A school program which started in Slave Lake won the 2020 School Board Innovation and Excellence Award.
Beyond the Classroom program provides targeted support for students who need extra help, says a Living Waters Separate Catholic School Board media release. “Our curricular approach blends functional academics, daily living, personal/social, and occupational skills into integrated lessons designed to help students learn to function independently in society.”
The program started in Slave Lake and spread throughout the region covered by the school board. It has schools in Slave Lake, Edson, and Whitecourt. There are two Living Waters’ schools in Slave Lake. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy (Grade 7 to 12) and St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School (Kindergarten to Grade 6).
“We have 13 students in the program at St. Francis,” says Living Waters’ superintendent, Jo-Anne Lanctot. “At St. Mary of the Lake, numbers of students needing the program are small, therefore the program is more individualized and not run as a full program. Our staff and students are excited both about the award and the program.”
In Whitecourt, there are 32 students in the program between the two schools, says the media release. Students take some classes with their peers, and work in smaller classes for other subjects. Teachers, school psychologists, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists are all involved.
In the media release, Dana Kentner, board chair, says: “The board is blessed and grateful to the staff who work with our students in Beyond the Classroom every day ensuring that all our students will have the opportunity to create a better tomorrow by knowing themselves, God and the world.”
The award is given out by the Alberta School Boards Association and is sponsored by Xerox.
“The award celebrates the value of trusteeship and recognizes the contributions school boards make to the quality of children’s learning experiences in Alberta,” says the Alberta School Board Association application form. “Alberta school boards are constantly devising ways to meet local education needs with programs that: improve academic achievement; serve diverse populations; maintain quality in the face of population changes; and build bridges among parents, the community and other organizations that serve children.”