Learning First

Learning First

Updates from Director of Instruction Carl Cooper

June 14:  Thank you Brian Pratt Johnson: 

Great night of music, and celebration last night as SAS concert bands played.  We have many talented young musicians.  I totally enjoyed the disco throw back production with band and singing – YMCA.  Former students (pictured here) many of whom are Juno nominated, working musicians, and many working in the music industry or are now SD83 music teachers came back to pay tribute top Brian.  What better way to pay tribute then play music.  Great to see so many form the community out and several well deserved standing ovations for both students, former students and of course for the retiring and amazing Brian Pratt Johnson.


June 5:  Track Meet.  A great day at Field of Dreams as several hundred grade 4-7 students from 21 District schools competed in our annual district track meet.  Here Will Fazan from Len Wood starts the 400 meter race.  I’d like to thank the many coaches who volunteer their time, parents volunteers and the track meet team led by Paul Rosman who organized the track meet.  A great day for students.


June 1:  Level 1 Math Problem of the Week

level 2 fuel frenzy

May 31:  Indigenous Graduation:  What a great evening at Splatsin Centre celebrating the graduation of our 75 Indigenous Graduates.  Pictured here are our valedictorian speakers from each high school in our district.  Thank you to Splatsin and AL Fortune for hosting and Chief Wayne Christian for his remarks and Ethel Thomas for the opening prayer.


May 31:  Congratulations to District Principal, Irene Laboucane who was honoured at the Indigenous Graduation last night.  Wonderful remarks by Darrell Jones.  Here Irene is honoured in a blanket ceremony.  Irene has been named the new Superintendent of Prince Rupert, School District No. 52.  Congratulations and good luck to Irene and thank you for all you have done to support and build our Indigenous Education staff, and to support our students.

May 31:  Information about South Canoe Kindergarten Orientation below.  June 12, 9:30 a.m. at South Canoe.

Kindergarten Orientation – SC

May 31:  Morgen MacDonald of Shuswap Middle School shares her Inquiry Project Learning about ‘student writing’ with School District 83 colleagues.  Part of Inquiry sharing organized by Kyla Hadden and Jen Kelly.


May 30:  Bastion students receiving tennis lesson. Marietjie DuPlessis of the Salmon Arm tennis club has provided free tennis lessons to approximately 400 School District 83 students. Here she is giving some instructions to Bastion Elementary students.  We thank our many community partners like the tennis club who support our students. Thanks Marietjie.   tennis-bastion.jpg

May 29:  South Canoe Updates

Open House:  June 14th (4:30p.m. -6 p.m.)

We will be hosting an open house for parents from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

There will be Parent Information, introduction of staff, updates on transportation, parking, traffic flow, student drop off, formation of PAC, student supplies for September and time for questions. Hope to see you there.

Kindergarten Orientation:  June 12th, 9:30 a.m. at South Canoe.  Our South Canoe Outdoor Learning Kindergarten Orientation for our incoming Kindergarten students AND parents is ready to host our newest students and parents.  Hope to see you there.

May 24:  Level 4 Math problem of the week.  When saving pennies becomes a Million dollars!!

level 4 all in a days work

May 23:  How to Talk and Deal with Substance Abuse Use and Your Youth.  Co-Sponsored by the DPAC, SD83 and Interior Health.  May 30th at the District Education Centre, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Substance Use & Your Youth

May 17:  Inaugural SD83 Math Olympics a huge success.  We had 180 students participate in the first every SD83 Math Olympics, May 16th at Shuswap Middle School with teams from almost every school.  Events included creative math problem solving, architectural builds, Sudoku 3-Dimensional challenges, bungee cord tensile strength problem and many more mathematical thinking challenges.

Thanks to Numeracy Coordinator Val Edgell for her many hours of preparation and work and her great team including Heather Lawless who organized all high school helpers, Doug Smith official scorer, and material preparation, Jared King for set-up. We had a number of parents help with stations and driving.  School based teachers and principals who organized teams and helped on the day.  Appreciation to Alana Giesbrecht and her cooking classes for baking cookies for all the participants.  Al Novakowski for helping with costs and also design of medals.  Finally, lots of appreciation to Heather Lawless’s 30 SAS math students who played a big role helping on the day and scoring results.


