Classes have resumed at Harry Camsell School and Princess Alexandra School for another year, but with one notable difference – Carolyn Carroll has stepped up from vice principal to become principal of both.
“I worked last year going between the two schools, so I know the kids, teachers and parents, and that has helped a lot,” said Carroll. “Both staffs at the schools have been amazing and it has made this transition very smooth.”
This is only the second year that one principal governs both schools, but there are still separate vice principals for both. Carroll said that, despite sharing some staff, the schools retain their own identities, particularly when it comes to school pride.
“The Huskies and the Predators are two very different things,” said Carroll, referring to the schools’ sports teams. “I really want to make sure I respect the students and the staff, and their pride in their respective schools.”
To make the most of the good weather and to welcome kids back to school, Princess Alexandra had an afternoon of activities outside on Sept. 6 instead of regular classes. There were games, including Dene hand games, and even a bouncy castle.
“We just wanted them to have a great time coming back this year and we thought this would be a good way to bring everyone back in,” Carroll said.
Elli Cunningham, just entering Grade 7, said she was pleased to be back at school and was looking forward to meeting her new teachers.
“We have a new teacher for social studies this year,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how that’s going to be.”
This will be Cunningham’s second year in a split class and she said, overall, she is excited to be back in class.
Beyond activity days in the sun, Princess Alexandra and Harry Camsell are introducing new learning opportunities throughout the year. Carroll said that, apart from sports like soccer and cross-country running starting up again, the schools have introduced play-based learning in Kindergarten and there are three classes piloting some of the self-regulation apparatuses introduced last year. They have been equipped with new furniture designed to help students learn in ways that suit them. The concept ranges from child-sized stationary bicycles to help burn off extra energy to simply letting students stand up to read instead of making them sit at desks.
“It’s a pilot program,” said Carroll. “We’re not experts in it yet, but we will be by the end of the year.”
Carroll also said the Hay River District Education Authority and the South Slave Divisional Education Council have been very supportive of both the schools and herself as a principal.
“We couldn’t do what we do without them,” she said. “And I expect us to do great things this year.”
— Sarah Ladik