|Well, Parents and Guardians, what a year that was. |
I remember being a young teacher back in the 90’s when the television show Boston Public first aired. I wanted to like it, but I got stuck on what seemed to be ten year’s worth of distractions in every single episode and how unrealistic that was for an educational setting. This is a year where I kept looking for the TV camera.
We began the year with the monsoons of September, several schools experiencing water penetration, and a two-month closure at Parkview Elementary. Full credit to everyone for their great work through this challenging time, with extra thanks going to the Parkview team for their efforts, and to the staff at the receiving schools for being so accommodating.
The winter brought a District-wide transition to MyEducationBC, the provincially endorsed student demographic program. This is a mighty endeavour, as it requires fulsome training and weeks and weeks of data correction activities at every school site. Again, full credit to our MyEd team for their thoughtful leadership, and to everyone in the field for their extra efforts to get to where we are today.
January through to March focussed on the travelling road show in support of the Draft Long Range Facilities Plan. Our Board of Education participated in more than 30 sessions with staff, students, public, and local councils in each community. It was certainly time well spent, as Trustees got to know their School District and their School District got to know them. As a result of their learning and the large amount of stakeholder input submitted, Trustees were able to make several key decisions in recent meetings and keep the Plan moving forward.
Then Spring Break brought the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of swiftly planned and executed transitions. These included Stage 5 (classrooms closed) to Stage 4 (small numbers of students in Hub schools and digital Home Learning Opportunities) to Stage 3 (hybrid of Home Learning and in-person classes). I cannot say enough about all the great work that occurred across the District during this time, and I am reluctant to start listing people for fear of leaving anyone out. I will make one exception, and point out that Parkview staff went through five start-ups this year, which must be some kind of record.
Everyone is, of course, curious about what is coming next. Recent conversations with the Ministry of Education have indicated that no decisions will be made regarding which learning Stage we will be in for September start-up until at least August 14th.
Our plan as a District is use summer as a time to rest, then jump into our planning process starting the week of August 18th. You might expect to see a few different Stages next year, but my hope is that BC will maintain its excellent response to the pandemic and that we will be able to be in Stage 1 (all students attending) for much of the school year, if not for September 8th. As always, please check our School District Website for the most recent updates.
Again, thank you to everybody for your patience and support. We could not have made it through all this without copious amounts of both of these from all of you. I also would like wish everyone a great end of year and a relaxing and SAFE summer. As always, I look forward to seeing students back in session again very soon.
Superintendent, CEO School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)
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