Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 09, 2012 - 7:37 am

It’s back to school for students in Taloyoak

“Kids are always excited to be back"

SAMANTHA DAWSON
New and old staff members at Taloyoak's Netsilik School head off to nearby Canso Lake Aug. 3 for an afternoon on-the-land before the start of school on Aug. 7. (PHOTO COURTESY OF G. PIZZO)
New and old staff members at Taloyoak's Netsilik School head off to nearby Canso Lake Aug. 3 for an afternoon on-the-land before the start of school on Aug. 7. (PHOTO COURTESY OF G. PIZZO)

School starts early for students in Taloyoak and Gjoa Haven where they headed back to school Aug. 7.

While students in the rest of Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region won’t return to school until later this month, no one is complaining about going back to school in Taloyoak, said Gina Pizzo, the principal of Netsilik School.

“Kids are always excited to be back,” said Pizzo, adding that they’ve been asking her for a couple of weeks now when school would start.

However, once the school year gets underway, keeping kids in school is a different story.

There are always certain times when absenteeism is high, such as in December and January and then again during the spring, when “you’ll see a dip in attendance,” Pizzo said.

This year there are two new positions at the school, which includes 342 students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 — a gym teacher and a science teacher, positions which have been filled, Pizzo said.

In 2012, the school saw only on Grade 12 student graduate, with seven slated to graduate next spring.

To make school the place to be in Taloyoak, Pizzo said Netsilik wants to put in more extracurricular programming, such as traditional activities, hunting and camping to “cater to the needs or interests of students.”

As well, the school’s music program will be extended to the students in the elementary levels.

“I’m looking forward to the new year,” said Pizzo, named an outstanding principal earlier this year for her ability to bring the community into the classroom and instill cultural pride among her students.

In Nunavut’s Baffin and Kivalliq regions, classes start up later this month.

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