Beginning work on the five year strategic plan, board committee appointments, the student reporting framework, and more were on the agenda for the newly elected Board of Education School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap). The new Board held its first regular business meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the District Education Support Centre at 6 p.m.
Five Year Strategic Plan Development
“We are in pretty exciting times,” Superintendent Donna Kriger told trustees as she updated the Board on the initial stages of developing the district’s next strategic plan. “We have an opportunity to create something together that is outstanding for kids, families, and staff. We are setting forth a path for what we want for our students, what we are doing, and defining what we stand for in this district.”
She recognized that last year under the Board’s restructuring the district has been well set up to meet the Ministry priorities. “When senior leadership attended the sessions this summer the Ministry priorities are Truth and Reconciliation, early learning and child care, equity, diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellness, as well as student outcomes towards a meaningful grad. We are positioned perfectly to be able to do the work and have an amazing team to do that work.”
She noted the development of a new strategic plan for the district involves both a governance responsibility (the Board) as well as an operational responsibility (leadership and schools).
Establishing the Mission, Vision, and Values of the district is a governance responsibility. This will be accomplished by engaging rightsholders, students, stakeholders, community members, employee groups, principals and vice-principals, and district leadership.
The strategic priorities are the joint responsibility of the board and district leadership with the desired outcomes, strategies and measures falling under the direction of the Superintendent and senior leadership team. There is an expectation that the strategic priorities within the plan are in alignment with the priorities of the Ministry of Education and Child Care. These priorities also need to be fluid and relevant to the ever-changing landscape of education and the local context.
As a means of initiating this work, the district will be using a digital tool to engage the thoughts and suggestions of all the voices which need to be heard. The collection of data will begin by December and will follow the proposed timeline (outlined below). When necessary, the timeline will be adjusted to ensure that proper voice has been given and that the proposed mission, vision, and values presented to the Board of Education are reflective of the data which was collected.
Grayston commented that biggest challenge is getting engagement and she hopes the digital tool the district is looking at will help. She added that everyone is very busy. And, as leadership is already aware of, we need to gather information from as many voices through as many channels as possible
In the spring of 2023, Kriger will bring forward information to the Board of Education regarding a new district logo. The adoption of a new logo will follow a consultation process which is similar to that of the strategic plan development..
Strategic Plan Implementation
Board Committee Appointments
Trustees discussed committee appointments for the coming year. It was determined:
Policy – the chairperson will be Tenille Lachmuth and the alternate will be Amanda Krebs
Education Directions – the chairperson will be Marianne VanBuskirk and the alternate will be Corryn Grayston
Labour Relations – the chairperson will be Brent Gennings and the alternate will be Lachmuth
Finance & Facilities – the chairperson will be Krebs and the alternate will be Grayston
Budget – the chairperson will be Grayston and the alternate will be VanBuskirk
Partner Group – VanBuskirk and the alternate will be Gennings
Transportation – the chairperson will be Gennings and the alternate will be Lachmuth
First Nations Education Council (which will soon be renamed Indigenous Education Council) – Lachmuth and the alternate will be Grayston
French Advisory Committee – VanBuskirk and the alternate is Krebs
Active Transportation Task Force – VanBuskirk
Shuswap Community Foundation hiring committee – Grayston
Kriger noted that outgoing trustee Marty Gibbons, who chaired the Partner Group last year, gave an informal recommendation that the Board consider whether Partner Group, which was established when the district had a single trustee, was perhaps a committee that had run its course. The Board decided to have a Partner Group meeting where this could be discussed to see how the other committee members felt about it.
The Board approved a trustee annual remuneration increase by 2.8 per cent effective December 1, 2022. The increase follows Board Policy 136, which states The Board of Education of School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) believes that trustees should be compensated for their work related to the business of the Board. In accordance with the provisions of the School Act, a Board may authorize, through a Board resolution, the payment of remuneration and reasonable allowance for expenses incurred by trustees in the discharge of their duties.
Trustee Remuneration and Expenses
Consumer Price Index
In her report, Kriger updated the Board on the Family Affordability Fund, the new Indigenous graduation requirement, the District Student Advisory Council, and wrapped up with district celebrations.
