Students engage with Education Minister as he makes a Red Deer stop
Students and staff at two Red Deer Public schools showcased their learning as Minister Education David Eggen made a visit on Thursday.
Eggen toured two schools including Joseph Welsh Elementary and Hunting Hills High School.
At Joseph Welsh, Eggen toured a sensory room as well as literacy and technology classrooms, which benefited from funds through the Classroom Improvement Fund.
The government recently announced that $77 million would be allocated to the Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF), which Red Deer Public will receive $1.28 million of.
“I’m very impressed (with what I saw). The Classroom Improvement Fund was negotiated with the collective agreement and teachers and school boards came together to see what they could do on the ground and make learning better for kids,” said Eggen. “I’m impressed with how there is a strong sense of communication between the teachers on the ground and with administration supporting that. We’re continuing with the Classroom Improvement Fund and I’m asking people to focus on teachers and support staff in the classroom.”
He added the Alberta Government is committed to a strong investment in education at every level.
As enrolments continue to increase, a priority for Red Deer Public is securing an increase in per pupil funding - something that has remained at the same level for the past seven years. When asked about a potential increase in per pupil funding, Eggen said there are a number of factors that come into play.
“I’m open to always making a strong investment for education, we advocate for our schools like crazy and I’m looking at all possibilities for the next year because we can see it growing and flourishing and that’s what we want.”
“A strong early start for children is absolutely essential. What we saw with the remedial reading program (at Joseph Welsh) is exactly what you need,” he said. “You catch students when they are seven, eight, nine-years-old and you bring them up to grade level, they will prosper in junior high and senior high.”
At Hunting Hills, Mr. Eggen visited a number of Career and Technology Studies classes including a construction and medical studies classroom. He also engaged with students in a question and answer period.
During his visit, the 10th annual Market Day was held where students showcased their student-run businesses.
“This place vibrates with energy. They are having their Market Day where they are using their money, learning about economics and eating ice cream and selling Churros. It’s just amazing,” Eggen said. “You can tell almost instantly when you go into a school that’s well run and has dedicated staff. This place is so solid, you can just tell straight away. You can see that the kids are engaged, they’re interested. I saw them in the classroom, had an interaction with them, they were asking questions - it was a blast! It was a really great time.”
Bev Manning, Board Chair, said it’s always nice to have the Minister of Education and local MLAs visit our schools.
“The minister took the time to talk to students, teachers and staff at both Joseph Welsh Elementary and Hunting Hills High School. He had a chance to see first hand how Red Deer Public Schools is using the Classroom Improvement Fund,” she said. “We were given an opportunity to showcase the impressive work our teachers do on a daily basis to support student learning in all areas of the curriculum, and how the CIF dollars have been put to great use. It’s important for the minister and the government to see the great things that are happening in a Red Deer Public Schools on behalf of students.”