Highlights of SD83 Board of Education Meeting

Highlights of SD83 Board of Education Meeting

Mandatory Vaccines for District Staff
SD83 Board is asking for more information before making a determination on a mandatory vaccine policy. The Board reviewed health and survey data during the in-camera session which resulted in a directive to senior leadership to obtain more comprehensive data from Interior Health and to proceed to the consultation process involving employee groups, Indigenous rightsholders and the community as outlined in the Ministry of Education K-12 Sector Guidelines for Vaccination Policies.


Thoughts with flooded school districts
Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger began her report to the Board by acknowledging the difficulties faced by those in the BC school districts who have endured heartbreak over the past ten days as a result of the mudslides and flooding. “To SD58, SD78 and SD33 – please know that the staff and communities of SD83 are holding you close in our hearts.” She added families who have been displaced and our living in our area are welcome to attend local schools. “We want to help with any educational support we can offer during this difficult time. Hopefully, this will help restore a little normality as well as help keep the children engaged and learning.”

Student Learning – FSA, goal setting conferences, family portal and inservice on assessment practices
On the topic of student learning, Kriger updated the Board on the recent Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA), goal setting conferences, and an inservice on assessment. “Our students in grade 4 and grade 7 have just finished participating in the Foundation Skills Assessment, also known as the “FSA”. This is a provincially mandated standardized test that uses broad metrics to determine whether students are meeting curricular expectations at grade level in literacy and numeracy. SD83 uses the FSA results in conjunction with other forms of district and classroom assessments to provide a comprehensive picture as to how each student is doing, and to provide important feedback to school and district staff in regard to instruction. The data obtained from these assessments also makes up a significant portion of the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning Report (FESL) which is submitted to the Ministry in September of each year,” she explains.

“Though there are mixed opinions regarding the administration of FSA’s and the how the data is used, the timing of the FSA’s allows our teachers to use each student’s results to inform their instruction over the balance of the school year and to make sure student learning needs are being met. The results are also used to determine areas where the district needs to allocate future resources.”

Kriger added that recently Kindergarten to Grade 8 students, their parents and teachers took part in a goal setting conference. “Our goal is to provide parents with a clear understanding where their children are in their learning journey and to set personalized learning goals so that the school and parents can work together to support their child’s continued growth.” These goals are being entered into MyEd (the provincial student data system) and members of the SD83 Education Technology team are supporting staff in this work.

Kriger noted that the Family Portal feature of MyEd B.C. is now up and running in all SD83 schools. The Family Portal allows families to have all the up to date data in regards to how their children are doing in school, including assessments and reports. She thanked staff on the district’s EdTech Team for their work in helping families with this transition.

Still with student learning, but on a different front, Kriger shared with trustees that a recent inservice on assessment practices with author and teacher Myron Dueck was fantastic. “Research indicates that quality assessment positively affects levels of student learning, student efficacy, and learner engagement. Teachers play a critical roll in using thoughtful, differentiated assessment practices, focused feedback, and clear reporting guidelines to support student learning and success. The primary purpose of these principles is to improve student learning by identifying the best practices, strategies and tools for authentic classroom assessment. SD83 has started this work with Secondary PVP’s and lead teachers. SD83 will continue to create a scaffolded approach to revising assessment practices across the district.”

Seamless Day Update
“I’m happy to say that it’s official and SD83 will have a Seamless Day Program available beginning in January at Silver Creek,” Kriger told trustees. “This program gives children continuity throughout the day on their learning journey. Access to quality, inclusive care and early learning is critical in supporting parents. The expansion of the program will continue to foster connections between the education and child care sectors. This is part of government’s 10-year ChildCare BC plan, as the Province works to build an inclusive universal child care system that meets B.C. communities’ growing child care needs.” Thanks to District Principal Jen Findlay for all the work she’s done and looking forward to what it might look like across the school district.

School Closures at M.V. Beattie & Falkland
Two of our schools were closed, for different reasons, at times last week, noted Kriger. As most are aware, Interior Health declared an ‘outbreak’ at M.V. Beattie Elementary School in Enderby, and students switched to remote learning for a week. “I want to thank the Principal Gene Doray and the staff at Beattie for the many ways they went above and beyond to ensure that the students at their school continued to have learning opportunities while the school was closed. When a school closes, there are many people who are called on to assist. I’d like to thank Travis Elwood and his team in Operations for ensuring that the school received a ‘deep clean’ while students were away from school.” Kriger also thanked Interior Health for their ongoing support. “We can always rely on Dr. Mema to provide guidance, Vianne Kintzinger has been an outstanding help supporting us with communications and notifications as well as Dave Cavezza who assists with environmental scans when we have an outbreak.”

She also noted that Falkland School was closed for a day last week as it experienced a significant power outage on November 16th, which compromised the schools’ ability to provide drinking water and proper sanitation conditions. “I’d like to thank Principal Shelly Cull for taking quick action in reaching out to me. A school closure with short notice is always challenging for parents and so I’d like to express my appreciation to them for their patience and understanding.”

CBC Music Class Challenge

Kriger shared with trustees that every fall, CBC Music in association with MusiCounts — the charity of the Juno Awards — launches the Canadian Music Class Challenge, a contest to engage music classes across the country with Canadian music. The goals to this project are:

  • To have students learn Canadian music in the classroom.
  • To draw attention to the exceptional work music teachers are doing with children across the country.
  • To reinforce the importance of music in a well-rounded education.

This year Hillcrest Elementary School and Bastion Elementary School in Salmon Arm have entered the challenge with the Hillcrest class performing “Safe and Sound” and the Bastion students performing “Small but Mighty”. The videos will be available for viewing on the CBC Music Class Challenge website.

Upcoming Salmon Arm & Armstrong Reconfiguration Meetings

Kriger noted that one of the necessary and unifying conversations in each of the reconfiguration meetings was to establish meeting norms. “It makes me proud to share that the Salmon Arm Reconfiguration Committee determined a set of shared beliefs which they will keep front and centre within their work.”
The committee agreed that any decisions would be based on the belief that a strong high school experience should:

  • Keep students first
  • Reduce barriers to success
  • Have a supportive and positive climate for staff and students
  • Include a strong system of support based on authentic relationships
  • Have a welcoming environment
  • Provide a variety of elective opportunities
  • Include opportunities for innovation, a place to discover your passion
  • A sense of pride and opportunities for family engagement
  • Provide student “voice” and ownership with a sense of belonging

The Salmon Arm working committee will be touring schools in Salmon Arm on Wednesday with Assistant Superintendent Ryan Brennan leading the tour.

New Data
Kriger reported to the Board that with respect to reconfiguration the demographers which SD83 and many school districts use, Baragar, have sent updated projections. The Board determined that the new data, along with different variations and configurations, would go to the next meeting of the Armstrong and Salmon Arm reconfiguration working committees. Assistant Superintendent Ryan Brennan commented he spent some time looking at the new data and for the most part the changes are not overly significant. “They are similar to what we saw in the fall.” He said some of the trends we saw in the original data are there but there are some differences. The new information and how it impacts the options will be shared out to the public after the committee meetings. There was significant discussion around this topic, with some questions about whether the original date of making changes in 2022 was still the plan. Board Chair Amanda Krebs pointed out it has been stated several times that that COVID has changed the playing field and eased some of the enrolment pressures. She added that the working committee will be given time to do its work, then it will come back to the Board who will look at the information and then consult on the committees’ recommendations.

Music Program Update (16:17 of Meeting Recording)
“There is a lot of data about how music makes us smarter,” commented Music Vice-Principal Michelle Reed in her update to the Board. “I’m happy to be here tonight to focus on the the fact that music makes us happier, healthier and more connected.” Reed discussed interesting research out of Israel and Chicago about all the positive things happening when making group music – including increased empathy circuits and oxytocin, and decreased cortisol levels. She said it has been shown to speed healing, increase optimism, decrease pain, anxiety and depression, improve creativity and overall wellbeing and happiness.”

“The mental health benefits of music are incredibly important in our world situation right now. We are seeing an increase in loneliness, anxiety and depression in our youth. Having this in schools is an amazing service we are providing.”

Reed also pointed out her A.L. Fortune Drumline hoodie she was wearing, which she said represented the connections made through group music. “I am connected to my kiddos. The drumline class is hugely connected to one another and the school community through their involvement in the music program. This hoodie represents tonight what music teachers are doing in all of our schools. They are connecting with their kids, the kids are connecting with their community . . . these programs are really helping people feel connected when we are still struggling with that.”