SD83 received funds from the provincial government to help vulnerable families who are struggling and unable to provide adequate resources for kids for such things as school fees, supplies, extra and co-curricular activities. A survey went out to principals and vice-principals (PVPs), counsellors, the Indigenous Education Council, and parent advisory councils (PACs) to gather input. Kriger showed trustees graphs of the information coming from the counsellors and PVPs, showing moderate to high need for help to families for school supplies, school fees, field trip costs, and food security.
SEE SLIDES HERE
The district has sent initial seed money of $10,000 to each school and are holding back five per cent for emergent needs for the end of the school year (for costs such as Spring field trips and grad). The leadership team is in discussion around an equitable way to support schools, based on vulnerability. Kriger assured trustees that there is accountability built in to the program with an application form to be filled out for families needing to access funds and signed by the principal. There is also a spreadsheet to keep track of exactly where the money is being spent.
Indigenous Grad Requirement
Kriger also updated the Board on the work being done to prepare for the Indigenous graduation requirement coming into effect next year. Students graduating in June 2024 will need to have successfully completed an eligible four credit course to graduate. “I know that there is perhaps some questions about the why.” First, she noted, it is absolutely fulfilling a measure of the TRC’s Calls to Action for Education. She said it also provides a deeper understanding of the cultures, histories, contemporary contexts, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples of B.C. “And it will help students to understand and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools and communities. “There are a few ways that students may meet the requirement. Initially, SD83 high schools will be focussing on provincially developed courses, including English First People in grades 10-12.” Some schools also offer a social studies course, B.C. First Peoples.
District Student Advisory Council
A District Student Advisory Council is being established to provide senior staff and the Board of Education with youth input and perspective on topics that pertain to SD83 schools. Kriger let trustees know that an application for middle and secondary students to be part of the council has been developed and the first meeting will take place in December or January. Kriger commented the council will be involved in the strategic planning process and will help grow student voice.
Kriger expressed her gratitude to the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS) who donated 4,500 books to Shuswap area classrooms and libraries. It also organizes and supports the one to one reading program where volunteers read with students.
She thanked staff and community members who helped schools hold meaningful, moving Remembrance Day ceremonies at the schools for students.
She also congratulated the students heading to the provincial swim championships and those who took part in the provincial cross country running championships, particularly Ronan Wiens who claimed top spot in the para division.
Assistant Superintendent Ryan Brennan reported that he, Laura Paiement (Healthy Schools Co-ordinator), and Bree Hawrylak (HR Health, Safety, and Wellness) attended the Pan-Canadian Summit on K-12 Workplace Wellbeing. They will be bringing back the ideas they learned from other schools districts all over Canada to share with the SD83 employee wellness committee, for possible implementation here.
Silver Creek Seamless Day Team
Director of Instruction Jen Findlay gave a huge thanks to the members of the Silver Creek Seamless Day Before & After School Child Care Team for working collaboratively to support the child care needs of families in the Silver Creek area: early childhood educators Debbie Sprieszl & Kristie Clark, Kindergarten teacher Katherine Ralston, Certified Education Assistant Denis Tong, Principal Sydney Griffith, Secretary Lori Webster, and Custodian Bonnie Strotmann, for all their work. She also extended thanks to Administrative Assistant Kyla Sherman, and District Vice Principal of Early Learning & Child Care Allison de Boer. “We currently have 19 children registered in the Seamless Day program and we are hearing from families about how grateful they are to have a licensed child care opportunity in their community.”
SD83 Primary Reading Snapshot for Parents
Findlay also added that teachers Jennifer Dodds (GRI) and Kelly Gontar (HPE) have updated the SD83 Primary Reading Snapshot Resource for Parents. “I want to thank them for this work. This is an incredibly helpful resource when connecting with parents of Grade 1 to 3 students and discussing their child’s reading strengths and growth goals. Many teachers used this resource when meeting with parents during the Student-Teacher-Family Conferences on October 26th.”
