For the first time ever, the Flin Flon School Division (FFSD) will hold its own Pride week later this month.
A measure confirming the event was approved by school board trustees at their May 28 meeting. The division will hold the event during the last week of classes this year on June 24-28.
The Pride week will begin with a flag raising at Ruth Betts Community School June 24 – the first time a FFSD facility has officially flown Pride flags on school properties.
“We will be flying the pride flags at all the schools. We will be having a flag raising ceremony here to sort of recognize and inaugurate that effort,” said board chair Leslie Fernandes.
FFSD members and students have taken part in and helped organize Flin Flon Pride events in both 2017 and 2018, but the division has never formally held a Pride week before this month.
“The Pride parade is in August and we have participated in the parade, but we are now having a week during the school year dedicated towards it,” said superintendent Constance McLeese.
Details of a report sent to the provincial commission for an ongoing review of K-12 education were released to the public.
The 15-page report details the board’s suggestions for new provincial practices and mentions some of the programs brought into FFSD schools, including the Kindervention program for pre-K students, school nutrition programs and the division’s hockey academy program, as examples of successful education initiatives.
The report also comes with seven recommendations from the board to the province, including aligning provincial testing, report cards and curriculum, encouraging critical thinking in the classroom, increasing communication and align goals between the provincial ministry, school boards, schools and individual teachers and providing supports for smaller governance units across Manitoba.
“We believe that smaller educational governance units can respond more nimbly to the educational needs of Manitoba students and educational workers,” states Fernandes in an introductory letter included with the report.
The report was discussed with provincial officials from the K-12 review and the Department of Education last month. McLeese and board vice-president Amy Sapergia Green presented the report on behalf of the board.
School board trustees recognized a long-time Flin Flon educator whose bid for a provincial post came up just short.
Bea Walker, currently a teacher at Many Faces Education Centre and a long serving member of the Flin Flon Teachers’ Association, ran for election to be president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), the union that represents thousands of Manitoba public school teachers. Walker would have been the first Flin Flon teacher to hold the post.
Last month, Walker finished second in the voting to James Bedford from the Louis Riel Teachers’ Association in Winnipeg.
Regardless of the result, trustees commended Walker for her effort.
“She’s another indication of the caliber and depth of leadership that you have here - a relatively small school division, having somebody potentially be the head and coming very close,” McLeese said.
“While she did not win her seat, we’re very proud of her dedication and commitment to the profession and thank her for her effort,” said Fernandes.
Trustees discussed a recent trip by Ruth Betts students to Manito Ahbee, an annual festival in Winnipeg celebrating Indigenous culture, music, dance and art.
The trip was organized by Ruth Betts teacher Anna Bourcier. About 10 students headed to Winnipeg for the festival, which included sessions meant to encourage cultural enrichment and promote learning of Indigenous heritage.
“They learned about the different styles of powwow dance and dresses from award-winning dancers from both Canada and the US during Youth Education Day at the University of Winnipeg,” said Fernandes.
“The students were enthralled by the sheer amount of dancers present and enjoyed some traditional foods during the event. To finish off the trip, they brought them to the Forks where they were able to have some cool experiences before heading back to Flin Flon.”