May 16:  South Canoe School Opening -Approved by Agricultural Land Commission

Today we received the much anticipated approval from the Agricultural Land Commission for South Canoe to be opened as a school site for September 2018.  South Canoe has an active website (https://sca.sd83.bc.ca) which will be updated regularly with new information.

Shortly we will be announcing the principal and then posting teaching and support staff positions and begin the process of hiring staff.  We thank you for your patience while we awaited final approval.  We look forward to a truly unique and excellent educational opportunity for your child(ren).

I would also like to thank the many great people that have worked hard to make this a reality on our district, district staff, parents, community members, South Canoe community and many more.  In particular, I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the Outdoor Learning Committee who started work on this project two years ago, and have put in countless hours of hard work.  Outdoor Learning Committee members are:  Amanda Bowlby, Ceren Caner, Emily Styles, Adam Barraball, Chris Stromgren, Susan Brown, Kira Limber, Stacy Morrison, Irene LaBoucane, Glen Overgaard and Isabelle Gervais.

Finally a thank you to our Superintendent, Peter Jory and Trustee, Mike McKay for supporting this initiative.  Looking forward to welcoming the first students ever to the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe in September.

May 11:  Level 3 math challenge of the week.  How much hot chocolate for your hockey team.  level 3 Timmy hot chocolate

May 10:  We had 1051 students participate in the District Elementary Cross Country race at Field of Dreams today.  Thanks to all the volunteers, coaches, drivers, and runners!! Great event.  Largest single gathering of SD83 students at a single event.

May 7:  We have 60 teams from around the district ready to go for the Math Olympics, May 16th at Shuswap Middle School.  Thanks to Math Lead – Val Edgell for all her organization and all the teachers and educators at schools to organize students.  Should be a fun event with lots of learning.

May 2: Everything Shuswap Grants given out to schools.  Through the generosity of Jim Cooperman, we were able to give out $8845 worth of grants to teachers to support students with Outdoor Learning, Shuswap.  1113 students will directly benefit from these grants supporting outdoor focused field trips (Kingfisher, Watershed, Larch Hills, Raven Trail, Adams Lake, North Fork and more).

Copies of the book can be purchased at local bookstores, Askew’s, Blind Bay Village Grocer and other local stores, the book is also available in community and school libraries.  We thank Jim for his partnership, support of students and his advocacy for education about nature and our local community.


April 26:  Core Competency Bulletin Board in Sandra Major’s grade 2 class at Ranchero.  Sandra is also one our Instructional Learning Teachers.  This bulletin board allows students to ‘show’ which core competency they are using ‘in the moment’ by moving their picture.

interactive bulletin board.png

April 23:  Stage is Set.  Stage is set for RUMPLESTILTSKIN, showing at South Broadview, May 1 and 2. Lois Towgood and I are helping students put on school play…3 weeks of rehearsals and we’re 8 days away!! Always great to see kids on stage.  I never took drama or had any training, but 20 years ago saw Lois Towgood and Robin Burgess put on a play at Parkview Elementary.  They invited me to help, I’ve been hooked ever since.  Seeing how a group of students work together, relying on each other to create something they’ll always remember and always be proud of. DbafzzYVMAALG4c.jpg

April 20:  Flashback Friday.  Hard to believe it was 6 years ago, that construction workers at the old MV Beattie school discovered a time capsule inside the school cornerstone (dated 1913), inside were newspapers from 1912.  One detailed the sinking of the Titanic (below the fold) and discussion of the Enderby Tennis Club Shed (above the fold).  Those newspapers and other parts of that time capsule are on display at MV Beattie.  It also inspired us to construct of 4 time capsules for future generations (25 years, 50 year, 100 year anniversary of MV Beattie fire -2075, and 100 year school anniversary).

April 19:  Math problem of the week – Level 4 challenge.  Problems of the week (5 different levels) are sent out each week to all our schools

level 4 quadrilateral.

April 17 Water Safety Presentations in our schools.

Thanks to the Shuswap Lifeboat Society.  Operating RCMSAR 106 (Shuswap) for organizing water safety presentations for our schools.

