Following are some highlights of items discussed at the April 17, 2019 School District No. 53 Board of Education meeting.
District staff reported to the Board on various items that have been occurring throughout the district. Of note, we are currently preparing to run our annual summer programs focused on reading at all elementary schools. Staff reported that some schools are considering a numeracy program for intermediate students instead of the read and tech program. The Board is supporting their planning to run at least a couple this year to see the response and outcomes.
The School District No. 53 Mental Wellness Fair will be held May 16, 9:30-1:30 in Oliver. Students in Grades 9 to 11 are invited. The day is designed to inspire student leaders to bring mental wellness knowledge to their schools and to reduce mental health stigma in their school community. The day will be very informative with presentations from Summerland Secondary student wellness mentors, as well as four break-out sessions with topics covering: Online Tools to Cope by Chad Teigen and Lisa Calder; Destressing by Laurene Sloboda and Ryan Derry; True to You Sexual Wellness by Darlene Unrau; Student Mentoring by Summerland Secondary students; Mini Sleep Clinic/Your 4 Pillars of Wellness by Tina Lovett; Vaping Foes by Alicia Totten; Art Therapy by Tonya Sonai and FOMO by Acadia University student Teegen Kew. Another presentation on traditional healing practices is still to be confirmed.
The Board passed a capital bylaw that outlines the spending of government provided capital dollars under the Five-Year Capital Plan submission. This year, the District received funds totaling $910,758 which will be allocated to building enclosure upgrades at 3 of our schools as well as 2 new buses.
The Board was informed of changes in the operating grants for the 2019/2020 school year. Further to this, there will be a budget learning forum at 7:00 pm on May 15 in the Board Office Annex. At this forum, Senior staff will present the 2019/20 draft annual budget to partner groups following which there will be a discussion on the budget. This is an opportunity for partner groups and the community to comment, respond and provide feedback on the draft budget. Invitations have been sent out to our partner groups.
Boards across the Province were informed of a Ministerial Order requiring all B.C. public schools to provide access to free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by December 31, 2019. This direction comes with $300,000 in provincial start-up funding to improve access. We are awaiting more details as to the procedures for implementing this Order.
Finally, the Board would like to remind parent communities in the district regarding kindergarten registration for the fall of 2019. Registration is open in all schools for parents to register children who will be five years old by December 31, 2019. These will be children born in 2014. Parents must bring their child’s birth certificate and medical card. We encourage all parents to register their children as soon as possible as it assists us in class planning.
Rob Zandee, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)