Tenders for J.W. Walker project are in

The Rainy River District School Board announced at its monthly meeting here Tuesday night that tenders for construction of the expansion to J.W. Walker School currently are being reviewed.
Trustees were told that three tenders were received on the construction project and that the board’s administration is reviewing those bids. At present, the recommendation is that the architect negotiate with the lowest bidder and then report back to the board.
Also last night, a presentation was made to trustees by Brian Love, principal of Crossroads School in Devlin, on its peer mediation program, which was awarded this month’s “Recognition of Excellence.”
He reported 24 students, two teachers, and two educational assistants make the program work.
“They are all exemplary students,” Love said. “Athletes, musicians, school council representatives.”
He noted those in the program are all good students with a strong academic standing because to be in the program, they sometimes have to miss classes and so must be able to make up for missed work on their own time.
He also explained to trustees that all mediators go through four half-days of training.
“They use a wide range of skills to help resolve student conflicts,” Love remarked. “It’s rare to have an unresolved mediation.”
The basis behind the peer mediation program is to “have students work out the solution themselves rather than having an imposed solution,” he explained. “A typical scenario might be an argument in the playground resulting in a confrontation.”
Trustees all were very impressed with the mediation students—some of whom were on hand at last night’s meeting to accept a certificate to display at the school.
Trustees also heard a report from chief financial officer Laura Mills updating them on the meeting between the board and town regarding the situation surrounding old Fort Frances High School.
As previously reported, Mills told trustees that both sides agreed to work together but at present, neither one had the money to progress. But she assured safety considerations regarding the abandoned building on First Street East were being dealt with on an ongoing basis.
During the report from the Occupational Health and Safety Committee last night, the question was asked if any measures being taken to protect local schools from the SARS outbreak.
Education Director Warren Hoshizaki said he had been contacted by the ministry regarding the situation and had three advisories to pass to teachers on SARS.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood told trustees the Special Education Advisory Committee was working with the Northwest Catholic District School Board on a program they’ve initiated to use a youth worker to deal with students who have special behavioral needs.
Hoshizaki also updated the board on how last week’s provincial budget would get broken down from an educational standpoint.
He saw some potential in receiving cash for rural renewal and believed the small amount the government put into transportation in December would need to be revamped.
He also stressed they are now beginning to plan for the coming year, taking into account a projected declining enrolment in both primary and secondary classes.
Board chair Gord McBride told trustees he attended one show of Fort High’s production of “Oklahoma!”
“It was really good,” he said. “To see the students in their colourful outfits, getting a standing ovation in front of a packed house, is nice.”
McBride also said contract negotiations with the board’s secondary school teachers are ongoing, with a new round of talks planned April 8-9.
The teachers are in the first phase of job action to back their contract demands.
(Fort Frances Times)