PWPSD Board News - December 9, 2021

DECEMBER 9, 2021
Inspiring all learners to become confident, collaborative and ethical
citizens motivated with a passion to achieve a sustainable future.

Travel moratorium extended to September 2022

Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board has approved an extension to the current suspension on all national and international travel. The current moratorium, originally approved in June 2020, will be extended to September 1, 2022.


Is your bus cancelled?

Quick facts:

  • Buses are cancelled at -40° Celsius excluding wind chill, or -48° with wind    chill (Source: Weather Network).
  • With 100 bus routes operating across more than 16,000 km2, varying road    and weather conditions are common.
  • PWPSD is divided into seven zones, based on high school attendance areas.    In times of inclement weather, all buses associated with a particular high school attendance area are cancelled at the same time. Any or all seven    zones could be cancelled at any time. Parents of elementary students need  to  know which high school is associated with their area, as outlined in Policy EEAF – PWPSD Buses and School Operation during Inclement Weather.
The best way to always stay up-to-date on your bus's status is to download the    Bus Status app! The user-friendly app allows you to follow all the bus routes, or   just  your buses. Find full instructions on how to download and use the app on    our website.

Transportation Report

PWPSD Director of Transportation Ted Gobin spoke about the purchase of eight new school buses in his annual report to the Board. The new additions will     replace a number of retiring buses. The PWPSD bus fleet consists of 100 regular route buses, 43 spares, and five white charter buses.

The Transportation department manages 100 routes, travelling more than 14,255 kilometres each school day. This year, the Sexsmith attendance area received a   new route due to the buses being over their weighted load. The Division continues to contract busing into Kelly Lake for the South Peace School District #59; there are currently seven students registered on this bus.

Route times
There are five routes with a first pickup time of 7:00 a.m.: La Glace (1), Teepee    Creek (1), Elmworth (1), Grovedale (2). There are 10 routes throughout the Division with a first pickup time between 7:01 and 7:05 a.m., and 15 routes between 7:06   and 7:10 a.m. 

Two routes in the Beaverlodge area have the latest drop off time of 5:00 p.m. One Elmworth route has a drop off time of 4:55 p.m., while six other routes throughout the Division see a drop off time of 4:50 p.m. Although these are scheduled times, they have the ability to change due to students participating in after school activities.

Since the beginning of this school year, there have been four drivers resign or      retire, with a fifth effective December 23. An additional four drivers have      indicated they intend to retire at the end of June; three from the Grovedale area.  All bus routes currently remain staffed.

PWPSD has added a fourth permanent spare driver. The driver will cover the Whispering Ridge Community School and Wembley areas, and part of the Beaverlodge area. This year, the Division has had to cancel 48 days affecting 74    bus routes due to no spare drivers being available.

PWPSD offers Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) to both internal and      external drivers. Director Gobin, who also acts as the Senior Driving Instructor,     said the Division has had 18 students through both MELT and S Endorsement Training this year: 13 MELT students, four S Endorsement students and one mechanic.


Information Technology Report

In his annual report to the Board, Information Technology (IT) Coordinator Darcy Bromling announced the success of the Division's new websites, which launched last year. Although the IT department did face the usual startup issues, the transition has been well received by both internal and external users.

Each day, thousands of devices connect to the Division's wireless networks.      PWPSD now pays for 360 MB of internet, up from last year's 300 MB, with the potential of having to increase it once again.

Maximizing efficiency
In a continued effort to maximize efficiency, PWPSD is moving away from traditional phone lines in remote areas and is instead using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks. SIP trunks are more reliable and significantly cheaper. The new system has been working well with minimal disruptions.

All home drives have now been moved to OneDrive, which allows its users to      access their files from anywhere with the use of the web, or its app for mobile devices.

Chromebooks have become the most prevalent device at almost every school within the Division. PWPSD now uses Gmail and Drive extensively and has    recently licensed Google Enterprise for Education, which is a set of Google tools    and services tailored for schools.

Although many applications the Division uses are through Google, Microsoft still has a heavy presence that users may not be aware of. SharePoint has been      moved over to Microsoft 365, and the majority of PWPSD's servers run on            Microsoft operating systems. The multi-factor authentication login process works through Microsoft's Azure Active Directory.

Increasing security
Cyber security has recently become a major focus for the IT department. A    number of systems have been implemented to ensure the Division stays    protected:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Reduced permissions
  • Increase in security protocols on wireless systems
  • More stringent requirements before new applications can be used
  • Removal of older devices
The PWPSD IT department manages servers, email, wireless, telephones, cellphones, security cameras and door card systems, wiring and cabling,              anti-virus and spam filtering, furnace software and wiring, desktops and laptops, software deployment, media installations, LAN, SuperNet, printers and copiers,    end-user support, Google Apps for Education, SharePoint and websites, federated services, PASI, transportation and bus repair software, AHS illness tracking,    firewalls, web filtering, iLearn and Moodle, and digital signage.

Committee & Meeting Reports

  • Trustee Speager presented the Health & Safety Committee Meeting      Report
  • Trustee Kelm presented the Communications Committee Meeting Report

Merry Christmas from your Trustees

We would like to wish all of our students, staff, families and community members    a very merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!


Upcoming Events

  • Rural Caucus of Alberta School Boards Meeting: Thursday, December 16
  • Last day of school before the Christmas break: Thursday, December 23
  • Christmas Break: No school, Friday, December 24 - Friday, January 7, 2022
  • Statutory Holidays: All PWPSD offices and shops closed.
    • Friday, December 24 (in lieu of Christmas)
    • Monday, December 27 (in lieu of Boxing Day)
    • Monday, January 3 (in lieu of New Year's Day)
  • Classes resume for all students: Monday, January 10, 2022
  • ASBA Zone 1 Meeting: Wednesday, January 12
  • ATA Virtual Summit: Thursday, January 13, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, January 20 at 10:30 a.m.
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A report on news from Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
published following each Board Meeting.

Content and Design:

Kayla Klava, Communications Officer, 
Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
Central Office, 8611A-108 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C5  

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