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Principal David Isherwood and Grade 9 students have something in common – they both had their first day at Sir Winston Churchill High School Wednesday.
Isherwood worked as vice-principal at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute before he took on the new role at Churchill. Like many new students, he toured the building trying to learn where classes were. He said he even went around with Grade 9 students just so he could familiarize himself with his new environment.
“I’m totally excited to be here,” Isherwood said. “It’s always a challenge to get to know a thousand kids and 90 or so staff but everyone has been very welcoming. It’s a really positive school and everything has been great so far.”
Isherwood said his first year would be to get a sense of the history of the school and learn the strengths in order to set goals with the staff. Students achieve remains the main objective but he said he wanted to know which students who were thriving and who needed more help.
Catherine Siemieniuk, director of education for the Lakehead Public School Board, said she considered September to be an exciting month because both students and teachers are refreshed and recharged from the summer break.
During budget discussions a few months ago, the public board expected a decline in enrollment this year. Siemieniuk said they wouldn’t have the exact enrollment number for elementary and high school student until after October.
“We’re hearing from lots of schools that they have additional students enrolled so we need to make sure we work with our schools to ensure we have the staff compliments to support students that are there,” Siemieniuk said.
But the public board wasn’t the only one to show a decline in enrollment.
Joan Powell, director of education for the Catholic School Board, said they expected that they will have a decline of about two per cent or about 200 students.
Powell said September is the month when everyone in the Catholic board meets to form a strategy for the coming year. Having a direction is important to make sure students have the best opportunities for success, she said.
“It’s really important to know where we are going early so we can get up and rolling,” Powell said. “We’re going to really analyze last year’s data and dig deeper to see what strategies to move forward on especially for kids who are struggling or aren’t as successful as the others.”
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