There’s a new face in the top job., but other than that, the 2018-19 school year at Deerwood School is very much continuing on from where it left off last year.
Todd Harwood has taken over the principal’s position from Bonnie Rempel, who has moved on to R.D. Parker Collegiate. Harwood is in his fifth year at the school, having previously served as vice-principal.
Lisa Brolund, who previously worked at Burntwood School as a resource teacher, now fills Harwood’s old job. Apart from that, most of the teachers and staff are the same as last year, which makes the new principal’s transition a lot smoother.
“Everybody’s pretty much returning, which is, for me, pretty awesome,” said Harwood Sept. 11. “I have lots to learn.”
Returning staff members include not only those who were at the school last year, but also some who had been away on maternity leave.
Students weren’t in regular classes Sept. 11-12, but were participating instead in the Strong Beginnings program, where teachers spend an hour with individual students to assess their skills in core areas like reading and math. Those assessments are then used as the baseline from which to develop individualized learning programs for the rest of the year.
Students also have some new technological toys to play with, as the parent council fundraised to buy the school 15 iPads and four interactive whiteboards, two of which have already been installed, with the other two to soon follow.
And despite economic uncertainty and layoffs and possible impending budget tightening, enrolment and programming remains pretty much the same at Deerwood, which hasn’t offered full-day kindergarten, something that is potentially going to be eliminated in future years as the School District of Mystery Lake seeks out areas in which to trim costs.
“Our numbers are about the same,” said Harwood, holding steady around 250 students. “With everything going on, we haven’t really lost that many kids at Deerwood. We’re pretty stable.”