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Swan Valley School Division Meeting

The Swan Valley School Division (SVSD) board of trustees held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening (April 23). In attendance were Chair Kelli Riehl (by phone), Vice-Chair Laurie Evans, Trustees Donna Burghart, Sharla Haluschak, Kathy Highmoor, Vivian Rooks, William Schaffer and Gary Wowchuk.
Also in attendance were SVSD Secretary-Treasurer Brent Rausch and Superintendent Tim Mendel.
Trustee Brett Stephen was absent.
Travel Club
The SVRSS is looking to form a travel club with the first trip tentatively planned for New York City and area in 2019.
“Before spring break we started having some conversations with students on interest and there were about 29 that came out,” said SVRSS Principal Jacquie Mydynski-Arp. “When it came right down to commitment there was 12-13 students remaining.
“We geared the initial information to students going into Grade 11 and 12 only,” said SVRSS Guidance Counsellor Jennifer Simpson. “Then we opened it up to the Grade10 students as well. Now we have up to 20 students interested.”
The sole purpose of the trip would be to travel and gain education through activities and exposure with no exchange component to the program.
“I think the challenge with travel clubs with some boards have been around safety as well as issues with equity, where some students can go and some can’t, possibly creating a greater divide,” said Mendel.
“By spreading their trips out over a number of years it gives opportunity for students to earn and, well in advance, make financial arrangements.”
Simpson noted that some plans have been made for fundraising opportunities to offset costs as well as an insurance that does come with the trip where a cancellation with full reimbursement would happen in the event there is a safety concern.
Many of the trustees made statements of concern about both safety and affordability that echo those made by Mendel and suggestions were made that a trip like this not be done in the same year as a major band trip that is already planned and approved.
Further discussion on the topic was moved to in-camera.
Staffing Report
The SVSD has hired Jocelyn Bender to be the new principal of the Benito school, effective Sept. 4. In addition, Constantin Mouafo Pagoue was offered a permanent position as the SVRSS French Immersion Instructor and Tara Blosha received a term position at the ESRSS from Sept. 4 to June 28, 2019.
Leave of absences for the 2018-19 school term were requested from Heyes school teachers Suzanne Eisler and Shayla Nykolaishen as well as Benito teacher Shirley Hugill.
Also, effective Sept. 4, Birch River Principal Nicole Bobick will transfer to Taylor school as a teacher, and teachers Jennifer Allan Fuchs and Pam Bowles will relocate to ESRSS and Taylor schools, respectively.
Finally, Taylor School teacher Charlene Fothergill tendered her resignation effective Sept. 1.
Next Meeting
The Swan Valley School Division will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on May 14 at 7:30 p.m..