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Horizon School Board Oct. 23 briefs

Posted on November 2, 2023 by Taber Times

By Heather Cameron
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The following are selected briefs from the Horizon School Board meeting that took place on Oct. 23.

Locally Developed Course – Book of Mormon Part A

Terri-Lynn Duncan, Associate Superintendent for Learner Services, stated that the Book of Mormon Part A Course is for second semester and is a course that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have used in seminary rotation and in second semester. A motion was made to approve the course and the motion was carried. 

First Reading of Policy HICA – On and Off-Site Activities

The school board discussed a substantial change to policy that stems out of a change from ARMIC, the insurance consortium that the Horizon School Board works with. ARMIC, the board said, has apparently redone their entire policy around off-campus experiences: the old policy, they said, used to colour code activities with green category activities requiring approval from principals, yellow category activities requiring approval from the superintendent, and red category activities not being covered by insurance at all. The board stated that as the years passed, the green category got smaller because ARMIC moved everything up to the yellow category and has actually removed both the green and yellow categories and kept the red. The board also discussed how there’s a shift to more conversation around what are the safety mechanisms you’re putting in place to mitigate the risk, because most of the time the activities are approved anyway. 

With that said, Superintendent Dr. Wilco Tymensen said the format has been modified so that a lot of the forms go to the principal. If, however, the students are leaving the jurisdiction, even when the principal is approving their requests, all those forms come his way so he can monitor and see where people are going. In terms of the distance limits and some of the location limits, Tymensen said, kindergarten can only have in province day trips, elementary schools are two nights within the province, junior high stay within Canada, and at the high school level, trips could go outside of Canada. The other change, Tymensen said, is that some of the forms are being amalgamated so it’s just one big document with everything. A motion was made to pass the first reading.

First Reading of Policy JHF – Welcoming, Caring, Respectful, Safe Learning Environment

A motion was made to approve the first reading of Policy JHF – Welcoming, Caring, Respectful, Safe Learning Environment. This policy, Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of Horizon School Division, said was a revisiting based on some feedback from the board and conversation that was had in the last year around the whole notion of safe and caring. Tymensen said that the board made some comments that they wished to address the policy with regard to bullying as well as the verbiage around zero tolerance. Tymsensen said that often the concern from parents is that when zero tolerance is referenced, the perspective is that bullying never takes place within schools. And, Tymensen stated, that bullying can’t necessarily be stopped, but Horizon School Division can commit to responding and working towards eliminating and reducing it. The rest of the policy, Tymensen said, remained the same. The motion to approve first reading was carried. 

Facilities Meeting Report – Bruce Francis 

Bruce Francis reported about a recent facility meeting to Horizon School Board and also shared photos of the progress on the Milk River School Modernization, stating that the project is facing a bit of delay because builders discovered when they did exposure at the foundation, that some of the foundation wasn’t in as good as shape as they initially thought, so they’re having to shore up reinforcement or redo some of it. Francis stated that other construction complications trigger change orders and any time there is a change order, the government has to be consulted for approval. Francis says that although the completion date was aimed at December 2024, they are now looking at possibly pushing that back. 

Francis also mentioned future projects: replacing the floors at L.T. Westlake Fine Arts Elementary School, Vauxhall Elementary School/ACE Place rooftop replacements, as well as air conditioning in Lomond Community School and Dr. Hamman School.

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