  • Thursday, May 3 – Parkview morning, 1 presentation
  • Friday, MAY 4 – Carlinmorning – 1 presentation
  • Friday, MAY 4 – Salmon Arm West – afternoon – 1 presentation
  • Monday, MAY 7 – South Broadview – all day – 3 presentations
  • Thursday, MAY 10 – Ranchero – morning – 1 presentation
  • Thursday, MAY 10 – North Canoe – afternoon – 1 presentation
  • Thursday, MAY 17 – MV BEATTIE – morning – 2 presentations

April 12:  All over School District: Schools, students, educators, and community show support for Humboldt. Almost every house has sticks out, everyone with Jerseys and Green.  Our community to your community -Humboldt.

sticks for the boysbk -4-

April 12:  Level 2 numeracy problem of the week.  Every week our numeracy coordinator, Val Edgell sends 5 different leveled Numeracy problems to schools.

level 2 too many toys

April 12:  Meet our Instructional Learning Team

ILT poster

April 11: 

School District supporting Humboldt with Jersey/Green/Gold Day, Thursday, April 12th

Jersey Day, Thursday April 12th #jerseysforhumboldt

Canadians and beyond are grieving the tragic accident that took the lives of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey organization, in Saskatchewan on April 6.

Our District is deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts go out to everyone affected.

As you may have heard through the media, there is an initiative being organized by a group of BC mothers to support the families and friends of the Humboldt Broncos by wearing a hockey jersey on April 12.

The organizers are asking that people who wish to wear a sports jersey (or green and gold clothing), take a photo of themselves and post it on social media with the hashtag #jerseysforhumboldt .

Hockey is an important part of our communities and culture. Caring for each other and supporting each other is an important Canadian value. We invite staff and students to show their support for those who have lost loved ones, family members, friends and teammates by wearing their hockey jerseys, sport jersey or the colours green and gold, on Thursday, April 12.

We ask staff to have age appropriate conversations with students around the reasons for this day.

To learn more about #jerseysforhumboldt go to the Jersey Day Facebook page or check out this link on CBC’s website at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/it-s-just-so-relatable-b-c-hockey-moms-organize-jersey-day-in-support-of-broncos-families-1.4610501 .

 jersey-day ‘It’s just so relatable’: B.C. hockey moms organize Jersey Day in support of Broncos families | CBC News


A group of self-described B.C. hockey moms are calling on people across the country to wear a sports jersey next Thursday in tribute of the families of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims.

Information for parents, in addition to the above: 

Please be aware that tragedies such as these can be very difficult. If you, or your child, are having difficulties please feel free to contact the school for phone numbers of local agencies that are available to assist you.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal.

April 11:  Me to We for 2019

Please see an opportunity for our grade 9-12 school district students to participate in our ongoing (approaching one decade now) involvement with Me to We and making a difference in our world.  Please see details on the poster below.  Out District is incredibly proud of how our students (over $100,000 raised) give back to our world and community and make our world a better place.

trip to nicaragua

April 6:   Math Problem of the week

Level 5 (hardest) – problem of the week from Val Edgell our Numeracy Coordinator….. this one is challenging!  Fast Ferries.

Every week our Numeracy team sends five problems of the week to schools (ranging from easy to hard -Kindergarten to upper grade challenges).

level 5 fast ferries

April 5:

Literacy Intervention Results.  This is year 7 of our highly successful Early Literacy Intervention Program.  We follow EVERY student that we have provided intensive reading support to in grade 1 to see if our program and support ‘sticks’.  Our program is based on the belief that if we provide powerful support in grade 1 to non-readers and get them to grade level that their ability to keep reading at grade level will continue well beyond grade 1.  As a result we follow and assess our students every year.  Below is a graph showing our original students from our first year, 7 years ago.  70% of our original non-readers are at or above grade level reading, indeed 35% are EXCEEDING grade level expectations.  Our program currently runs at Parkview,  MV Beattie, South Broadview, Highland Park, Salmon Arm West, Carlin and Hillcrest.

grade 7-Early Literacy

Mar. 14:  Math problem of the week.  Level 5 -probability challenge, Yahtzee.

