Second speech pathologist hired in Prince Rupert School District

A much-sought after second speech language pathologist is now working in the Prince Rupert School District.

A much-sought after second speech language pathologist is now working in the Prince Rupert School District.

Chris Lightfoot was hired for the district’s second speech language pathologist position on Nov. 10, joining Katherine Crossley who started back in September. Both are working to prevent, assess, diagnose, treat and help children overcome challenges in communication.

“We’re very excited because it means we’re going to be able to give full service across all grades, which is something we have wanted very much for a long time,” Sandra Jones, superintendent of SD52, said.

In July of 2013, both of the district’s speech language pathologists resigned, with only one of the positions being filled in the 2013/14 school year. But come June 2014, another resignation left SD52 looking for two new hirings.

“We have generally had difficulty filling both positions for a speech language pathologist,” Linda Hikida, district principal of student support services, said.

Hikida said when there has been only one speech language pathologist working in schools, the concentration has been on early intervention services.

“This means that we provide the majority of services to the elementary schools with some consultative services to the middle and high school,” she said.

During the 2014/15 budget process the board of education decided to cut out $99,000 that was recommended to be set aside in case a second speech language pathologist was recruited. But Cam McIntyre, secretary-treasurer of SD 52, said there’s a sufficient amount of surplus to cover costs for the current year.