Teaching Life

Teaching Life

Teacher Mentorship The division provides a comprehensive mentorship program for new teachers. The program encompasses everything a beginning teacher needs to know to have a successful year - and in fact a successful career. Dealing with parents, students, curriculum, planning, report cards, and even financial planning are all covered in the course. Teachers are pulled out for four full-day sessions and work with experienced administrators, teachers and experts in the various areas.

Cohort Groups in Prairie Land currently consist of: division one, division two, math, science, social studies, physical education, CTS and language arts teams who are working together to collaborate and help determine the needs of each subject area. Teachers actively participate in their cohort groups not only during scheduled meetings and professional development days, but also throughout the entire school year as they share ideas and resources with one another. It is PLRD’s hope that the cohort groups continue to grow in the direction of becoming a strong, efficient, cohesive working team that is able to support one another throughout the entire year. One of the biggest obstacles we face being a remote-rural school division is the large distance between our schools. It is extremely important that we build a divisional support team for our teachers to eliminate the feeling of isolation and grow a feeling of collaboration and support in each subject area.

Technology is important in PLSD. In fact, we consider ourselves to be on the cutting edge of technology. Most of our schools are operating at a 1 to 1 (computer to student) ratio. Some schools have learning tables, 3d printers and robotics while every classroom in the division has either a SMART board or interactive projector to aid in instruction. Our bandwidth capabilities are at the top of all schools in Alberta. J.C.Charyk School in Hanna has acquired a CNC plasma cutting table, laser engraver/cutter, drones, robots, industry standard 3D printing equipment, a John Deere tractor with auto-steer technology and other cutting edge technology as part of their new Innovation Academy initiative.

Schools are kept in in the best conditions possible with modernization a regular occurrence across the division. The largest school in the division, J.C.Charyk Hanna School in Hanna has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, Delia has recently opened a new school and a new school has been announced for Morrin with ground being broke in 2021.

Leadership is important to the board and staff of Prairie Land. Many of our school administrators are “home grown”, having worked their ways up through the ranks in the division. The division offers leadership programs every two years which gives teachers the chance to build and develop their leadership skills for both school and staff leadership positions. These programs and initiatives have attracted teachers from other divisions, eager to build their skills and abilities in leadership. At one point, 70% of PLSD’s leadership roles have been filled from within the division.

Meaningful Professional Development PLSD is focused on maximizing the meaningfulness of the six dedicated professional development days throughout the school year. We have a professional development committee that works very hard as a collaborative to understand the needs of our teachers and subsequently find meaningful strategies to meet the identified needs. The new formatting of our divisional professional development days allows all teachers the opportunity to attend their cohort group lead by CRC and then use the rest of the day to choose from a variety of sessions that best meets their individual needs. Our professional development committee is determined to ensure that every dedicated district learning day will have a minimum number of sessions from three of our division's identified targets: teaching and learning, school and jurisdictional culture, and health and wellness. Providing a format where teachers have multiple choices of the type of professional development that they can attend to meet their individual needs appears to be a very effective model and PLSD will continue to work hard to provide meaningful options for every teacher in our division.

Distance can be a new experience for many teachers. Schools in the northern part of the division are a short drive from Wainwright, whereas schools in the south are nearer to Brooks and Drumheller. Major centers like Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer are in the vicinity of two hours from the southern schools. Edmonton is just over three hours from most of the northern schools.

School community is huge in PLSD. New teachers find that they become almost family to the rest of the staff. Most staffs are small in size, but big in heart, and beyond assigned mentors, teachers tend to develop a closeness with the remainder of the staff.