CORNER BROOK When students return to class next week, Darren Pike said they’ll be oblivious to the fact that there’s a new school district.
“From a school perspective when students show up on Wednesday they will be occupied with the normal things that they’re occupied (with),” said Pike, CEO and director of education for the new Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. “‘Where’s my friends, and who’s new, and who’s in my class and who’s my teacher?’”
Pike said the consolidation of the four English-speaking boards into one is really about back office functions. “And the goal that we’re working on is to support schools in the same way as we’ve always supported them and to fall back to our normal position as being invisible to the public.”
He said the public contact will be the schools, the principals and the teachers, with the board offering a presence as needed to help deal with any issues that may arise.
The head office will be based in St. John’s and district offices will be maintained for each of the former boards. The western district office will be headed up by assistant director George Keeping.
As far as other positions at the western office, Pike said all but one of the rehires has been completed with the final position close to being filled.
A few weeks ago the board issued layoffs to staff impacted by the consolidation process, with 42 notices going to Western School District employees.
Pike said there is still some bumping occurring within the system as those and other affected employees pursue opportunities within the province.
“People are weighing their options and seeing where their future is.”
As the new district starts the year it’s also introducing new ways of communicating with people. On Friday, the district launched a new website, www.nlesd.ca. The site provides quick access to pages that list all the schools in the district along with frontline contact information. Links on those information pages will take visitors to individual school profiles. The main page also features a rolling school status information section that can be customized by visitors to the site.
The board also launched a Twitter account on Friday, @nlesdca.