Pembina Hills Local 22
Subgroup of the Alberta Teachers’ Association
Michelle Savoie – Eleanor Hall School, Box 70, Clyde, AB T0G 0P0
To say this has been a challenging year, would be an understatement. The beginning of this year in
Pembina Hills was like no other. Unfortunately, our district was hit with an incredibly difficult
start to our year with a double whammy of a COVID-19 pandemic and ADLC closure. While it is certain
that Covid has impacted every single one of us, what might not be as obvious is that the closing of
ADLC has also done so. Not one school in Pembina Hills School Division was immune to the impacts of
the ADLC closure with staffing changes being the most immediate and obvious.
Too many colleagues had to begin the school year worrying about a year into the future, thinking
about the end of the same school year and whether they would be back the following school year.
Too many colleagues had difficult decisions to make, at one of our busiest times of the year and
during a pandemic, while navigating new protocols, no less.
Too many fantastic teachers won’t be back in September 2021.
I wish to express how incredibly proud I am to call you my colleagues. Above and beyond curriculum,
there were so many teachable moments for kids this year: the pandemic, on-line learning, the
discovery of children buried at residential schools, and for some of us, how to say goodbye.
Throughout all of this, you taught, supported, and cared for all our students. Being a teacher is
not easy during times like this, and it never ceases to amaze me, how resilient and strong teachers
can be, when it comes to being an integral part in the lives of the children we teach. Thank you
for all you have done this year.
The new school year is going to be full of changes and challenges for us all. I am sorry to hear
about the wonderful teachers who will not be back in September. I know some colleagues have been
able to find new positions in other districts and some colleagues have been able to return to
Pembina Hills in new positions. I also know some colleagues have not found a new position, yet. It
is a great loss to our school district to lose such talented people. I hope you will be able to
find a new teaching position soon. I also hope all my colleagues will have a chance to relax and
rejuvenate and maybe even reconnect with loved ones, over the next few months.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…” – Alfred
I am so grateful to be a part of the ADLC family for the last 5 years. I love my job and the people I work with. A great group, doing great things! Will be very tough to say goodbye. Nicole Westerlund
I have had the pleasure of working for ADLC for the past 15 years, the first 12 in Lethbridge and the last 3 in Barrhead. It has been a big part of my life and I will miss the many great people I have had the privilege of working with. Gary Frederickson
When I came to ADLC in October of 2008 and sat down at my computer, a couple of my first thoughts were, "Is this really where I am supposed to be? & What kind of an impact can I have on kids sitting at a computer?"
I can't say that I had an immediate answer to these questions but, by the end of that first year it became crystal clear that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and I can have a huge impact not only on the lives of these kids, but also, their whole family.
Sadly, in those early years of my ADLC tenure it seemed that ADLC was very often used as a dumping ground. That is, that all those kids that schools had no idea what to do with, and for whatever reasons, could not seem to function in a regular classroom, would often be registered with ADLC and then basically forgotten about. We were the school of last hope!
At the elementary junior high level the student registrations were very typically those of students that needed us the most. Many of these students had been beaten down their entire educational lives, being told to sit down, be quiet, go sit in the hallway, get down to the principal's office, you're suspended. Their perception of education was disillusioned and sad to say the least. It also seemed that many of these students had never had a meaningful positive relationship with their teachers. This is where ADLC comes in.
Right from the start I found it very easy to build a relationship not only with the parents (Who were just dying to find some help) but most importantly with the students. I always found it amazing to listen to how the kid's voices changed in that first phone conversation from being tentative, not really wanting to talk to a teacher at the start, to happily saying goodbye thinking that, "My teacher sounded nice, maybe this won't be so bad." Once you begin to get to know these kids they are just that, kids, and kids naturally want to please the adults in their lives. All we have to do is give them the guidance, support and tools to be successful!
When you change the educational experience of the child from something that has always been a losing battle, to one of support, guidance and encouragement, it not only changes the life of the child but the lives of the whole family! When the child is suddenly happy and it is no longer a constant fight to go to school, the entire dynamic of the family changes, and everybody is happier. The thinking changes from, "I can't do this, I'm stupid, my teacher hates me, I am not even going to try." To that of, "My teacher likes me! I can do this!" And, away we go! I have actually had mothers literally in tears on the phone to me, thanking me, saying, "This has been the best year he has ever had!"
ADLC enabled me to make a difference in so many student's and family's lives. I am so very thankful for the 13 years I spent with ADLC changing children's lives for the better! It is sad that this opportunity for students is being taken away from Alberta families.
Thank you Pembina Hills and thank you ADLC!
Matthew Groenendyk student at ccschool.ca
How difficult it is to write a farewell to an organization which spanned so many years and helped so many students. Layered on top of this difficulty is the belief that this early demise was a result of a political dysfunction in Alberta. Further adding to the regret is the pop up shops opening up as a result of ADLC’s cessation, some of which helped facilitate the destruction of ADLC, and all of which are lacking the depth and breadth of experience, and equality that this public institution gave. Above all, the gaping hole for students in Alberta is more than apparent as well as the distressing displacement and loss of livelihood of many teachers.