Following is a brief report of items discussed at the March 14, 2018 Board of Education meeting.
The board was proud to recognize that of the 33 secondary students who participated in the recent regional Skills Canada Competition in Kelowna on March 9th, 15 students were awarded either a Gold, Silver or Bronze. The 5 students who were awarded Gold are invited to compete in the provincial Skills Canada Competition in Abbotsford on April 18th. Congratulations to all students who participated!
School District 53 was one of 18 districts throughout the province who received a $10,000 language grant from the BC Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and plans are currently being made with regards to allocating this money to support indigenous language within the district.
There was a discussion regarding the government’s proposed Employer Health Payroll Tax which will be replacing MSP premiums. Trustees learned that once fully implemented, this tax will cost the district an estimated $50,000.00 per year extra in costs that will have to be budgeted for. Currently, many Boards as well as the BC School Trustees Association are advocating for the government to either exempt public entities from this tax or, at the very least, fund the increase in these costs.
The Safer Schools Network recently provided training for 14 administrators and counsellors regarding Digital Threat Assessment. This Ministry-supported training builds capacity in the school within the school context for identifying student safety issues regarding the internet and social-networking sites and potential threats to individuals or groups of students.
Letters have gone home to parents of Grade 8 students regarding the Preventure program. Preventure is a research-based program designed to provide vulnerable youth the coping skills to be resilient to alcohol or drug experimentation or use. The program consists of assessing all Grade 8 students using the Substance Use Risk Profile assessment tool. This is a 23-item questionnaire. Then, school counselors score the results and determine which Grade 8 students may benefit from two ninety-minute intervention lessons. These lessons are offered to students and it is the student’s choice if they will participate. The curriculum covered in these lessons is part of the BC government’s curriculum.
Live Differently is another project that took place in February at both SOSS and OSS that was sponsored by Healthy Promoting Schools. Grade 8-12 students at both schools participated in a 60-minute presentation that encouraged students to consider compassion as a compelling alternative to what society sometimes presents as being “great” or “successful”. Presenters shared their various mental health journeys, including domestic violence, death of a relative, and an eating disorder that lead to suicidality. The presenters then shared the success they experienced when they turned to acts of compassion in order to better appreciate and value themselves. The presentation included some guest performances from teachers, some comical one-minute spoofs and an Indy-folk rock band. They promoted community and school connectedness through compassion projects.
Graduation dates were submitted as follows:
Indigenous Graduation Ceremony- June 21, Frank Venables Theatre, 5:00 PM
YouLearn.ca – June 14th, 5:30 PM
Osoyoos Secondary School – June 28, 5:00 PM
Southern Okanagan Secondary School – June 27, Time TBD
Similkameen Elementary Secondary School – June 28, 5:00 PM
Rob Zandee, Chairperson, Board of Education
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)