School board welcomes student trustee

The Rainy River District School Board announced Fort Frances High School student Steve Lovisa as its 2001-02 student trustee, replacing last year’s trustees Sharleen Hanson and Danielle Shrumm of Rainy River High School.
“Mr. Simpson asked me I’d like to do it,” Lovisa said before last night’s the regular meeting at the board office here.
“I thought it would be a good experience. And it would look good on a university application,” added the grade 12 student.
After being greeted by trustees and administration, including chair Gord McBride and Education Director Warren Hoshizaki, Lovisa declared his oath of allegiance to the board.
Hoshizaki said, on the recommendation of Hanson and Shrumm, that the board look into strengthening its relations with the student body, and suggested Lovisa stay on for two terms since the last trustees felt like they were just “getting their feet wet” by the June meeting.
Another idea that may be developed in the near future, noted Hoshizaki, was a student senate.
Also at last night’s meeting, one of two “Recognitions of Excellence” was awarded in the name of a new mentoring program where experienced teachers help new teachers with any problems they may encounter during the early years of their careers.
“We talked about it, and now its underway. We hope it’s going to have a positive impact on retaining teachers, and professional development in our system,” noted Hoshizaki.
Initial training for this program took place Aug. 20-21. Thirteen experienced teachers trained as mentors while 10 new ones were matched up with these trainees.
The second “Recognition” at last night’s meeting was given to the 2001 Summer Institute, a three-day workshop last month which saw 87 teaching staff and educational assistants learn more about balanced literacy.
“The stuff we ran over the summer was very popular,” noted Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood, adding 22 of those who attended were from outside the district and travelled from as far as Toronto.
Other business at last night’s meeting included:
•the approval of Policy #4.16 (Safe School Policy) for stakeholder consultation (the policy had to be revised to fall in line with the new Safe Schools Act and Ontario School Code of Conduct, as well as board policy and the Education Act).
While it’s implemented in district schools now, as per Ministry of Education guidelines, some changes may take place after consultation, including a simplified version of the comprehensive plan for easier reference;
•the September personnel report, which noted the appointment of 13 teachers, including Karen Wilde, Cindy Kaun, Carmen Williamson, Keira Main, Jodi Johnson, Char Ellwood, Kelli Seaward, Karen Woods, Cristol Bailey, Tamara Felix, Robert Murphy, Travis Meisner, and Jennifer Leishman.
The report also noted leave of absences for caretaker Martha Siemens, educational assistants Debbie Miller and Tammy Amstine, and teachers Sherri Allan, Bill Daley, Dianne Thompson, Pam Avis, Jimmy Keesic, and Betty Anne Coulter.
It also reported the resignations of teachers Elizabeth MacEachern, Aimee Steenburg, and Leona McGinnis;
•received the revised “Guidelines for Computing and Information Technology Facilities and Resources.”
The guidelines note increased security with the addition of “firewalls” to limit what Web sites can and can’t be accessed, and a change to computer-usage permission forms going out to parents of elementary students; and
•heard a report from Ellwood on the summer school which was held at district schools for two weeks in July.
This year saw about 60 students in grades seven-10 receive remedial instruction in the areas of math and language skills at locations in Rainy River, Fort Frances, Emo, and Atikokan.
With a revenue of $14,238 and an expenditure of $14,225, the board ended up staying in budget, with a balance of $13.