Following is a brief report of items discussed at the February 28, 2018 Board of Education meeting.
As of February 20, our kindergarten registration numbers are: Cawston Primary – 18, Okanagan Falls Elementary – 10, Oliver Elementary – 37, Osoyoos Elementary – 18, Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary – 22, for a total of 105. The Board is encouraging any parents of children who will be five years old by December 31, 2018 (those children born in 2013), to register their child at their local school before March 16, 2018. This will provide the school and district with information to plan for staffing and budgets to schools. Parents must bring their child’s birth certificate and medical card with them at the time of registration.
On February 16th a group of 16 elementary administrators and teachers travelled to Vancouver on a mini-bus to visit Norma Rose Point (NRP) School. Four of our elementary schools were represented for this professional development opportunity. NRP is a public Grade K-8 school located on the UBC grounds in Vancouver. At NRP our team experienced a collaborative, inquiry, project-based school that utilizes a collective approach to working with students to engage and empower them in their learning. Teachers at NRP all work in teams and co-plan and teach groups of students with an interdisciplinary approach. The goal of visiting other schools that are successfully implementing innovative approaches is to provide inspiration and ideas of how we can improve our own practices in our schools that will improve learning for students.
A training day for school administrators and senior staff from both School District No. 67 and School District No. 53 was led by Theresa Campbell on February 21st. Members of the RCMP were also in attendance. Theresa Campbell is the President of Safer Schools Together, an organization focused on promoting a climate and culture of safety in schools. She is also the Executive Director for the International Centre of Threat Assessment. The training provided a general overview of Violence-Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) best practices including digital threat assessment. It was valuable to receive this training with local RCMP. On March 6, 2018 we will be bringing a team back to SD 67 for training in Digital Threat Assessment. There was also a public workshop from Safer Schools Together that was held in the SOSS library on February 27 on “Raising Digitally Responsible Youth” which was well attended.
Okanagan Falls Elementary School proudly hosted the Okanagan-Similkameen Days this year. Grade 3 students from around the district joined Okanagan Falls Elementary students to learn about and celebrate the Okanagan and Similkameen cultures. It was very successful. Students participated in different activities including traditional games, talking circle, artifacts, place names, hunting protocols, history and traditions of the Okanagan and Similkameen People. We would like to thank Helen Gallagher and our Indigenous Advocates for doing such an amazing job in organizing and running the day and to Karen Sinclair and the staff at Okanagan Falls Elementary School for being such gracious hosts.
The Board discussed the upcoming round of Provincial Consultations that the Ministry of Education is conducting regarding the Education Funding Formula. The Board intends to make several representations to the Ministry as well as to the travelling committee and has asked all PACS in the district to provide their input as part of those submissions. Any changes to the funding formula must not create a climate of “winners and losers” amongst districts.
The Board will be writing a letter to the Premier asking him to release the Rural Schools’ Report which is now being protected and unreleased as a cabinet privilege document. This issue was discussed at length as no Boards in the province have seen this document yet, even thought it was created as a public document with public funds. Additionally, BCSTA (British Columbia School Trustees Association) has been advocating for the release of the document, thus far to no avail. The Ministry has stated that they will be using what they feel are relevant sections to form their decisions, but since we can’t see the document, there is absolutely no accountability on this point.
There will be a link on our website shortly to some preliminary resources the BCSTA has created for those considering running to be a trustee in the elections in the fall. I would encourage anyone who may be interested to check out this information. There will be a district specific link to this resource available on the various municipal websites when it is ready as well.
Rob Zandee, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)