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Northern Lights Classroom Improvement Fund Approved

Northern Lights Public Schools says that Alberta Education has approved its fund to upgrade its schools as part of the latest provincial labour agreement.

“We have always benefited from a excellent collaborative working relationship with our ATA Local and that extended to the development of our CIF (Classroom Improvement Fund) application as well,” explained Board Chair Arlene Hrynyk. “We were able to come to a consensus on the best way to make an impact in our division with the dollars we were allocated.”

The CIF was part of the agreement reached between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association in May. Northern Lights established a 10-member committee made up of trustees, senior administration and certified teaching staff to develop a plan that would address the needs of the division, its schools, staff, and impact students in our classrooms. Northern Lights was allocated $736,000.

“We polled the local membership soon after the announcement about CIF was made,” explained David Ripkens, President of ATA Local 15. “Teachers made it clear that kids should have equal opportunity to benefit from the classroom improvement funds. For some, that now means more teachers in their school; for others, it means literacy or technology resources at their fingertips. Being granted CIF money was not a foregone conclusion, the collaborative
relationship between the ATA local and the school board created the conditions to make it happen. Kids get to reap the rewards. This is a textbook win-win.”

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The division’s plan includes hiring additional certified staff to address areas of need, such as assisting small rural schools with multiple grade level classrooms. Some funds have also been allocated to hiring additional non teaching support staff to address school needs.

At the division level, CIF will support the hiring of an assessment consultant who will work on a variety of assessment-related projects, including common assessments at the middle school level. Each school will also receive funding it can use for purchase resources, materials and technology to improve classroom conditions. The focus will be placed on materials and resources in areas such as First Nations, Metis and Inuit resources, assessment tools, learning commons, technology and literacy kits, to name just a few examples.

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