of The Clarion
The first month of a new school year has just elapsed and a group of new staff members is settling in to their roles at Elizabeth Middle School.
Elizabeth has welcomed four new faces to the school to start the 2018-19 year. The middle school has three new teachers including a teacher candidate, or intern, and a new educational assistant. Principal Tammy Diemert says the year has started out on the right foot.
“The year is off to a really good start,” she said in an interview in September, recognizing that all of the school’s curricular and extracurricular programs had started for the year. “We have been able to offer a wide variety of opportunities for our kids for both activities and clubs, and curricular programs.”
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She noted that the school has welcomed several newcomers to the staff. In addition to new teachers, the school’s new educational assistant is Brian Kirkness, who spent time working in the public sector as a counsellor in the health system.
Diemert said the school will continue with a focus on character education through its Personalized electronic Blended Learning (PeBL) initiative. There will also be a focus on blended math instruction at the school.
The principal said PeBL puts more of a focus on individualized programs to allow students the voice and opportunity to advance at their own pace as they meet the milestones set out by the education system. The start of a school year is an exciting time for new and returning staff members.
“We are very excited to be back,” Diemert said, recognizing that this year marks the fourth year since Elizabeth was restructured to be a middle school and the staff had worked really hard to prepare for the task of educating students in grades 5-8.
Danielle Jamieson is not new to the school or the educational system, but she is returning to work at Elizabeth this year. Jamieson, who was raised on a farm west of Marengo, has lived in Kindersley for 19 years. She will be working with Grade 5 students.
She noted that she worked at Elizabeth School 10 years ago after starting out at Eaton School in Eatonia. She later worked for the school division as a learning coach and an assessment and data consultant before becoming a vice-principal at Walter Aseltine School in Rosetown.
Jamieson obtained Bachelor of Education and Masters of Curriculum Studies degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. She said she looks forward to meeting and working with students as they learn, explore and achieve together.
The Elizabeth returnee said she believes it is a great opportunity for her to work at the middle school and there is a terrific staff in place to work alongside. She noted that she is grateful the staff has each student’s needs and interests in mind.
In terms of her goals for the year, Jamieson said goals have to relate to curricular outcomes because it is the intent of the role. She said a broader goal is to focus on the students because she wants them to enjoy learning, to want to be at school, to feel safe, to feel as though they are cared for and to thrive at school. Her personal goals are to enjoy each day with her colleagues, to help engage families in the school community and to find connections with those families.
Kirsten Elder, a new Grade 5 teacher at Elizabeth, also attended the U of S after being raised in Saskatoon. She noted that she is going to be teaching English language arts, science, math, health and physical education to Grade 5 students.
The teacher recognized that she is not only new to the school, but she is new to the profession because it is her first full-time teaching position since graduating from university in June. Elder said her goals for the year are to continue her path as a lifelong learner, create a strong relationship with all of her students, and to increase her knowledge of PeBL as she incorporates it into her classroom in various ways.