Around the District

A successful art fair, community support for curling, co-operation with the RCMP, school improvement planning, curriculum sessions and grad exit interviews were just some of the activities reported on by trustees and the Superintendent of Schools during the Board of Education of School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) meeting at the District Education Support Centre (DESC) on Tuesday.

Trustee Tennile Lachmuth reported on the art fair, curling lessons in Armstrong (where the venue is free and coaches are volunteers), and going to hear the RCMP quarterly report, where she said it was really nice to know that they valued the RCMP school liaison officers and that they are hoping to bring in more.

She also noted she attended part of the Silver Creek School improvement planning session. “They work very collaboratively. It is awesome everyone working together like that.”

Trustee Marty Gibbons reported on his visit to the Salmon Arm Storefront School. “I can’t say enough about the good work being done there. I was really impressed. They are keeping kids from falling through the cracks.”

Board Chairperson Marianne VanBuskirk discussed attending several Ready, Set, Learn sessions. “My accolades to co-ordinator Jen Findlay. It is a very welcoming and important program for students and their families.

She said her highlight was attending the Pink Shirt Day activities and assembly at South Broadview. “The focus was great. There were cross curricular activities. It was just so well done.”

She also mentioned attending a session on the issues with vaping in Vernon and highly recommended learning more about it.

Vice-Chairperson Quentin Burns discussed being part of the grad exit interviews at Eagle River Secondary. “I’ve never done anything like that before and it was really interesting. You get a lot of insight into the lives of our students and how their school career has gone. It also shows you the varying degrees to which students have thought about their future. It was really great and if you get a chance to do that I would recommend it.”

Superintendent Peter Jory reported students from our district captured medals at the regional Skills Canada event in Kamloops on March 8. Logan Spence-Ellis, a grade 12 student at Eagle River Secondary, won a bronze medal in welding. Also, in the team events for Grade 7-8 students, Eagle River Secondary teams captured gold and bronze in the spaghetti bridge building and a silver in the gravity car competition.

He also mentioned that several of our schools will have students heading straight to the provincial finals in Abbotsford in April competing in auto collision, robotics and website design.

Jory noted last week marked the 25thyear of the District Elementary Art Fair at Piccadilly Mall in Salmon Arm. Along with the week-long art displays from our district elementary school, approximately 320 students from grades 4-7 had the opportunity to work with local artisans in such areas as printmaking, weaving, photo tinting, copper tooling, wire sculpting and bead looming. In all there were 10 workshops and 13 artist facilitators.

A new workshop this year was the Lego Mindstorm session that introduced students to coding. Students worked with partners and used laptops to program robot movement. There was also a great clay session where students made clay mugs!

He added that this was retired SD83 art teacher, Terry Greenhough’s 12th year of facilitating the pen and ink drawing techniques workshop. 

“I want to thank Principal Jeff Abbott, who is stepping down as co-ordinator after five years. Principal Kirsten Mazur will take his place and join continuing co-ordinator Principal Corrinne Langston in organizing the art fair.”

Jory also told the Board about a recent project at Len Wood Middle School. The class reps did an interesting project with their fellow students where the focus was on gossip and rumours. They used the analogy of the environment of LWMS being like a glass of clean water. They used a spoonful of dirt to represent gossip and put it in the water. Gossip changes the environment of LWMS. They then tried to syphon out the dirt with a sieve and got most out but a little stays in. 

He wrapped up by noting that soon after Spring Break our district curriculum team will be hosting parent sessions to discuss and answer questions about the new B.C. curriculum and paths to graduation. These presentations are an excellent opportunity for parents and caregivers to learn more about the changes to their children’s learning. There are five sessions in total with the first at Len Wood Middle on April 4 at 6 p.m. Information on the sessions has been shared out to parents and on the district website. It is important to note that if you have a conflicting schedule, parents can attend any session, it doesn’t have to be in the area where they live.