Staying Connected

stayingconnectedjuneDear North Okanagan-Shuswap School District Community Members:

download.pngGraduations, retirements, transitions, summer weather and suddenly another school year is about to end.  One of the hallmarks of every community is our commitment to celebrate significant milestones.  Continue Reading

In education, we start with the excitement and apprehension of welcome to kindergarten and, for staff, the beginning of a wonderful career.

The years fly by and we find ourselves at other events: awards days, graduations, retirements and other farewells.  Those special times are so rich because of what has led up to them – the hard work, the collaboration, the trust – all which describe parents, learners and educators who are fully engaged in the journey.

As we listen to valedictory addresses, toasts to retirees and best wishes to those who are leaving the district for other opportunities, I hope we can take a moment to remember what has shaped that moment.  People who bring good will, skill and eagerness to learn as elements of their character help to make up the North Okanagan-Shuswap story.  These are good communities. We hope that every retiree leaves with a sense of accomplishment and pride, whatever their role.

We also watch with anticipation to see the impact our graduates will have on the world. We hope their experiences in classrooms, labs and shops and on sports fields and stages have enhanced their capacities, increased their resilience and built the leadership traits that will serve them well.

Congratulations one and all.  Enjoy the next adventures.  They are just around the corner!


Transportation Review
transportation reviewAs parents likely know, the transportation review resulted in some route changes for 2018-19.  The transportation department has committed to communicating with families in order to enable planning for the 2018-19 school year.  Continue Reading

Our goal is to provide quality, predictable and reliable access to transportation within the resources available and to make bus routes efficient in order to decrease ride time for those students who, in the past, have spent up to 90 minutes extra per day on bus runs that had been extended beyond our transportation guidelines mandate. We know that the changes will result in some frustration and inconvenience, but the new schedule should ensure that there are seats available for all eligible riders every day.  The Transportation staff will monitor the situation in the early Fall to see if further adjustments can be made to increase access while maintaining efficiency. For further detail, I encourage you to review the Transportation Report on the website by clicking here

Trustee Elections
Trustee election infoCommunity members are encouraged to consider running for a position on the Board of Education in the Oct. 20, 2018 elections.  We have held two candidate information sessions so that interested people can get a sense of what is involved in good governance.Continue Reading

 The powerpoint slides that were shared at those sessions can be read here.  Candidates may also wish to review the Report from June 2016, authored by Liz Watson, on local governance and operations.  Ms. Watson made 42 recommendations which have been addressed over the two years since my appointment as Official Trustee (Watson report available by clicking here).  The new board will consist of five members, with that change being approved by the Minister of Education following a report and recommendation that can be read here. 

Special Farewells

15It is always “risky business” to identify and offer thanks to a very few people of the many who are moving on from their work with the school district.  In this instance, I am prepared to take that risk as three hardworking advocates for education are leaving.

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North Okanagan-Shuswap Teachers’ Association president Brenda O’Dell is retiring in September.  I have appreciated working with Brenda during the two years when the district has been in Official Trustee status.  She has been a strong and positive advocate for education and a creative problem solver as we navigate many challenges and see new opportunities.  At the Partner Group Table which meets every month, Brenda takes the responsibility of partnership seriously and thoughtfully.  She has added much to the discussions and we wish her well.

Kari Wilkinson has served as a member of the District Parents’ Advisory executive and most recently as its president.  Kari is stepping away from those duties to focus on other family and work priorities.  Over my two years in the district, I have had many opportunities to engage with Kari on important issues in SD 83.  She has been a tireless advocate and, along with the rest of the executive team, provides strong leadership on behalf of parents.  A role like DPAC president can be 24/7 in providing advocacy support, constructive criticism and in sharing perspectives on proposed directions.  Kari has my thanks and that of the senior district team.  She is another key member at the Partner Group Table and her input is appreciated.

Irene LaBoucane is our District Principal of Indigenous Learning.  She has recently been selected as the successful candidate for the superintendency of School District #52, Prince Rupert.  Irene brings wisdom, tradition and a strong sense of her role in being a voice for Indigenous learners at the education table.  She has worked with our local bands and their Education Directors and has provided guidance to school and district staff as we continue to create paths for brighter futures for all learners.  Irene has been instrumental in the development and monitoring of the Local Education Agreement and the Indigenous Education Enhancement Agreement.  We thank her for all her work and wish her well in Prince Rupert.

1206557Summer is here and school is almost out. Preparations are under way for 2018/19. From summer cleaning programs to maintenance and facilities upgrades, our schools will be busy places over the summer.  May it be a happy and healthy one for all, whether at work or enjoying the natural beauty of the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

Mike McKay, Official Trustee

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