February 22nd, 2024

Year in Review: From politics to the classroom, a lot happened in local education in 2023

By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 28, 2023.

Unisha, a Grade 3 student at George Davidson, stands in a giant singing bowl while Danielle Levesque gives her a sound bath. The photo is from the school's inaugural Diversity Day on May 3. Unisha wore a dress from Nepal that her auntie made. The singing bowls were provided by Nirvana 101.--NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON

reporter@medicinehatnews.com

A review of 2023 happenings in Education:

January

– ATA holds roundtable discussions across province as part of the Stand for Education campaign with one in Medicine Hat.

– Blue Imp donates 20 Be Kind benches to schools in Medicine Hat and region.

– MHCBE decides to start next school year early to accommodate for longer November break.

February

– MHC awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Grant for the first time for social change research.

– Alberta government now requiring post-secondary institutions to report annually on efforts to protect free speech.

– Praxis Science Outreach Society forced to cut back programs due to lack of funds.

March

– MHC announces new automation program in partnership with JBS Canada.

– Cathy Hogg takes leave of absence as chair of the board of trustees for PRPS and becomes NDP nominee for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

– Hat High renames gym the Boris Grisonich Athletic Centre after longtime basketball coach.

– MHPSD partners with Our Collective Journey to focus on addiction and mental health for middle and high schools.

– MHC education students share Costa Rican experience with students from Elm Street and River Heights schools.

– Science fairs return to schools across city and are enthusiastically attended by community.

– Grade 9 students from Roy Wilson host successful Young Entrepreneur Program Market at Hat High.

– PRPS receives design funding for Redcliff school and MHCBE receives design funding for a new school.

– Province expands school transportation funding.

April

– A paramedic training session at MHC receives surprise visit from HALO Air Ambulance.

– MHC welcomes new Brooks board member, Ebenezer Sakyi Asare, a pharmacist and owner of two Shopper’s Drug Marts.

– Grade 9 mathletes from St. Mary’s attend an advanced competition in Waterloo, ON.

– South East Regional Skills Competition returns to Medicine Hat. Grade 12 students at Crescent Heights, Garrett Hanson and Asher Davey, receive first place in automotive category and go on to compete in provincial competition in Edmonton.

– Agriculture Discovery Centre receives $10,384 from Nutrien Ag, which completes its fundraising goal to buy a TRAD worm composting system.

– MHPSD hosts a special community meeting in collaboration with MHCBE and PRPS, mental health community partners and the Brandon Niwa Legacy Fund to discuss community support and coping skills in the face of loss and self-harm.

May

– Adapt Mobility donates medical equipment to service dog and canine studies management program at MHC to assist with training the first cohort of dogs.

– George Davidson School hosts first diversity day.

– MHC holds first STEM for a day with local high school students taking part to learn about post-secondary education options.

– Grades 4 and 10 MHPSD students take part in KisKihkeyimowin, share good teachings.

– Medicine Hat and District Retired Teachers Association celebrate 50 years.

– PRPS South Alberta Flight Academy is awarded collegiate status by Alberta Education.

– Past students and teachers gathered for a George P. Vanier School reunion organized by Brydon Marchand.

June

– MHPSD adds routes for elementary and high school students in Redcliff.

– Katie Albers of Southview Community School is the winner of the Southeastern Zone 6 Edwin Parr award.

– Medicine Hat Christian School lowers fees to increase accessibility to school.

– Bob Wanner receives honorary degree from MHC.

– Deputy superintendent of MHPSD Lyle Cunningham retires after 43 years of service.

– Deputy superintendent Chuck Hellman retires from MHCBE after 35 years of service.

July

– MHPSD’s fully booked My Place and Hug programs helps keep kids connected through the summer.

August

-MHCBE hires 18 new teachers.

– PRPS struggles to find teachers for some rural schools.

– Irvine School Agriculture Discovery Centre receives a visit from Premier Danielle Smith.

– PRPS ratifies new agreement with teachers.

September

– HALO Emergency Services Schools Day returns for the first time since 2019 with members of the Royal Canadian Airforce 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron parachuting in supplies and men near the end of the morning.

– NDP education critic Rakhi Pancholi holds roundtable talk in Medicine Hat.

– All three school divisions, MHC, the library and the Esplanade honour Truth and Reconciliation week with speakers, cultural events and teachings.

October

– PRPS new South Alberta Fire Rescue Academy off to strong start.

– MHCBE approves motion to build a new K-9 school.

– Crestwood School holds first of six exhibitions of learning.

– Jocelyn Encinas of Ralston School is one of 50 teachers across Canada to be awarded the 2023 Prime Minister Award for Excellence.

November

– First Indigenous winner of Miss World Canada visits several public schools in city.

Notre Dame Academy creates partnership to deliver Community Helpers Program with certification to all Grade 7-9 students.

– MHPSD host first student voice engagement day.

December

– All three school divisions receive clean financial audits and show improvements in annual education reports.

– Safer substance use pamphlets distributed by SafeLink Alberta at the Medicine Hat High School Wellness Fair are quickly pulled. Premier Danielle Smith tweeted funding to SafeLink would be reviewed and MHPSD is redoubling efforts to ensure outside agencies understand the need for caution, respect and sound judgement.

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