Following is a synopsis of items discussed at the Board of Education meeting held on June 22, 2021.
Staff and the Board offered our condolences to the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation on whose land the mass grave of 215 children was found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We also extend our condolences to all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis elders, children, parents, and community members who continue to endure the hurt and intergenerational trauma from Canada’s forced residential schooling for Indigenous children. As a school district, we are firmly committed to Truth and Reconciliation and to correcting miseducation and ensuring the truth is shared within our classrooms.
Staff advised the Board of the recently announced September return to school plan. Utilizing an additional $43.6 million investment to assist schools and districts with a safe and near-normal return to school in September, the K-12 Recovery Plan focuses on supporting ongoing health and safety measures, strengthening commitments to First Nations and Métis students, providing mental health services for students and staff, and addressing the impacts of the pandemic on student learning. Preliminary public health guidance for the K-12 sector will be confirmed in August. In the meantime, school district staff are reviewing documents and communicating with all staff to plan for September and communicating with families in advance of school reopening.
Once again, this year we will be offering literacy and numeracy summer programs in every elementary school in School District No. 53. However, this year the numeracy program at SESS takes on a different format. Teacher, Cam Adams will be offering an On the Land Numeracy class designed to get students outdoors and associate numeracy with nature. Although COVID protocolsmay be changing for the general public, our summer reading and numeracy sessions still fall under the guidelines for safety that schools have had this year. Thus, students will continue to be expected to wear masks and social distance when inside, along with frequent hand washing and stepped-up cleaning protocols.
The career education programs throughout the year were very successful. We had 45 grade 10 girls who received hands-on experience with projects in carpentry, metalwork, plumbing, and electrical in our bootcamps; our professional chef program wrapped up another successful year in association with Camosun College and our Train in Trades and Work Experience students all progressed and amassed skills which will help them further their career paths.
The Board would like to recognize the Graduates of 2021 throughout the District. We congratulate you on this milestone and hope that you embrace life-long learning.
Rob Zandee, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)