This will be the first year dozens of teachers will spend at school divisions in Central Alberta. (File photo by Jeff Stokoe)

Plenty of new teachers in Central Alberta

Dozens of new teachers will be stepping into the classroom this year in and around Red Deer.

The Red Deer Public School District, which had 10,700 students last year, will have 35 part-time and full-time teachers heading into the school year for the first time.

“It looks like a very engaging and bright group … A lot of them are young, new teachers, but we also have a range of experienced teachers as well,” said Rob Moltzahn, associate superintendent for human resources with Red Deer Public Schools.

“Some are pretty early on in their careers so they’re still exploring things, like their teaching style and what it’s all like,” he said.

Three teachers have been hired since early August due to anticipated growth in schools in the district.

It’s possible more could be hired before the school year starts, said Moltzahn.

The Chinook’s Edge School Division will welcome 32 new teachers. More than 11,000 students were enrolled in the division last year, which has schools in Red Deer County, Innisfail, Olds and Sylvan Lake.

These new teachers “are very strong in their values and beliefs about education and about kids. We are so lucky to have them,” said Lissa Steele, associate superintendent of learning services.

Though the exact number of new teachers isn’t available at this time in Wolf Creek Public Schools, which has schools in Lacombe, Blackfalds and elsewhere, there will be a 0.7 teacher full-time equivalent increase for the upcoming year.

All Alberta school divisions received an infusion of grant funding from Alberta Education through the Classroom Improvement Fund, which is an element of the new collective agreement. Wolf Creek received $904,000 from the fund.

“Some of that has resulted in additional hires that have been made and some of that has been additional (full-time equivalent) to our part-time teachers,” said Corrine Thorsteinson, assistant superintendent of people services.

The 0.7 increase will help support a few “hot spot” areas, Thorsteinson said.

“We had schools that were starting to see projected enrolment increases and would have had class-size issues,” she said.

New teachers were hired in the Wolf Creek division, which had 7,487 students last year, to replace retiring teachers and deal with the rising enrolment in some areas, Thorsteinson said.

Not all of the fund grant will go towards full-time equivalents, as some of the funds will go towards additional educational assistant time as well, she added.

A representative with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools was unavailable for comment.

sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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