FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - One of the Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD)
Board‘s responsibilities is the annual approval of the school calendar as per ‘Policy 18, School Cal-
endar’. The development of our calendar must align with the requirements under the School Act and
recognize that maximizing student learning is always the primary goal of the board – ‘what is best for
our students’. We also understand that the well-being of our staff, students and families, play a very
important role in accomplishing this. The division has had two formal calendar surveys in the last few
years: one in 2006, and one in 2013. Since then, our Board and leadership teams have been actively
engaged in frequent conversations about matters that are important to the Grande Yellowhead’s family
of staff, students and families. In addition, GYPSD’s board is always looking for innovative and reflec-
tive strategies that assist our students’ in meeting their academic goals, pursue opportunities that sup-
port our students’, our staff’s, and our families’ health and well-being, and ultimately align with our core
value of ‘one vision, one team’. Our suggestion: ‘Let’s #TrySomethingNew’!
Why Not Another Survey First?
We discussed another survey but then we asked ourselves ‘are we going to continuously solicit feed-
back from our stakeholders on a current practice without affording them the opportunity to experience a
different one firsthand for comparison?’ We sincerely believe that offering our stakeholders an opportu-
nity to try a pilot calendar will result in additional feedback further to what we have received in the past,
as well as negating some past concerns.
Our Three Major Goals for a New Pilot Calendar
1. We sought out new and innovative strategies that promote a more successful academic outcome
for our students, and that offers a more balanced work and home life throughout the school year: ways
that while recognizing less fatigue/stress in our staff’s and students’ mental health and well-being. Many
other school jurisdictions, as well as post-secondary institutions, across Alberta and Canada, have
implemented a one-week fall break, in addition to a one-week spring break, with great success for all
• Minimizing fatigue and mid semester burnout for both staff and students, especially for
younger learners, and
• Affording a mental rest for the staff and students in the first semester as well as the
second that also provides a more flexible schedule for valuable family time.
2. We heard from our stakeholders who want one calendar across the division for all schools, aligning
with our core value of ‘one vision, one team.’
3. One hour early dismissal ‘Friday’s’ were not optimum periods for staff in designing strategic and
collaborative professional learning practices to improve instruction and assessment for students’
maximum growth. These times were also sometimes problematic for families’ schedules.
We will collectively be rolling up our sleeves and delving into the strategic opportunities that the
new pilot offers. By working together, we can identify and meet head-on, some of the opportunities
and challenges that we may see coming on the horizon over the coming months.
We will also encourage and welcome everyone’s suggestions and solutions by actively collect-
ing stakeholder input through multiple communications tools including the use of online surveys
throughout the pilot year. All the results will be made public so that we can all hear what is working
or not through a transparent process. Your valuable input helps us to continually enhance the di-
vision’s future calendars, going forward.
*To view the pilot calendar approved at today’s Public Board Meeting for the 2018-2019 school
year only, please visit our website at http://bit.ly/2Hhzo7H.
The Board of Trustees of Grande Yellowhead Public School Division always encourage our stake-
holders to share their voice on all decisions made by the board. Some ideas for how you can
reach out to your local trustee include talking to them at school council meetings, community
events, attending public board meetings, or by contacting them personally. We always need your
voice to keep our division moving forward in the right direction, on the right path!