The sun has set on summer holidays as thousands of children from across the region find themselves back in the classroom today (Sept. 1) for another year of learning and fun.

According to Duane Hauk, director of education for the Northwest School Division, the 2022-23 school year is expected to be an exciting one for no other reason than the fact it’s starting off as normal as can be.

“We’re very excited because we’re starting a regular school year,” Hauk said, noting how disruptive the last two school years were because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I believe this is exiting for everybody. I’m looking forward to the students coming back, staff is excited about the classroom activity that will be going on, and, obviously, there will be many extracurricular opportunities for students. It should be a great year.”

This year, the NWSD is starting its academic year with no COVID-19 restrictions in place.

“I know people didn’t like using the term ‘normal’, so we’re calling it a regular school year – one we are used to,” he added.

In terms of goals for the coming year, Hauk said the NWSD’s strategic plan follows the provincial education plan.

“The plan remains the same this year,” he said. “We’ll be focusing on reading and writing, which is our core business, along with a focus on mental health and well-being – making sure we’re looking after the best interests of our students in all facets.”

A new provincial education plan will also be developed this year.

“There will be some changes to the plan for next year,” Hauk added.

In terms of staffing, Hauk said several new teachers have joined the division this fall.

“We had a meeting last Thursday to welcome our new teachers – either those who are new to their career or to our school division,” he noted. “Our learning coaches work very closely with our new people to give them as much support as possible so they can be successful, are welcomed into our communities and so they can have a great start to the school year.”

In closing, Hauk reiterated how excited he is for the months ahead.

“We’re really looking forward to the school year,” he said. “As I always mention to our staff, the neat thing about our sector is we get a fresh start every year. Things that perhaps we hope we could have done better we get another shot at this year.”

by Phil Ambroziak