Trustees went around the table updating the Board on the activities they have been involved with over the past month, including attending concerts and meetings.
Trustee Marty Gibbons wanted to give special note to Sorrento music teacher Patrick Larsen, who managed to come out and conduct the winter concert even though his wife had just had a baby!
Superintendent of Schools/CEO Peter Jory offered congratulations to 17 of SD83 graduates from June 2018, who were part of the Youth Work in Trades program – formerly known as secondary school apprentices – who earned $1,000 scholarships through the Industry Training Authority. In order to qualify for this scholarship a student must be registered as a youth apprentices, complete a minimum of 900 hours in an apprentice, graduate with a Grade 12 Dogwood or Adult Dogwood, successfully completed WRK 11A, 11B, 12A and 12B, and have a C+ average or better in their grade 12 courses. Just to give you an idea of the type of apprenticeships our students are involved in the winners were in everything from aircraft maintenance, mechanic, welder, metal fabricator, to hairstylist and dairy production technician.
Jory also told the Board about happenings at Grindrod Elementary where Principal Jeff Abbott, who is also the coach of the school’s mixed volleyball team, wanted to inspire his young players to develop a love and appreciation for the games so he decided to take the team to watch some University of B.C. Okanagan (UBCO) volleyball games. He noted the kids were excited to be at the game and were impressed with the skills of the older players. One thing the kids noticed right away was that the older players spent a lot of time on the floor…. so they asked if their team could have knee pads, which he went out and bought, so that they could try that as well. He said watching the older players really helped inspire the program as the kids were excited to learn and keen to practice and play – which they did, not only against schools in the district league but the young team also challenged the staff and parents to games to further hone their skills. Jeff reports his students so enjoyed and learned from attending the games he plans on doing this with the basketball team as well!
Jory also let trustees know about Parkview Elementary’s first, and hopefully annual, Family Maker Night on January 31st during Unplug and Play Week. There will be five stations for families to choose from including robotics, STEM kits, circuits and a building maker station based on the theme of the Three little Pigs.
He also told trustees about a special gesture by the Enderby Mayor and Council, who in December, with a few helpers, took on the daunting task of feeding breakfast to all the students and staff at M.V. Beattie – close to 300 people. Hot chocolate flowed in abundance, pancakes were flipped with ease and there was juice for one and all. The holiday gesture was greatly appreciated by students and staff alike.
He also invited trustees and audience to attend the annual Elementary Pirate Loppet coming up on February 1. The loppet starts at 10:30 a.m. with 5K, 2K and a 1K route. Jory noted the is looking forward to once again being one of the starters for the fun event.
Trustee Marty Gibbons suggested to the Board that it should consider having a risk committee as well as a regular item on the agenda on risk assessment and mitigation. “This may sound alarmist but practicing is really important. It is up to us as a district to develop a risk adverse culture, and that starts with us. We need to work with senior management to see how we can support this.”
It was noted that all of the schools and facilities have a health and safety committee, however, Gibbons noted risk management is bigger than that. “Risk is really anything that can do harm to the district – it could be anything from declining enrolment to a critical incident. It’s a massive topic and as a board I think we should be talking about it.”
During question period, one grandparent noted she was there to support her grandchild who was diagnosed with autism. She asked that once a CEA was assigned to a child, and a relationship formed, then CEAs not be switched. “It is quite detrimental to the child.” She said she understands it is a union/seniority issue but she feels it is bigger than that as it affects the child.
There was also a question to the Board about whether it would consider re-instating custodians to 11-12 months from the current 9 to 10 months as there is not time to do cleaning that was done years back before the change. As well as a question if custodians receiving long term service awards could have the evening off to attend the board meeting where the awards were presented.