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Principal appointed for Myrtle Philip school

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School Board awaits results of district review

Myrtle Philip has a new principal.

But while his appointment may be new his face is a familiar one.

"I was asked at this point if I wanted to go to Spring Creek or, since I started at Myrtle Philip, if I wanted to stay here," said Ron Albertin.

"It was a tough choice, a really tough choice, but I thought I’d like to stay on here."

Albertin has been principal at Myrtle Philip for the last year. The original plan was that he would be the principal of the new elementary school at Spring Creek and a new principal would then be appointed to Myrtle Philip.

But when it came down to the final days of the decision Albertin decided to take the position at Myrtle Philip.

The Howe Sound School Board’s announcement of the new principal for Spring Creek Wednesday came to late for Pique publication deadlines.

Albertin is excited about the future at Myrtle Philip.

"I enjoy the whole atmosphere here," he said.

"It has a very good teaching staff, good student body and very supportive parents."

In making the decision he wrestled with the draw of the excitement of opening and moulding a new school while working with a staff, student and parent cohort he had come to respect and enjoy a great deal.

Next year Albertin said he will be focusing on keeping Myrtle Philip organized, as it is likely the school will host classes and staff for both elementary schools until Spring Creek opens.

Contractors building Spring Creek hope to be done by August. But school officials, while hoping for the best, are preparing for the worst. Plans to run both schools out of Myrtle Philip are being put in place, as it is likely the new school will not open on time.

"I think next year the focus is really going to be to re-develop our school culture at Myrtle Philip," said Albertin.

"Myrtle Philip will be changing a great deal as well. Things that you are used to seeing here won’t be here. Half the staff and half the students won’t be here so we have to redefine ourselves.

"And the Francophone program will be moving to Spring Creek so there will be a lot of changes."

At press time it wasn’t clear yet whether the Grade 7s would stay at the high school or move back to the two elementary schools.

At a recent school board meeting it had been decided that the Grade 7s would stay at the high school until Spring Creek opens, but that open-ended solution is hindering planning at both the elementary schools and the high school.

The board was to re-visit the issue on Wednesday.

The next Parent Advisory Council meeting for Myrtle Philip will be April 15 at the school.

Meanwhile the school board is awaiting the official word from the provincial government about how the district review went.

Superintendent Dr. Linda Rossler, while cautious, felt it went well overall.

At the last minute the review team asked to visit 10 schools instead of the original five, but every visit went smoothly.

"One of the people on the review team who went to several schools stated that people said they loved their jobs and they loved to come to work everyday and she was so impressed with that," said Rossler.

The district was commended for several things said Rossler, including communication strategies, which use Web sites at local schools including Myrtle Philip.

"They recognized that in the district we had some promising practices that should be shared with the rest of the province," said Rossler.

Also praised were the meetings set up on reserve between parents and teachers.

On March 12 the school board also formally adopted three goals for the district. The review commended that but added that work still needed to be done around keeping the goals simple and few and making sure they tie in with goals set by schools.

The goals are:

• To improve student achievement for all students by developing talents and overcoming barriers to learning.

• Develop responsible citizens with career and life skills needed for being successful in society.

• Establish a result-based education system to ensure quality service and stakeholder support.

The board is continuing to gather information on the Blackwater Creek School. On April 23 the board will make a decision on whether the school will remain open.

Some of the criteria used to make that decision include considering the quality of education offered, the school population trends and predictions, program offerings in adjoining schools, school capacity in adjoining schools, distance students will have to travel if the school were closed and the impact of maintaining the school on all students in the district.

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