WRPS Division 1 candidates discuss class sizes in forum

WRPS Division 1 candidates discuss class sizes in forum

Rural schools, homework remain topical issues

Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools (WRPS) Subdivision 1 trustees were questioned on their positions regarding homework, effective class sizes and the future of rural schools during a recent candidates forum.

Incumbent Lynn Ware and new candidates Arnold Van Os and Cynthia McLachlan were all in attendance of the Sept. 27 forum, which was held at the Central Community Hall.

Ware has lived in the area for 22 years as a member of the farming community and has sat as a trustee for five years.

Her dedication to keeping the division’s rural schools open is what brought her to the board. Although, at the time, Rosebrier School could not be saved others still remain active. “Somehow we managed to redirect.”

When it comes to struggling budgets, Ware feels closing schools is picking the low hanging fruit and serves as a band-aid solution. “Eventually you’ll run out of schools to close.”

Ware also wants more accountability and transparency for the board of trustees.

Van Os has resided in the area for more than 18 years and runs an organic dairy farm with his family.

As a trustee candidate he presented three main areas of focus as his priorities.

“I think students need to be the central focus in our schools,” said Van Os. With Wetaskiwin’s diverse student population, Van Os feels the school division must work to meet all the students needs.

Van Os’s second and third areas of focus are accountability and transparency, and establishing a Christian school in Wetaskiwin. “I think that’s one of the needs of the community. There’s many others but that’s one of them.”

With two children now in high school, McLachlan has been involved in the WRPS community for many years.

“They’re my two favourite teachers,” said McLachlan. Being a parent, McLachlan says her children have kept her in a constant state of learning and knows that is the role of a trustees as well.

McLachlan feels it is the responsibility of the board to held provide students with a foundation of success, with a focus on streamlining classes and addressing student mental health challenges. “I would like to make a positive difference in the quality of education.”

McLachlan is also an active volunteer both in and out of the school community.

The first forum question addressed to the candidates was if they believed students should be given homework prior to Grade 6 and in later high school grades, as well as how it is appropriate for those whose days are made longer by lengthy rural bus routes.

Ware says she feels school hours are the best working hours for children, when they are most awake and active for learning. “I think that’s plenty of time to get work done.”

“There’s lots of time,” agreed candidate Van Os. However, he added some of the onus must be on the students to use their school hours effectively.

McLachlan feels some homework from schools is appropriate, so long as it consistent throughout a student’s school career and does not create a difficult transition into high school with a dramatically increased workload. “I believe kids should have some homework. I believe it instills a good work ethic.”

The candidates were also questioned on what they feel the future holds for rural schools.

Van Os says rural schools are not always the most cost effective but sometimes better meet the needs of the students by providing closer schools. He feels the division cannot close all its rural schools. “You close communities as you close schools.”

McLachlan agrees rural schools better meet student needs with shorter bus times and smaller class sizes. On the other hand, she says she sees families taking their children out of the communities to attend other schools. “A community is built around a school.”

Ware first got involved with WRPS five years ago when Rosebrier School and a number of other rural schools were threatened with closure. While Rosebrier could not be saved other schools were able to remain open. Rural schools are a passion of Ware’s. “I am here because of this very issue. I am for small schools.”

The third question candidates faced was what class size they felt provided the optimal learning environment for students. All three candidates agree that it is not a magic number that provides the best learning environment for students but classes that place students of the same academic level together to provide students with peer based learning at the same or similar pace.

Voting stations for Rural Electoral Subdivision 1 (county residents only) will be placed at: Malmo Mission Church, Angus Ridge Hall, Millet Agriplex, Central Community Hall, Vang Church and the County of Wetaskiwin administration office. Institutional voting will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Wetaskiwin Hospital.

Advanced vote dates for Subdivision 1 are: Oct. 5 and 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the County of Wetaskiwin administration office.

amelia.naismith@pipestoneflyer.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pipestone Flyer file photo
Nominations now open for 2021 general municipal election

Nominations for Wetaskiwin’s general municipal election are now open until Sept. 20, 2021.

Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
 Facebook/ Jocelyne Pepin Young
Millet Couple share their COVID project, Little Free Library, with the community

They took inspiration from others doing similar book shares around Millet and Wetaskiwin.

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision

Preliminary investigation revealed a south bound pickup truck collided with an eastbound car

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read