Transition to one school board smoother than anticipated: chair

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Milton Peach is the first chairman of the new Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. He was in Corner Brook on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2013 holding sessions with school councils.

Following what he described as a smooth transition to one school board last fall, Milton Peach said the regional boundaries are starting to fade in the province.

The chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board was in Corner Brook Tuesday to meet with members of school councils throughout the region. It is part of the cross-province meetings to get input and feedback on the development of a new strategic plan for the new school board.

Peach said September’s transition to the one board — which included the elimination of many regional staffing positions and the four previous boards — was even smoother than anticipated.

“I think all of us were anticipating some bugs that would be in the system,” he said. “The first day of school opened, then the first week, and how would all of this work?

“We have a tremendous dedicated group of teachers and support staff in the schools throughout the province, who really did come together. Couple that along with the new school board administrative people themselves and I think it is fair to say we regionalized that as best we could.”

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As Peach meets with school council representatives throughout the province, the majority of which who would be parents, he said they also have the same sentiment toward the transition.

He said the strategic plan consultation, and engaging people throughout the province, is providing a sense of togetherness. It also shows the board and association is seeking input from everybody and listening.

As for the strategic plan, Peach said it is hoped to be established by March or April. It will be put together by staff, reviewed by the board, and approved by government.

He said each of the boards had comprehensive and well put together plans and the new one will have many of those common themes. He expects the focus will remain on student achievement, evaluation and safe and caring schools.

He said population declines throughout the province continue to be a major challenge, and a priority of the board. Like the redevelopment of the Corner Brook K-12 school system, he expects there will be a lot of restructuring throughout the province in the years to come. There are many aging facilities, which have to be redeveloped, according to the chair.

In Corner Brook, he said the September opening of the new junior high school is on target — albeit a tight one. Following that, he expects the plan to bring the elementary system to three schools will follow through as planned.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board, Corner Brook K-12 school

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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