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Deputy Education Minister visits ESD high schools

By Juliet Kadzviti/The Interlake Spectator

Bramwell Strain (right) the province’s deputy education minister, hears from an educator about some of ACI’s apprenticeship programs April 7. (Juliet Kadzviti/The Interlake Spectator)

Bramwell Strain (right) the province’s deputy education minister, hears from an educator about some of ACI’s apprenticeship programs April 7. (Juliet Kadzviti/The Interlake Spectator)

Following the provincial government’s commitment to improving Gimli High School’s music learning space, the Evergreen School Division invited deputy education minister Bramwell Strain to tour two of its high schools April 7.

Strain was given tours of both Gimli High School and Arborg Collegiate Institute by a few ESD board members/staff and division teachers.

ESD board chair Ruth Ann Furgala said Strain was invited to see how the government’s recent investment would be used at GHS, as well as to see other key areas that needed to be improved at ACI.

“It’s really good for the deputy minister to come and see what some of the strengths and challenges are within the division,” she said at ACI.

Strain said he found the tours highly informative and an important indication of some of the division’s needs.

“It’s been a wonderful day. The ESD has some great high schools, that have incredibly dedicated teachers and administration and the kids where fantastic and polite,” he said.

While at ACI, Strain was shown the school’s art class, science lab, a special needs facility, as well as the school’s technology centre.
“I saw a couple of interesting things here, I saw some incredible artwork and some great industrial initiatives. They really have solid programming, which is one of the division’s key strengths,” he said.

“I think on the challenge side is, you have some aging facilities that need some updating, although I did see some recent updates here (at ACI) in the science lab, so that’s great to see.”

At the forefront of ESD’s purpose for the visit was a chance for Strain to interact with a local representative to discuss some of the community’s needs.

“I also heard from the local labour market representative, who said they have specific needs, especially relating to welding and trades programming. They have a good start here but obviously there are investments that could be made and it’s definitely something that we want to look at,” Strain said.

“As you know, the province is a little strapped for money, so to find those investments will be tricky, but the fact that there is a labour market that needs these trades and there are kids working hard at it, makes the world of difference.”

Strain noted interacting with students was the highlight of his visit.

“To see the highly rewarding work they do in their learning environment is fantastic,” he said.

Strain said the government continues with its efforts to improve school infrastructure province-wide.

“All the school infrastructure is very important to us. The school divisions are key partners and we work together with them and municipalities to maximise the money we have, to make the best schools for the students,” he said.

Band room upgrades
Upgrades to the music learning space at Gimli High School are currently in the draft stage. A draft of the potential improvements was designed by the school’s principal Leona Groot, along with two music educators and the school’s operations manager.

“This draft has received initial approval from the Public School’s Finance Branch.  More detailed drawings are now necessary for additional levels of approval before the project is tendered,” ESD Superintendent Roza Gray said, in an email.

“This second design stage is expected to take a number of months.  If all goes well, an anticipated time for construction would be mid to late 2018.”

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