FORT ST. JOHN B.C- Superintendent Stephen Petrucci describes 2020 as one of the “finest moments in School District 60’s history”.

This is not only due to the district’s response to the pandemic but accomplishments made during the year. These include the Anne Roberts Young Elementary opening, updates to the District’s website, and Learning Enhancement Agreements with First Nations.

Petrucci, who is In his second school year as superintendent, says the LEA’s is a significant milestone and looks to better serve Indigenous students from Doig River First Nations, Halfway River First Nations, and Blueberry First Nations.

“(The First Nations will be) more formally involved in monitoring, collaborating and assisting with the education of their Indigenous students,” says Petrucci.

Last year, the agreement signed involved the local Indigenous communities, the district, and the federal and provincial education ministry.

The district saw another milestone in the form of the Anne Roberts Young Elementary, which opened in late September. 

Besides the construction of Margaret “Ma” Murray Community School a few years ago, Petrucci says it’s rare for the district to get new schools. The elementary has helped alleviate a space shortage.

“It had a real impact on the students and staff in our schools, especially our elementaries, because they didn’t have space to do hands-on projects, or multi-use space, to do arts and to branch out into different things.”

For example, Petrucci explains that instead of music or drama teachers going from room to room, they can have a designated area to teach students in the enhanced learning spaces.

The extra space will also help focus on students in need of special attention, adds Petrucci.

Since the start of the current school year, the district has had to adapt to ensure students and staffs safety. Over the last several months, a total of 17 COVID-19 exposure letters have been sent out between 10 different schools.

“Honestly, it’s those protocols and guidelines that we’ve been following so stringently. That is the reason we’re still open,” says Petrucci.

He says the district will continue to manage the best it can over the next several months.

Over the next year, the district will look to improve through its Framework for Enhancing Student Learning and will work with the board for its strategic planning moving into the 2021/2022 school year. This will include reaching out to local organizations to see what the community wants to see from the district.