Public school division reaching for the stars


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March 3, 2015 8:15 AM

All six elementary schools in the Lloydminster Public School Division recently qualified for the Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE) awards, a distinction given in recognition for their standards in keeping students active.

Granted by the Saskatchewan Physical Education Association (SPEA), the awards are based on a four star system with Queen Elizabeth School and College Park School receiving three stars, Jack Kemp School and Winston Churchill School getting two and Rendall Park Elementary and Barr Colony Schools receiving one star.

“Each school in our system got the award. There were different standings for the award, but in the end it caused each school to evaluate their phys-ed program,” said Justin Saulnier, acting vice-principal for Queen Elizabeth School.

“And even us with three, we’re reaching for four and the schools that got one star are reaching higher as well.”

Saulnier said there are certain challenges for different schools in the division as each school has a different interpretation of physical education. Though all schools adhere to the curriculum, there are other components like intramural sports and daily phys-ed that can set schools apart.

To get a really good star rating a school has to have phys-ed daily, which can be tough for the bigger schools in the division.

“For classrooms, we try to have movement involved in various ways throughout the day. So even if a class doesn’t have phys-ed on a given day, they try to have some movement options,” said Saulnier.

“A big thing for our school is that we have looked into alternate areas for phys-ed too, outside of the traditional sports per se. So we’re looking at programs that students can be successful at as adults, kind of like lifelong passion activities. We’ve done curling with groups, we’ve done geocaching as groups, we’re now a certified archery school.”

Queen Elizabeth School also offers snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice skating for their students to keep them active in the winter. “We have the Calloway Golf and Schools program at our school (as well), so we’ve really looked to broaden our phys-ed, but there’s still the emphasis on the traditional sports.”

Although all schools in the division were honoured with various levels of distinction, they have no intentions of stopping there. The goal is to look at their accomplishments and strive higher each year.

“Even if you’re getting one, a one star is not a bad distinction,” said Saulnier. “It shows you’re recognized in doing good things, but at the end of the day everyone wants to reach higher, so this SPEA QDPE award makes us reflect on what we’re doing in gym and look at best practices and how to progress in the gym.”

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