Original Published on Sep 14, 2022 at 09:20

By Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As times change, innovation is key and D. A. Ferguson Middle School has plenty of new things for their students this coming school year. The principal of D. A. Ferguson, Kim Hutzul, explained some of these innovations within the school. 

“We have a lot of new and exciting initiatives at D. A. Ferguson Middle School this year,” said Hutzul. “One of the new initiatives we are starting up is the Leader in Me program. Leader in Me is a program that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness. Leader in Me is based on the premise that every child possesses unique strengths and has the ability to be a leader — which shapes the views of staff to value and develop the whole child.” 

Expanding on this, Hutzul explained how this program is a chimaera of concepts to best help students in mental development. 

“Leader in Me utilizes and integrates several leadership, social-emotional learning, quality, and educational models and processes from past and current thought leaders including The Four Essential Roles of Leadership and The Four Disciplines of  Execution. The process includes student participation in goal setting, data tracking, leadership roles, Student-Led Conferences, leadership environments, and Leadership Events. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is also a key component of the overall Leader in Me process and is a synthesis of principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal, which are common to all people and cultures.” 

Looking at 2022-23, Hutzul gave a general overview of some of the other new things that are coming to the school this year. 

“We also have many clubs starting up such as Lego club, games club, Fox Force, art club, book club, and many more,” said Hutzul. “The different clubs we will be running will all start at different times of the year and be on different times and dates. Please follow us on social media and visit our website for more information. Mr. Mark Harding is also going to be spearheading a musical at our school this year. We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our student’s talents in this way. We are running our volleyball, basketball, badminton, cross country, and track and field teams as per usual, but we are adding in a curling team at the end of October for our DAF students this  year.”

Hutzul then shifted the discussion by talking about some of the upcoming events that the middle school will be taking part in. 

“D. A. Ferguson started the year off by handing out a new DAF shirt to all of our students. We had a colour day and took a school picture on the second day. On Friday, we had a pancake breakfast and a back-to-school karaoke/ games party for the whole school. We are having a Terry Fox Colour Run on Friday, September 16, we are co-hosting the tri-school BBQ on September 20 at 5:15 p.m., and we are inviting everyone to participate. We are hosting Foxfest in the Field on Wednesday, September 21 in the afternoon. During Foxfest, students have a chance to mix and mingle with different homeroom classes and grades to form new groups. We will have competitive games happening all over the field by the school as each team faces different challenges. We will wrap up the month by experiencing some Indigenous learning on Thursday, September 29.” 

Hutzul also touched on new staff that will be joining the school this year.

“Chelsea Hubble is a new staff member this year who is teaching Grade 8 math and Grade 7 science,” said Hutzul. “Katelyne Bijl is one of our new teachers this year who is teaching Grade 6 math. Jillian  Pickerell is teaching with our Taber Mennonite Program in Grade 6 and 7. Quintin Cheverie is one of our new teachers this year teaching Language Arts and Social studies to our Grade 7 students.” 

Looking at how many students will be joining the school this year, Hutzul shared a breakdown of how many classes each grade will have. 

“Our current enrollment is at 310 students with our TMS specialized program. We have four Grade 6 classes, four Grade 7 classes, and three Grade 8 classes in our mainstream programming and one class of Grade 6, one class of Grade 7, and one class of Grade 8 in our TMS program. We are excited to be returning to a school year that is promising to be full of excitement, learning and fun.” 

This item reprinted with permission from   The Taber Times   Taber, Alberta
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