Bentley Community News: elementary school considering changes, wants input

By June Norvila

A disappointing number of people attended the regular Bentley School Parent Advisory Council meeting that took place February 17 in the Elementary School library.

At each PAC meeting, Bentley school principal Mr. Lane Moore presents lots of information, brings forth lots of innovative ideas, and looks for guidance and input from parents, as he does from staff.

Principal Moore said, “I am used to having 15 or 16 at each meeting and having a good dialogue. It is hard to have a good discussion and get feedback with so few.”

There was discussion as to why there is not more interest in finding out what is happening and planned for the school. It was suggested some people may have conflicting engagements, some may be waiting to see what the new administration is going to do, or maybe families are so satisfied with how things are going that they have no concerns or issues to ask about or bring forward.

Moore presented a possible bell time schedule for next term that could see students start school earlier (at 8:35 a.m.) and end the day about 15 minutes earlier. Bus pick-up times would not change; students would just start classes quicker after bus arrivals instead of waiting until 9 a.m.

He also showed a differentiated school calendar and wanted feed back on the possible dates of four extra pd/staff meeting days during the year, on top of those already scheduled by Wolf Creek Public Schools.

At this time the school’s projected enrollment appears to be on the decline. Large classes are moving out and smaller classes coming in.

Many Gull Lake area students choose to be bussed to Lacombe schools instead of attending the closest school to them, which would be Bentley. An estimated 50 more students could be added to the Bentley school if families could be drawn to Bentley.

‘Walk throughs’, where teachers walk through other classes and observe, are proving to be positive.

Staffing changes have, and will, be occurring.

Attendees were asked to think about a new motto for the school, possibly including three or four strong word that everyone, even the youngest student, could understand and remember. The motto could be built upon throughout the entire year, including the mascot.

A lot of informal discussion followed the meeting.

The next Bentley school Parent Advisory Council meeting will be held in the Bentley Junior/Senior High School video conferencing room on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. Attendees will get a chance to see what that set-up will be like.

Meetings alternate between the jr./sr. high school building and the elementary building. Those interested in the Bentley school, K to grade 12, are invited to come, bring any questions, issues or ideas they have, and find out what is being proposed for the school and its students. Input and feedback is always invited.

Over 200 entries in 2009 sled/quad rally

In spite of cold weather and little snow, well over 200 contestants participated in the 8th annual sled/quad fun poker rally on February 14 hosted by Bentley’s Monkey Top Saloon. They came from as far away as Ft. McMurray and Medicine Hat. About three-quarters of the 214 entries were snowmobiles.

To register entrants, mark the trail, man check points, and to keep a warm fire and hot dogs ready to eat at the one stop involved 18 marvelous dedicated volunteers along with some staff.

Speed was not an issue. Collecting a good, or not so good, poker hand was what was important.

Both the high hand and the low hand received an $800 payout. The high hand was held by Dave Mitchler, and the low hand by Glen Forsen.

Three random hands each got $200. They were held by Linda Sykes, Marlis Talsma, and Darren Jackson.

The diamond ring draw was won by Karen Ogilvy of Calgary.

Door prizes were given away throughout the evening.