School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen) Board of Education Report
We are off to a very positive school start for the 2017/18 school year, partly due to the positive financial position that the School District is in as well as all the staff additions and changes that are primarily due to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision on class size and composition. It was wonderful to meet so many of our new staff at the New Employee Welcome in Oliver – we have a lot of young, energetic new staff joining us.
Final enrolment was due on September 30th but early enrolment indicators show that we have approximately 30 FTE (Full time equivalent students) more than anticipated but 19 FTE less than September 2016. Exact enrolment at each school will be available at the next Board Meeting.
The Board of Education received its audit report from Mr. Russ Jones (Deputy Auditor General from the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia) at our September Regular meeting. The report indicated that the financial statements prepared by our senior staff fairly represented the financial position of the Board. The audited financials indicated an operating surplus on June 30th, 2017 of $2,306,583, an increase of $1,325,632 from June 2016. Most of this surplus is internally restricted and approximately $1.5 million of the surplus will be transferred to the Local Capital Fund, which is used for the maintenance and upkeep of our schools. If you are curious as to how the remaining internally restricted funds will be used, please see Note 18 of the Audited Financial Statements on the School District’s website.
The good news is that the 2016/17 school year was the first year in a very long time that the School District did not have to dip into our surplus to balance our budget at the end of the school year. The increase in surplus can be explained by increased funding grants from the Ministry of Education and also by a higher student enrolment than anticipated. This of course is good news for our district and makes for a very positive start to the 2017/18 school year especially after hearing that the Additional Student Transportation Fund will be continuing for the 2017/18 school year. This year our district will receive $209,099 – this funding is to enhance safety and services to students, reduce ride times and to increase the efficiency of our transportation service. We will also be using some of this money for transportation vouchers for our Strong Start parents who have trouble accessing Strong Start due to transportation difficulties. If you would like transportation assistance to access your local Strong Start please contact your local elementary school so that they can assist you in the application for funds.
On October 5th we will celebrate UN World Teachers’ Day. This day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. In appreciation of the vital role that teachers play in education and the development of children, SD53 and the South Okanagan Similkameen Teachers’ Union have made a joint contribution to Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan. This organization, founded by Alaina Podmorrow while in elementary school in BC, supports girls in Afghanistan and their struggle to exercise their right for education.
At our Board meeting Marcus Toneatto and Helen Gallagher presented the Aboriginal Annual Report for 2016/17. The report is available on the School District website and included some Promising Practices (2016/17 school year) and areas that required further effort for the 2017/18 school year. The goals for the 2017/18 school year were also discussed and include:
* To increase efforts to engage aboriginal parents and families
* To increase a sense of belonging and social emotional competencies for all Aboriginal students
* To improve the academic performance of aboriginal students
* To increase transitions and school completion rates for all Aboriginal students.
We want to thank all of our students, teachers, administrators, communities and Aboriginal Advisory Council for their dedication and hard work to ensure the success of our Aboriginal students.
We are in our second year of implementation of the K-9 revised BC curriculum. Teachers are specifically teaching the core competencies of communication, thinking and the personal and social competencies. The core competencies along with literacy and numeracy foundations and essential content and concepts are at the centre of the redesigned curriculum and assessment. Students need to develop these competencies in order to engage in deep, life-long learning. The grades 10-12 redesigned curriculum are in draft and ready for optional use for the 2017/18 school year. As with the K-9 curriculum, the redesigned grades 10-12 curriculum is intended to support both disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, encourage locally developed curriculum, and enable a variety of learning environments. Schools and classrooms are changing the way they structure learning, teach and assess learning to prepare students for a modern and changing world.
We were successful in the renewal of our $27,000 grant from Interior Health. This grant will ensure the continuation of the Health Promoting School Coordinator. Samantha Dunlop will continue as a 0.2 teacher coordinator. The focus will be:
Promotion of child and youth mental health and wellness, particularly through the early identification of the student and support to the classroom teacher and family
Promoting of child and youth healthy lifestyles, healthy weights, particularly through the teaching of healthy foods and a well-balanced life style, diet, sleep and hygiene
Igniting the conversation about choices to self medicate with tobacco, alcohol and other substances.
Editor’s note – edited for brevitiy