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Wednesday, 24 May 2017 08:00

S.E. Alta. getting ready to host colony eduators

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For more than a year a small group of Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) representatives have been diligently working to plan the upcoming Alberta Colony Educators’ Conference.

The last time Prairie Rose hosted colony educators from across Alberta was in 2011.
Now more than 230 people are expected to converge on Medicine Hat for the conference set for May 26-27.
Susan Martin, a teacher at Jenner Colony, is the chair of the conference organizing committee along with fellow members Rob Ficiur, Nicole Merrick, Kelsey Garber and Kal Koch.
They have planned an interesting two days where attendees will listen to two keynote speakers and choose sessions to take part in that will help them expand their skills and knowledge about teaching on Alberta Hutterite colonies.
“We want to bring Hutterite colony educators together to help (them) as they teach in unique situations,” says Martin, about the importance of the annual conference.
Thursday night will be a time of socializing and networking as attendees arrive in Medicine Hat. The keynote speaker Friday morning will be Chris Koch from Nanton. He is an inspirational speaker who shares his message of “If I Can ...” as he navigates the world with no arms or legs — a condition with which he was born.
He travels working as a motivational speaker as well as still helping out on his family’s ranch, proving “he can.”
Ronald Morrish is the keynote on Saturday morning. The educator and behaviour specialist from Ontario will focus on his area of expertise around discipline and classroom management, which Martin points out is important in colony classrooms where there are all age levels and grades in one room.
Participants will choose the sessions they are most interested in attending throughout the day on Friday and Saturday. Session leaders will represent an array of topics specific to education on colonies and include many local educators too. Topics will cover everything from literacy and numeracy to wellness as well as science, social studies and even the fine arts.
Martin points out there is a lot of expertise about colony teaching in the southeast corner as Prairie Rose School Division includes 16 colony schools — one of the largest numbers in the province.
Optional field trip opportunities the Friday night include Medalta Potteries, Countown Adventures (escape room), Butterfly House, Riverbend Adventures and a Police Point Nature Walk.
She hopes the conference offers an opportunity for colony educators from across Alberta to network with one another and find support that is longer lasting than just the two days. The theme of the conference is “Get Inspired — Creating a dynamic colony classroom.”
“We’re hoping we can create some ideas,” she adds. “We’re really excited to put this on. It takes a couple of years start to finish (for planning) so the excitement is really building.”
She credits the organizing committee for its commitment to the conference as well as the individuals who will be helping out both before the weekend and during the event.
“Many hands work hard to get this done,” she adds.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor