Long Range Facilities Plan: The Board of Education of School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) again wrestled with the grade configuration for schools in the Salmon Arm area for the Long Range Facilities Plan, agreeing to pick up the conversation at a special meeting (date to be determined) or at the May board meeting. Discussion began with Superintendent of Schools/CEO Peter Jory outlining the process to date. Each trustee then gave their thoughts around the options (link to LRFP discussion below). Board Chair Amanda Krebs suggested, and it was approved, that as many of the people sending in letters said they felt the Jackson campus was inequitable to the Sullivan Campus, they also consider looking at Shuswap Middle School as a potential high school and turning the current Jackson campus into a middle school.
District Learning Plan: Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff presented the District Learning Plan to the Board of Education. The plan provides an overview of the proposed initiatives for curriculum and instruction in SD83 for the 2021-22 school year. She explained the Ministry of Education requires every district to create a Framework for Enhancing Student Learning (SD83’s is located here). The presented plan creates alignment and integrates the work of the district’s many departments.
Superintendent’s Report COVID: With provincial numbers hovering around a 1,000 per day, Superintendent CEO Peter Jory commented that SD83 has had a bit of a break with only three COVID exposures in schools (North Canoe, Shuswap and just recently, Jackson) since Spring Break. He said there have also been questions about school staff receiving vaccines, which several weeks ago was the plan. However, this has now changed and vaccinations will only be available to school districts that are COVID-19 hot spots. He encouraged any staff member who can get their vaccine because of their age, at a rural pop up clinic or who qualify for another reason, to do so. He also asked that people remember to follow public health guidelines. “There is a lot of activity out there. Please be careful.”
Amazing donation: Jory shared some good news with the Board as retired teacher, Helen Sidney, donated $100,000 to her former school. The funds will be used to transform Armstrong Elementary’s library into a learning commons and to celebrate the school’s upcoming 100th anniversary. Jory commented he thinks this is the largest donation the school district has ever received and the school district is incredibly thankful to Mrs. Sidney for her generosity.
Song goes International: Congratulations to staff member Tara Willard! Tara, an Indigenous Education Worker, created and performed The Ancient River Song, which will be played by the Canadian Embassy in China to celebrate Earth Day. After creating the video she worked with Wapikoni, an organization that distributes a great number of Indigenous short films and videos. They recently contacted her with a request from the Canadian Embassy in China to show the video on Earth Day to promote Indigenous cultures and the need to protect the environment. Here is the link to the song: Setétkwe (Ancient River Song) | Wapikoni mobile
Opportunity for our parents; Jory also told trustees there is an opportunity in early May for parents to participate in a virtual workshop aimed at helping them support their youth as they explore options and make decisions about education and career. This event is designed for parents of grade 9-12 students wanting to provide encouragement and the necessary information to help their youth build their career path. This Work BC workshop is being held twice, once on May 4th and for a second time on May 6th from 7 to 8 p.m. SD83’s very own District Principal Reid Findlay will be hosting the session on May 6th.
Secwepemc Flag Raising: The Board gave approval to the installation of a new flag pole and raising of the Secwepemc flag at the District Education Support Centre (DESC). The flag raising ceremony will be held with only a few people in attendance to meet COVID regulations. Flags will also be sent out to all SD83 schools so that they can be in place by June 21, Indigenous People’s Day. Trustees expressed that this was a good step forward and were excited that it was happening.
National Day of Mourning: After a presentation by Trustee Marianne VanBuskirk and SD83 staff member Tammie Koroluk, whose aunt was tragically killed in a workplace accident, the Board gave approval to the lowering of the flags across the district in recognition of the National Day of Mourning on April 28, 2021. The National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.
Game Design 11/12: The Board of Education gave approval to a Board Authority/Approved Course of Game Design 11/12. This course will be offered at Salmon Arm Secondary (Sullivan Campus). The Game Design 11 /12 course is designed to address gaps in existing courses and will blend a number of curriculum together, including long established elements of the BC curriculum. Game Design 11/12 will prepare students to enter this rapidly growing industry. There are many elements within Game Design that are careers within themselves: design, game theory, storytelling, 2D/3D modelling, specialized coding, game art, and more. In discussing the proposal with trustees, Principal Rob Cadden reported that the school is very excited about this course. He said they have been offering Game Design for some time but teacher Brad Hampel has put hours into developing the curriculum. Cadden says Hampel brings a wealth of industry background, knowledge of the local tech industry, passion and excellent teaching skills to the course. Several trustees noted that it looks like a great course and opportunity for students and they hope it will expand to other schools in the district.
Student Representation: Trustee Quentin Bruns has requested that trustees and district staff think about, and bring forward ideas to discuss, ways to help establish some form of student council/student leadership/student government in SD83 high schools, so that students have the opportunity to learn and experience governance on a student level. It would also mean that students on Board committees would be representing their school and student body. “Getting representative leadership is important,” he added.
2021-22 Annual Facilities Grant: The Board received the 2021-22 Annual Facilities Grant (AFG) Spending Plan. Secretary-Treasurer Alanna Cameron explained the AFG is intended for annual facility projects required to maintain facility assets through their anticipated economic life and to prevent premature deterioration of these assets. In recognition of the need for routine maintenance of school facilities, especially regarding roofs, this allowance was provided as part of school boards’ operating budgets as a supplementary funding source for projects regularly required to extend the life of existing facilities. The amount of a board of education’s annual facility grant is calculated by the Ministry of Education using a formula based on student enrolment and average age of facilities, with an adjustment made for unique geographic factors. For 2021-22 the District will receive $1,657,756. The AGF expenditure plan includes roofing projects, gym renovation, bathroom replacement, flooring replacement and more.
Climate Action Policy – The Board gave first reading to Policy 139 Climate Action, which in part states: “School District 83 is responsible for the education and well-being of our current and future students. Additionally, we recognize that School District 83 is a large consumer of energy and resources. Both as an attempt to reduce our consumption and to serve as an example to our students, we believe that it is incumbent upon staff and students to take immediate, positive, and collective action towards mitigating climate change and adapting to its inevitable impacts.” Committee Chair Tennile Lachmuth says the draft will now go out for public consultation, and will then come back to the Board for discussion and possible second reading.
Labour Relations: Bruns reported the committee met on March 14th and continued its work on reviewing and updating Human Resources (HR) guidelines. “Hats off to Ryan (Brennan) and Alanna (Cameron) for all the work they’ve put into this.” Another topic discussed was custodial staffing for next school year and what it might look like. He noted there is significant cost to custodial services and supplies right now with the COVID situation.
BCSTA Update: Trustee Marty Gibbons reported on the provincial council meeting, which was then followed by a discussion of the BCSTA’s recent AGM. Krebs commented that the BCSTA tech team did an amazing job, particularly with online voting, something she would like to see continue even in non-pandemic times. VanBuskirk noted she also thought it was very well done. She added she has prepared a written report about the AGM which will be shared at the Board’s next meeting. Tennile Lachmuth said that she also was impressed with the virtual conference and online voting, although she missed having the face-to-face discussion with other trustees that takes place at these types of events.
FNEC UPDATE: VanBuskirk reported the next First Nations’ Education Council is on Wednesday, April 21.
Transportation Committee: Bruns reported a very productive meeting was held on April 14. He added Transportation Manager Andrea Kathrein did a great job of having the committee organized with maps and the relevant information needed to help make decisions. He said the majority of time was spent discussing possible route changes, that would mainly affect the Enderby and Grindrod area. He added there are some routes in this area which don’t meet guidelines. After a good discussion, and given the challenges that already exist, it was decided to delay any changes for one year. The committee also dealt with several concerns from parents involving busing, as well as discussing new software and hardware to track bus scheduling and maintenance. He noted the committee also looked at the costs involved in getting electric school buses however, even with the incentives, there is still a substantial price difference. He added that the district also doesn’t have the infrastructure yet to support this, and there are actually only 11 bus routes in the district that would be suitable for an electric bus. The rest are all too long or too hilly.
Five Year Capital Plan Response: The Board received notice from the Capital Management Branch that the district will receive funding from the Carbon Neutral Capital Plan Program for an energy system upgrades at Falkland Elementary ($120,000) and South Canoe ($138,000). The district also received approval from the School Enhancement Program to continue the Heating Ventilation AC upgrade for Eagle River Secondary ($1,402,000). Discussion on this item was put forward to the May meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS & REPORTS
Chair Krebs opened the meeting by thanking Secretary-Treasurer Alanna Cameron for all of her good work for the district, particularly cleaning up and streamlining processes, and her easy to read financial statements. “All the best in your new school district.” She also again thanked Superintendent Peter Jory, who is also moving on to a new district.
A RECORDING OF THIS MEETING IS AVAILABLE ON THE DISTRICT WEBSITE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK. Please scroll down to Meeting Recordings.
Dates to Remember
April 28 – National Day of Mourning
May 18 – Board of Education meeting at 6 p.m. (online)