Some of the “fun stuff” and all the connections that are happening in our schools includes the CBC music challenge which two schools are taking part in as well as being interviewed by CBC and showcasing to the country “that here in SD83 we believe in music education to the point of having an administrator of music, so bravo to us and sometimes it is okay to lead the way,” she said. Reed also highlighted a new school choir at North Shuswap, that choir and jazz have been added back into the timetable at A.L. Fortune, a performance by the Kindergarten students at Ranchero, and that guitar and choir have been added at Jackson. Jackson also held the first live concert since COVID, with protocols in place at the door, which went well. She added that the ALF Drumline was invited to play at UBC-O and she said it was an incredible experience as for some of the students it was the first time, because of COVID, that they have performed to a live audience. She also talked about upcoming performances including the Salmon Arm Winter Fun Fest, SAS Musical Theatre, as well as an update on winter concerts. She highlighted Highland Park who will be going out into their community and caroling, Hillcrest which is doing an outdoor concert, and Sorrento which is doing a “campfire” concert. She also noted that there will be three musical theatre performances by PVSS, SAS, and ALF.

Reed also touched on the “business” of the music department reporting as requested she is working in conjunction with North Okanagan Teachers’ Association (NOSTA) to do a jointly agreed upon document which would outline the history of the music program, how we go about staffing it, and the uniqueness of the program. She is also creating a SD83 music framework document, to insure consistency across the district and that competency based assessment is being used. She has also developed a long term plan to replace some of the district’s aging musical instrument collection. “Our instrument collection is a valuable asset and unique to our district.” She noted there are currently 750 instruments in the hands of kids, which is a 13 per cent increase of student usage over last year. She reported that about 17 instruments each year must be replaced, which she said with a laugh was “almost the same price as a small car”. “It’s a challenge for us but we have a plan.”

Another project which Reed is involved with is the Indigenizing Music Project. She said this is an ongoing project where music educators, Indigenous educators and Knowledge Keepers will be working together to Indigenize music education in a good way.

Reed also touched on trying to adapt the ArtStarts program (where live performances come to many of our schools) during times of COVID. She mentioned she has discussed with artists the possibility of having two shorter performances so that more students can actually be in the gym to view the performance, as opposed to just having two classes spaced out in a gym and the rest viewing by livestream.

Click here for Power Point presentation
Click here for Winter Concerts
Click here for Music links

School Improvement Growth Plans
The Board gave approval to the School Growth Plans as presented. Each year schools are expected to go through a school improvement planning process and submit a document that represents that work to the Board of Education. This collaborative process is a means of improving student outcomes as well as maintaining accountability and transparency to system stakeholders. Once approved the school’s plan is posted on its website. “These are living, breathing documents,” said Kriger. “It’s authentic and it’s guiding practice and next steps all through the school year,” commented Kriger.

The intent is to have these plans aligned with the district strategic plan which in turn is aligned with the Ministry of Education goals. The plans identify SMART goals (Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relevant-Time Sensitive) which are set for the year as well as a rationale for choosing the goals. There is opportunity to communicate school specific data and analysis which serves as the benchmark for future growth. Schools also explicitly share the strategies, supports and professional learning required to achieve their goals.

Trip to Quebec
The Board gave approval in principle, pending clarification of insurance, to a trip to Quebec City and Montreal in the Spring of 2022 for students from Pleasant Valley Secondary. PVSS Principal Chelsea Prince presented the request. She said the busy itinerary will focus on activities to learn about the French-Canadian culture and language. Due to COVID, a scheduled trip to France over Spring Break had to be cancelled. She commented that trip organizer teacher Janet Gillis decided to organize this trip, within Canada, to give her students the opportunity to experience French Canadian culture.

Easement amended
The Board gave approval for administration to negotiate the amendment of an easement and a right of way with the City of Armstrong to help facilitate its new city hall. Secretary Treasurer Dale Culler explained the City of Armstrong is planning on building a new city hall and is looking at locating on city-owned property bordering a property owned by SD83 (the Gateway building). After updating the Board on what has happened so far, and showing site plans and photos he noted that there are easement and right of way amendments which will need to be made to the current permit in order for the City of Armstrong’s plan to go ahead. He asked that the Board approve a motion to allow administration to negotiate this, which was approved.

