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Nikipelo Aspen View chair again

Trustees sworn in by new RCMP detachment commander
20211025 AVPS Swearing in_HS_08_WEB
Athabasca RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark Hall held the Bible as turn by turn each of the seven trustees swore their oath of public office at the organizational meeting Oct. 25. Minutes later Candy Nikipelo was elected chair for a second time by acclamation.

ATHABASCA — It was all over but the swearing in for the seven Aspen View Public Schools (AVPS) trustees. 

At their Oct. 25 organizational meeting, each trustee took their turn placing their hand on the Bible held by Athabasca RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark Hall before electing a chair, vice-chair and deciding on committees. 

For her second two-year term, Boyle and Grassland trustee Candy Nikipelo was chosen as chair. Her first time as chair started a few short months before the world came to a halt and students were sent home from school for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Yeah, it wasn't your average chair term,” Nikipelo said Oct. 27. "Like I said in my little speech (Oct. 25), we started out last term relatively normal with normal trustee duties just trying to keep healthy schools and a little bit of advocating for differences in the way (Alberta Education) does their funding and all of that, so everything was literally pretty average and then obviously COVID hit.” 

Aspen View had to pivot, a word Nikipelo has come to not like very much, to get students online while figuring out, like everyone else, what had to be done to deal with the pandemic. 

“We got some federal money that was thrown at us, and we were able to get projects done. I guess that was one of the pluses of some of the interrupted learning that we did have,” she said. “We got some projects done in our schools that are more difficult to do when you have students in the building and without extra funding.” 

For now, Nikipelo is looking at how to keep schools COVID-19 safe without the extra funding and trying to fend off a widely criticized new curriculum with the help of vice chair Anne Karczmarczyk and the rest of the board. 

“Curriculum – people think that that has kind of fallen by the wayside, it has absolutely not,” said Nikipelo. “Our division, whether from teachers to upper administration to trustees, we're all very, very involved with curriculum feedback.” 

Ideally, she would like to see it held off for another year instead of piling it on to teachers who have just worked three of the most stressful semesters ever over the last 20 months and need a break. 

“I can't even imagine being a teacher in elementary for next fall to help to roll out four core subjects, brand new curriculums," she said. “I have no idea when they're going to prep and prepare for all of this.” 

The next regular AVPS meeting, Nov. 26, is when the work will start in earnest. 

Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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