Level 5 Yahtzee

Mar. 14:  District Numeracy Committee is working on a district created math assessment aiming to pilot this May.  The assessment will be connected to the critical concepts documents.  Below are links to Critical Concept overview, and then Kindergarten to grade 5 Critical Concept documents.  Great work by the Numeracy Team.

Critical concept documents from the SD83 District Numeracy Committee

Kindergarten Critical Concept Nov 2017

Grade 1 critical concepts Nov 2017

Grade 2 critical concept sheet Nov 2017

Grade 3 critical concepts Nov 2017

Grade 4 critical concepts Dec 2017

Grade 5 critical concepts Nov 2017

Grade 5 critical concept – fractions

Mar. 12:  Student Talent show this Friday at MV Beattie once again sponsored by Music Teacher Carey Lelond.  Here staff members (L to R) Brent Huntington (guitar), Stephen Pyle (vocals), and Raegan Petch (drums) practice for their performance on Friday.  Great to have staff involved and willing to step up with students.

Mar. 12:  Spatial reasoning and problem solving two key numeracy concepts for students.  We were challenged by Numeracy Leader Val Edgell last week to solve this 5 x 5 grid (Suduko-like) to ensure that every row and column has a tower of different heights (1 to 5) and to ensure that from ground level you see the ‘correct’ number of towers written at the end of the row/column.  Couldn’t figure it out, so took it home.  Persistence is a very important characteristic that our students need to succeed…. I needed a little to solve this challenge. Good lesson and reminder for us adults.

Mar. 9:  Check out – Len Wood Middle School’s ‘self-directed, access anytime, anywhere learning”’ as developed and supported by teachers Brad Justason and Jason Inkster for Grade 8 Explorations.  


Mar. 8:  Here is one of our weekly math problems of the week that goes out to schools every week.  District Numeracy Leader Val Edgell prepares these every week for our students, teachers and schools.  This is a level 1 problem, with the solution attached.

Level 1 Haley’s hiking

Mar. 7:  47 Late French Immersion registrations last night.  We have room for all interested students for next year.  Anyone interested in registering for Late French Immersion should register at Shuswap Middle, on a first come basis.  We still have room for more students.

Mar. 6:  Reminder of Late French Immersion Meeting tonight for parents of current grade 5 students. 6 p.m. at Shuswap Middle School. Late FI brochure 2018

Mar. 1:  Meet the SD83 Instructional Learning Team (ILT)

We are a team of educators from School District No. 83 in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. Our goal is to connect with other educators in our district to create meaningful professional learning opportunities which will support student learning and engagement. Members of the Instructional Learning Team are available to support interested educators through co-planning, co-teaching, and co-learning. If you are interested in working with the ILT as an individual or as a school team, please contact an ILT member directly or Jennifer Findlay at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca.

Jessa Clark: Jessa has been teaching at high schools throughout SD83 for the past 9 years with a focus in Math, Science and Technology. She is excited to join the ILT as the Middle/High School Ed Tech Support Teacher. She hopes to share some of the successes (and failures) she’s experienced when incorporating technology into her lessons, help build interest in technology as a tool and continue to grow her knowledge of available EdTech resources. jeclark@sd83.bc.ca

Leslie Drinovz: Leslie is currently the Gifted Inclusion Teacher in SD83 who works with many students across the district in many different schools. She recently moved from Sea to Sky School District where she taught for over 20 years in grades 1 to 4 and was also a member of their Instructional Leadership Team. Leslie would love to work collaboratively with colleagues in SD83 and she is excited to be a part of this team of teachers who are willing to work together to support students. ldrinovz@sd83.bc.ca

Jennifer Findlay: Jen is currently the Early Learning Coordinator for the district and she also teaches Kindergarten part-time at Parkview Elementary. She is excited to be a part of the Instructional Learning Team and looks forward to collaborating and learning with the team members and educators around the district. jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca

Jennifer Kelly: Jen has worked as our district literacy helping teacher for the past three years. She has four years of experience working as a literacy intervention teacher and is passionate about helping to support teachers with balanced literacy in the classroom and how to support our students who are struggling developing their reading processing system. She has taught courses at UBCO and TRU on early literacy and language arts. jkelly@sd83.bc.ca

