Following are some highlights from the Board of Education meeting held on January 22, 2020.
District staff reported that on November 14, the Minister of Health announced the intention to strengthen regulations to address the rise in youth vaping. The Ministry of Health is proposing new regulations under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act (TVPCA) and the Public Health Act (PHA) to be enacted April 1, 2020 outlined in this Vapour Products Intentions Paper. They are accepting comments on the proposed changes until January 24, 2020 at 4:30 PM PT. This opportunity for input has been shared with schools.
The 2018/2019 Aboriginal How are we Doing (HAWD) report was recently released. This report highlights how Indigenous students throughout our District are performing on the FSA assessments, school completion results, and student learning survey in comparison to the rest of the province. We are seeing encouraging results as our Indigenous students are performing significantly above the provincial average compared to other Indigenous students on Grade 4 and 7 FSA assessments. Another positive indicator was the improvement of nearly 9% for Indigenous 6-year school completion results. We jumped to 65% completion last year compared to 57% the previous year. This matches a 5-year high on this completion rate in our District. These improvements can largely be attributed to the hard work and continued focus in our schools to improve success for Indigenous learners and strides we have been making to ensure local culture and ways of knowing are reflected in our schools and we look forward to continued improving results.
Second Semester will see a number of exciting career education programs beginning including Gateway to Trades, a new Gateway to Technology program, a weeklong RCMP Youth Academy in Vernon and once again our Professional Cook Level 1 course in partnership with Camosun College.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, Education Minister Rob Fleming was in the District to tour Southern Okanagan Secondary and Oliver Elementary Schools. The tour focused on speaking with staff and students with a focus on Indigenous programs, inclusion, career education, and other unique programs that we have in the District such as our new pilot of the Seamless Day Kindergarten with before and after school care.
Finally, The last day of classes for students in secondary schools was Tuesday, January 21st. Students and teachers wrapped up semester 1 learning, end of semester assessments, reporting using the new proficiency scale in Grades 8 and 9, and preparing for semester 2 which begins on Monday, January 27th. Many Grade 12 students are also presenting their capstone projects for which completion is mandatory by the end of June under the new graduation requirements.
Rob Zandee, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)