Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/9/2012 (3305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Kids throughout Manitoba are texting their BFFs in uncontrollable excitement -- OMG, this is the school year that we get uniform report cards throughout the province, LOL!
Um, maybe that's not enough inducement to get thrilled about going back to school this week?
How about the prospect of finally having standardized in-service and professional development days within a school division, so your parents don't have to scramble for child care when one kid is home and the older sib is in school?
No again? That doesn't have you enthusiastically hitting the 'like' button?
Alas, school, when most across Manitoba open today, will be pretty much the same as it was in June.
Yes, this is the start of implementing the capping of kindergarten to Grade 3 students at 20 kids per classroom by 2017, but there won't be a lot of signs of all of that happening this soon.
Today is the first day of 196 days of school, of which 186 are supposed to be instructional.
However, almost all the public schools in Manitoba take today as an in-service for teachers. Only Frontier School Division holds classes today.
The majority of schools hold the first class Wednesday, and 11 school divisions wait until Thursday to start classes.
City school divisions say many of their school classes already meet the class-size standards, and they're phasing in the rest as they receive provincial money over the next five years.
"We should be meeting, or very close to meeting, the class size in kindergarten this year," Seven Oaks superintendent Brian O'Leary said. "Using the provincial money, we established five additional kindergarten classes."
Said Louis Riel superintendent Terry Borys: "We are striving to have all kindergarten classes at 20 or fewer students this September. We will continue to meet the cap requirements for Grades 1, 2, and 3 in the years ahead. While some schools will be able to meet those caps at the current time, that is not the case in all of our schools. Sometimes, this has to do with overcrowding at a school."
St. James-Assiniboia received $122,000 from the province this year to hire two additional teachers. "There's not that many of our classes we'll have to adjust overall," said superintendent Ron Weston, who figures the division will need six more teachers to cap class sizes.
"We're only about 35 per cent of the way to achieving the planned-for five-year result," Pembina Trails superintendent Lawrence Lussier said. There will be two new classrooms opened this year to cap Grades 1 and 3 class sizes.
Meanwhile, the city said it is waiting for the province to pass legislation establishing reduced speeds in school zones, after which the city will start putting up traffic signs around about 200 elementary schools in Winnipeg.
New stuff this year?
O'Leary said the bursting Seven Oaks schools have nine new portable classrooms, and the new adult learning centre that was moved out of the crammed Maples Collegiate is being built on Jefferson Avenue, just west of McPhillips Street.
Kids, check out your new windows at École Viscount Alexander.
Lussier said phase two of major work at École Viscount Alexander is completed, featuring new windows and facia, and the foundation has been shored up. "There's significant structural renewal that's happened," he said.
Oak Park High School has a new elevator, and the old library at Shaftesbury High is now a life skills centre.
Big things are happening behind the high schools in St. James-Assiniboia: "All of our high school tracks and soccer fields have been done -- upgraded and re-asphalted. The football field at Sturgeon (Heights) has been totally redone," Weston said.
An aide to Education Minister Nancy Allan said students will see work progressing this year on new gymnasiums for École Communautaire St. Georges, Lord Nelson School, École Bonaventure and Queenston School, as well as a new fitness room at Dakota Collegiate, a gym expansion at École St. Avila, new fitness facilities at Fort Richmond Collegiate and gym change rooms at École Howden and Nordale School.
If you're already counting the days to your next major vacation, the winter break runs Dec. 22 to Jan. 6.
Spring vacation, the provincial department of education's preferred term for March break, is March 25 to 29, though who's kidding whom, the chances of that week looking like spring aren't all that great -- unless you head south.
And the last day of school varies from division to division, but none runs later than June 28.
New uniform for report cards
EVERY public school in Manitoba must use the new uniform report cards during the 2013-2014 school year, but can choose to introduce them this school year.
This year, the department of education says, Brandon, Mystery Lake, Park West, St. James-Assiniboia, and Turtle Mountain school divisions have all decided to wait until next year to introduce the cards in their schools.
Winnipeg School Division says 27 of its 77 schools will use the uniform report cards this year.
Need more information?
You can find what's happening in your division at www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/schools/schooldiv.html .