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Trustee Remuneration
After discussion, the Board approved that trustees’ annual remuneration be increased by 0.8 per cent effective Dec. 1. As per its policy (Policy 136), trustees’ remuneration will be reviewed annually and any adjustment may be made to the base amount only, effective Dec. 1 of each year. The adjustment will reflect the BC Consumer Price Index change (from the previous year).

SOGI Inclusion
Trustees will be considering if there should be a standing item on the agenda for SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity) Inclusion, and if so where it would fit or whether the Board’s bylaw would have to be updated. Trustee Marianne VanBuskirk brought up the idea of having an item on each Board agenda, she suggested it be could be called SOGI Inclusion. She said on Nov. 10 she attended a training session for teachers who would be SOGI school lead trainers. “It was a fabulous event.” She said those attending worked through various case scenarios to take back to their schools, so they can help create a supportive environment for all students and staff. She said one of the suggestions to the group was that there be a standing item on all school staff meeting agendas as a way to share one item with the greater staff to help build a culture of inclusiveness and safety. VanBuskirk brought the idea to the Board, who, after discussion, decided that they would bring their ideas to the December Board meeting for consideration.

Ed Directions
Committee Chair VanBuskirk reported that at the Nov. 3 meeting the Ed Directions committee had presentations about student leadership initiatives, the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning, and the Seamless Day Program.

Finance & Facilities/Audit
Committee Chair Krebs reported the committee had updates on the quarterly financials, went through information for the amended annual budget process meeting which is coming up, looked at the first draft of the SOFI report, and had updates from the facilities department and transportation committee.

Quarterly Financials from June 30 to September 30 2021
SD83 is on track with its annual budget, primarily landing with 90 per cent of its funding available, reported Secretary-Treasurer Dale Culler to trustees. He noted that as some services and supplies are paid upfront (such as software and software licensing fees) some budgets may look higher spent. He also added that the Ministry funding is not received in equal payments. “The first quarter payments are quite a bit less,” he said as there is no instruction over the summer, which is a major part of the school district’s funding.
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Labour Relations
Committee Chair Quentin Bruns said the committee met on Nov. 9 and discussed the employee vaccine survey and then discussed the updated teacher bargaining plan.

Partner Group Liaison
Committee Chair Marty Gibbons reported on two meetings of Partner Group. He noted one request coming forward is that Partner Group would like to amend the terms of reference to having some sort of minutes kept of each meeting so there was documentation. The Board asked staff to make the amendments and bring it forward to the Board for consideration.

Policy Committee
Committee Chair Tennile Lachmuth reported on the recent policy committee saying it had received a draft of an anti racism policy which will be worked on. The committee also worked on a draft policy for child care, and is close to bringing forward the first draft of the opioid overdose prevention policy. She added on Nov. 24 the committee worked with consultant Ann Cooper to go over Section 300 of the policy renovation work.

Committee of the Whole
Committee Chair Krebs reported on the Nov. 9 Committee of the Whole meeting which was on Indigenous Education and also had an enrolment and data update for the Salmon Arm and Armstrong zones. Read more here.

FNEC Update
Trustee VanBuskirk presented information from the BC Tripartite Education Agreement jointly convened annual general meeting held on Oct. 27-28 via Zoom. The purpose of the meeting is to support improvement in educational outcomes of First Nations students in B.C.’s public school system by assisting district leadership to promote and achieve effective working relationships between First Nations and local school districts, and enabling a collaborative approach to support First Nation students. Items under discussion included an anti-racism strategy, the over-representation of Indigenous students receiving an adult graduation diploma rather than a Dogwood, and equity for First Nations learners.

Invite from CSRD
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) invited the Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger and Board Chair Amanda Krebs to attend the Dec. 9 meeting of the CSRD to discuss SD83’s long range facilities plan (LRFP) and ask that the option of a high school in Sorrento be revisited. Currently the high school option is part of the SD83’s ten year LRFP, however, it is an item for further into the term of the plan. After discussion the Board determined the Superintendent will go to hear the concerns of the CSRD, possibly accompanied by Vice Chairperson Tennile Lachmuth or Secretary Treasurer Dale Culler if possible.