Hume Elementary School teacher Teresa Keenan gathered her Kindergarten and Grade 1 students on the classroom carpet for calendar time this morning

Short week for Kootenay Lake district students

Superintendent defends decision to hold Pro-D Day during the first week back after the prolonged teachers' strike.

Students have returned to school after the prolonged teachers’ strike finally ended last week, but they were let out three hours early on their first day and won’t attend classes on Friday due to a pre-scheduled professional development day.

And though that may not sit well with some residents, School District 8 superintendent Jeff Jones defended the decision, noting that the shorter hours are essential for teachers to get prepared, liaise with colleagues in other districts and deal with any organizational snafus that may have arisen in the first few days.

“We are very, very pleased to be up and running again. In our district we wanted to get right back on to the calendar that was agreed upon and decided by our board in consultation with the community,” he said.

Jones said one deciding factor in keeping the schedule was making sure it aligns with neighbouring districts, such as SD20 in Castlegar and Trail. He said some parents have children in both districts, and inconsistency would create an unnecessary hardship for the family.

“We recognize that many families plan their calendars way in advance, sometimes as early as March in the previous year,” he said. Changing it suddenly on their students may disrupt pre-planned medical appointments or other commitments.

Jones conceded that the district explored the idea of re-scheduling the Pro-D Day, but ultimately decided against it.

“We decided it was highly appropriate, for the first time since April, to give the teachers a chance to work together on the challenges and opportunities they’re facing.”

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