• Spring into Reading!

    PSS Reading Ad smallerEasy ways to get your kids to SPRING into reading:

    Take books along on outings. Pack books in your beach bag, picnic basket or in the car.

    Read together. At bedtime or snack time, take the time to share a story.

    Visit the library. A wonderful (and free) place full of adventures yet to be discovered.

    Just open a book and SPRING into reading!

  • Spring Break!

    spring-breakIt's Spring Break time for Prairie South Schools!  Please be extra cautious this week and watch for playing children.  Have a safe and happy break everyone!

  • Gravelbourg Elementary School Student to Represent Saskatchewan

    GES picGravelbourg School is thrilled to announce that for a fourth consecutive year, a Gravelbourg Elementary School student will represent Saskatchewan at the International finals in Montreal!

    GES immersion students in grades 3 to 7 participated in the Dictée PGL this year. Students had weekly lessons and banks of words to study in preparation for the school finals in February.

    Competitors at the Grade 5 and 6 levels competed for the chance to represent our school at the provincial finals. GES is proud to announce that Zoee A. represented our school at the provincial level and won! Zoee  has earned herself the honour of taking part in La Grande Finale Internationale de La Dictée P.G.L. This event will take place in Quebec.  Dictée sponsor, the Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation, will be providing transportation by plane and accommodations for Zoee. Félicitations Zoee and best of luck!

    The International final will gather participants from all over Canada, the United States, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso. For one last time, they will compete in an ultimate dictation.

    Written by Mme Gingell, Gravelbourg School

  • Prairie South Announces New Director of Education

    Prairie South logo for division computersPrairie South School Division is proud to announce that Mr. Tony Baldwin will be joining Prairie South Schools as Director of Education effective August 1, 2014.

    "Mr. Baldwin brings a wealth of experience in the education sector to Prairie South Schools, and we are honoured to have him join our team," says Board Chair, Dr. Shawn Davidson. "Our extensive executive search resulted in several excellent candidates, and the Board chose Tony for his dedication to student learning and vision for a strong School Division."

    Tony holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.  Currently, he is working as a Superintendent of Education with Sun West School Division, where his primary responsibilities are with school operations in 12 schools and strategic improvement planning.  Tony has previously had responsibility for School Community Councils, Technology and Distance Learning, and Home-Based Education.  He has strong professional interests including community involvement in school-level decision-making.

    Tony has presented a variety of in-services on parent and community engagement, and is currently a member of a team that is working on developing an early warning system for students who are at risk of not graduating.  Prior to his work as a Superintendent, Tony was the principal at Davidson High School for 11 years, a teacher at Chaplin School, and an instructor at the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia.

    Tony and his wife, Sandra, have three daughters:  Nicole, 20; Kimberley, 18; and Kaitlyn, 16.  Sandra is a High School math and science teacher in Davidson, where the family currently lives.

    Please join us in welcoming Tony to Prairie South Schools!

  • Books in a Birdhouse

    Orescanin and Robinson at PeacockPrairie South rolls out new learning initiative – from the Moose Jaw Times Herald

    The Prairie South School Division (PSSD) has embarked on a new project designed to share the love of reading with local communities.

    Dan Orcescanin, left, principal at Westmount Elementary School, picks up a "free little library" from Peacock Collegiate's construction and carpentry teacher Joel Robinson on Monday. Westmount is the first school in the Prairie South School Division to receive their free little library.

    "The whole idea of it is to bring awareness to the community that reading is not jut about what we do at school," said Lori Meyer, PSSD superintendent of learning. "It's part of our lives and we should do it everywhere, wherever we are and wherever we can, to share the love reading."

    A birdhouse-like bookshelf, complete with a plexiglass door, is just the initiative PSSD has undertaken to expand the awareness of reading – in schools and in their respective communities. Known as the "free little libraries" project, Prairie South enlisted the help of Peacock Collegiate's Woods 20 class to help build 16 unique bookshelves for any School Community Council that requested one.

    The free little libraries can hold an estimated 60-80 books in them, plus they're not stationary. "The whole idea is it's a community thing. It might or might not be on the school property," said Meyer.

    "In one of our community schools they might put it in front of the post office for a week and they might move it over to the park for a week, or move it in front of the week, or where've the action is taking place." Prairie South believes reading is one of the most fundamental skills for future learning and success. The free little libraries project was one way the division looked at strengthening the importance of reading.

    The idea for the project became apparent in November 2013 when Joel Robinson, the teacher of Woods 20 at Peacock, designed and built a demo of what a free little library would look like. "The board was really excited about it, so they asked us to build a few more. A few turned into quite a few," Robinson told the Times-Herald.

    Although he drew up the plans, Robinson's class of eight students has been responsible for building the birdhouse-like structures.

    Not only will the free little libraries project benefit PSSD schools and their communities, but it has also provided Robinson's Woods 20 class with an opportunity to apply the cabinetry-making techniques they have learned into something practical.

    They've already received requests to build 16, and there's a chance more could be requested. "Every school could put in an order for one and they could put in an order in three different ways," said Meyer.

    Schools could ask for a completed project that only needs painting and decoration, one that comes in pieces with building instructions and one that allows the project to be built solely relying on the construction plans. On Monday, Westmount Elementary School was the first PSSD school to receive their free little library. It still hasn't been painted and decorated in the schools red, white and blue colours, but it will be before it's unveiled to the students.

    "Our school goal is to increase the reading comprehension for all of the students. With that, home support is extremely important," said Westmount principal Dan Orescanin. "So we have the kids reading at home with their parents and because of that we wanted to extend that into the community and have all of our community on board.

    As soon as he heard about the project, Orescanin knew Westmount wanted one. He submitted a request for one almost immediately and figured that's probably why Westmount was the first school to receive their free little library.

    "Getting books out there and making them easily accessible seemed like a really good idea and something the school council really wanted to do to support our learning goal," said Orescanin.

    Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

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