Laurelle Larmand: Laurelle has spent most of her teaching career as a primary teacher at small rural schools in our district. She currently teaches Grade 2/3 at Hillcrest. As an Elementary/Middle School Writing Support Teacher, Laurelle is excited about this opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and explore how we can help students become passionate and lifelong writers. llarmand@sd83.bc.ca

Sandra Major: Sandra began her teaching career in elementary education at an all-girls private school in Vancouver in 2003. Upon moving to Salmon Arm in 2012, she worked for the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS) as the Children’s Literacy Outreach Coordinator. Currently, she teaches Grade 2 at Ranchero Elementary. As an Elementary/Middle Literacy Support Teacher, she is hopeful that she can be helpful to those teachers who, like her, value the time to reflect, learn and collaborate with others. smajor@sd83.bc.ca

Quinn Olson: Quinn trained as a middle school generalist teacher through the University of Victoria. He has been teaching in a variety of schools in SD83 since 2013 and is currently teaching Grade 8 at Shuswap Middle School. As the ILT representative for middle school assessment, he intends to promote healthy conversations and provoke curiosity through collaborative discussion around assessment possibilities and the new curriculum. qolson@sd83.bc.ca

Emily Styles: Emily currently teaches French Immersion Kindergarten at Bastion Elementary. She has also taught Grades 1, 3, elementary music, and ESL in Russia, China, and South Korea. Emily is passionate about how Outdoor Learning and Indigenous Perspectives can tap into natural and fulfilling ways of learning and teaching. Emily is excited to work collaboratively with other educators to explore First Peoples’ Principles of Learning and/or Outdoor Learning. estyles@sd83.bc.ca

Rhys Waters: While Rhys is secondary humanities trained, his experiences have taken him through most content areas, from Grade 6-12, and he currently teaches Math 7, PHE 8-12 and Leadership at A.L. Fortune. His focus with ILT is secondary assessment. He is excited to collaborate with teachers to help create assessment-rich classrooms and schools, with an emphasis on supporting learning through understandable and meaningful assessment for both educators and our learners. rwaters@sd83.bc.ca

Megan Weir: Megan currently teaches Grade 3 French Immersion and Grade 4/5 English at Bastion Elementary and has taught primary French Immersion in Salmon Arm as well as K-7 French Immersion in Burnaby and Richmond School Districts. She is excited to join the ILT as an Elementary/Middle School Writing Support Teacher. She looks forward to working collaboratively with colleagues and exploring different ways to nurture our student writers. mweir@sd83.bc.ca

Mar. 1 update:   Math Night for Parents, co-sponsored with DPAC

We had over 60 parents join us for an evening of Math, talking about and understanding the Math Curriculum and how it is taught.   The evening with provincial Math leader Carole Fullerton was informative and entertaining.  One of the highlights was a kindergarten lesson on ‘how we make and take apart 10’ using the book: One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab: A Counting by Feet Book (by April Pulley Sayre).

Feb. 20 update:  Math Night for Parents, Thursday, February 22, 6 pm at the DESC.  Come see Carole Fullerton provincially renowned math expert and facilitator, explain the why and how behind how Math is taught today.  Thanks to DPAC for co-sponsoring.


Feb. 19 update:  An update on our Report Card and Student-Parent Conference Initiative at 12 schools this year.  Over 350 parents and 60 teachers have given us great feedback.  Over 80% of parents found both the new written report card and the student-parent-teacher conference as positive, having specific individualized feedback and clear information about their child’s achievement.  Both parents and teachers (>75%) would like to see Student-Parent-Conferences continued in future years.  My appreciation to the assessment and reporting committee for their hard work in creating this initiative.  We have received some great feedback and suggestions for improvements to both the written report card and conference.  We will take this back to our team and make some refinements and the present a recommendation for our district.

2018-02-20 11_19_16-conference feedback-parents.xlsx - Excel2018-02-20 11_21_46-report card feedback-parents.xlsx - Excellevel 4 all in a days work