It looks like another busy year ahead at DVSS as teachers and administration begin preparing for the coming school year.
Principal Curtis LaPierre is looking forward to the year. While the job can be challenging, it comes with its rewards.
“I think overall it is positive, it’s optimistic, it is an opportunity to engage in a positive way and support youth and keep moving forward. To me, that is the passion,” he said.
There have been some new additions to the staff at DVSS. Principal LaPierre tells the Mail they have added Jake Stadlwiser. He will be teaching primarily Building Construction and Industrial Arts. He will also be teaching CALM.
In January, the school welcomed Robyn Yaremcio from Stettler to teach primarily Junior High Math.
Christine Burfield will be taking on a larger role at the school, filling a maternity leave, and teaching senior high school math.
He says last year was a difficult year for staffing, finding teachers as well as substitutes.
“Hopefully, this year is much smoother,” he said.
He adds enrollment continues to be strong. He said they finished out the year with about 460 students, and this year they are on track to have between 460-480 students.
They are expecting about 68 international students in the dormitory, as well as about a dozen homestays. This has rebounded and is up a little bit over last year.
Mr. Hamm will be introducing Psychology 20 and 30 at the school this year.
“Psychology has always been very popular, but it has been an online module, so we’re giving it a go with an in-class scenario,” said LaPierre. “I think it is relevant now just because of the students’ mindset and social media. With general media and social media, you have a very negative bias, and it has a huge impact in terms of students and their mental health… It gives them the opportunity to have conversations around issues associated with mental health.”
DVSS will continue with its Powerful Learning Initiative.
“That is everything from strategic instruction, authentic engagement, connecting and contributing, which ultimately leads to deep understanding,” explains LaPierre.
He is also excited to have a full-time family resource worker. Richele Horachek a former DVSS graduate will be taking on the full-time role.
“With a degree in Social Work with aspects in terms of support in terms of students and families that she can do, that as teachers we can’t,” said LaPierre. “The coordination of services in regards to outside organizations, whether that be Child and Family Services, or Mental Health Services, and the daily support in terms of LGBTQ2S scenarios, she supports as well. And the overall mental health of teenagers today.”