Funds earmarked to help local students falling behind

The front entrance to Grande Prairie Public School Division building (Donovan Eckstrom, staff)
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Local public schools are getting funding to help students who may have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grande Prairie Public School Division is expecting to receive roughly $600,000 from the provincial government to “close the learning gap”.

Board Chair John Lehners explains the move to online learning has been detrimental in the development of some students.

“After a year of COVID and closures we can see some light at the end of the tunnel and it’s good to see that there are some supports to close that learning gap that obviously happened because teachers and kids weren’t eye to eye.”

Lehners says the bulk of the funding is likely going towards one-on-one supports for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

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“It’s going to help at the early ages… and other areas too. We use assessment throughout our district to look at where we’re at all the time with our kids and we’ll find out where the weak links are and try and close those gaps.”

Lehners believes it’s an appropriate time for the funding announcement from the province, as it’s likely students will be returning to classrooms full time in September.

“We’re happy to have kids back in seats again permanently… If anything else, they’ve learned an appreciation for the value of being around other students and the learning that occurs in a classroom setting,” he says.

“We’re happy for all the students coming back and the sports teams that can start up and the clubs and all that kind of good stuff and have kids getting back to their rich programing and social interactions,” he adds.

In all, the Government of Alberta announced $45 million in funding for school divisions across the province, including those in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer.

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