playing field, with the much-smaller English stream moving into the smaller building.
- Seven Oaks division is gearing up for the opening of Amber Trails School in January, said superintendent Brian O'Leary: "It is staffed, enrolled and using portables and school libraries at four schools (Leila North, Arthur Wright, James Nisbet and Constable Finney) until it opens."
- The province's smallest public school -- Reynolds Community School in Sunrise division -- has finally closed. No student has registered to attend Prawda's four-classroom school, which dropped to seven kids last year.
- Maples Collegiate is getting a 20,000-square-foot student commons that will serve as cafeteria, study hall, theatre and multi-purpose space. It will be completed in November and will be named after the late Judy Silver, a trustee for more than 25 years
- Brandon School Division has delayed implementation of its scent-free policy to January, to allow for consultation in November, said school board chairman Mark Sefton. Brandon was aiming to stop teens from immersing themselves in Axe before going to school, but encountered cultural issues relating to the practice of smudging.