Findlay also thanked the educators in all elementary and middle schools for creating such a welcoming space for students and families to connect during the Student-Teacher-Family Conferences on October 26th. “We recognize the incredible amount of work that goes into planning and facilitating these conferences and we have heard so much positive feedback from families about their gratefulness for being able to connect with their child’s teacher in such a personal and meaningful way.”
She concluded thanking Kyla Hadden, teacher at Eagle River Secondary and North Okanagan Shuswap Teachers’ Association ProD Chair, for facilitating the Mentor Training session this afternoon. “We currently have 23 Mentor/Mentee teams who will work together to support the mentee’s identified goals and curiosities. This is a collaborative NOSTA and District program that supports our new-to-teaching and new-to grade level/curricular area teachers. A huge shout-out to all the Mentors who stepped up in this leadership role to support colleagues.”
Kriger wrapped up her report saying that the district is fortunate to have an absolutely dynamite team. “I’m grateful to them, and for the work that goes on in the district.”
K-12 Student Reporting Policy Framework
Director of Education Jen Findlay updated the Board on the new K-12 Student Reporting Policy which is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Child Care and will come into effect September 2023. Student reporting is the assessment and communication of student learning, often thought of as report cards. She noted that the new framework will continue with five communications (three written and two flexible formats). The Provincial Proficiency Scale (Emerging, Developing, Proficient, Extending) will be in use for Kindergarten through Grade 9 and there will still be letter grades and percentages at Grades 10-12. One change is that the “I” reporting symbol will be changing to “IE” to indicate insufficient evidence of learning, instead of incomplete. Another addition is that there will be student self-assessment of core competencies and goal setting in all grades for all three written reports.
The official reporting order has not yet been released, but the framework and interim support resources to help districts begin to plan has been made available by the Ministry of Education & Child Care. SD83’s Communicating Student Learning working group, comprised of principals and vice-principals, teachers, and senior leadership members, is working together as a team to take a look at current practices and comparing them to the new reporting framework. She noted in some areas the district is already fully in alignment with the new framework, while in others, changes will need to be made to bring the practices into alignment. The Ministry will providing more support resources for both staff and parents and the CSL Working Group will be meeting again in January to explore these resources and develop a support plan for educators as we move towards full alignment for the 2022-23 school year.
Off to New York
The Board gave approval to a field trip request by Jackson Secondary to go to New York City in March 2023 for students to experience the arts and culture. Co-ordinated by drama teacher Chris Iversen, the tour will include taking in Broadway plays, touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visiting the Empire State Building and more. Kriger noted that the trip is coordinated through Education First Educational Tours which is a well known service provider for international education opportunities. The date of departure is tentatively set for March 20, 2023 and the date of return is March 25, 2023. The cost for the trip is $4,200.
Field Trip Program
2022-23 Board Work Plan
The Board will be holding a Trustee Ed. session to develop its Board Work Plan for the upcoming year.
Official Election Results
The official election results were presented by Secretary Treasurer Dale Culler at the meeting. He thanked trustees for taking on this important role.
Declaration of Official Election Results
Declaration of Acclamation
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
VanBuskirk reported on the half day session training session for Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) leads. The SOGI leads, with help from district SOGI helping teacher Amy Witt, are helping provide supports and resources to schools to create safe, caring, and inclusive learning environments for all students regardless of their race, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, and expression. VanBuskirk commented there was a very good presentation by Out in Schools. She added there is also a new poster available, which helps students and staff know that they are in a safe space.
First Nations Education Council (FNEC) Update
VanBuskirk reported that FNEC met for a full day session on Nov. 9, which included staff members presenting information to the Council. She noted the main topic of the meeting was the terms of reference, and changing the way the Council operates to be more culturally sensitive. One of the changes which will be taking place is the name of the Council will be changing to the Indigenous Education Council. A guest speaker, Carolyn Roberts of Simon Fraser University, has been booked for Jan. 26 to present. Roberts’ work is about educating others around her of the importance of Indigenous culture and ancestral ways of knowing, to work towards a brighter future.
Lachmuth reported that a couple of the school parent advisory councils in Armstrong are holding online auctions as fundraisers. She encouraged people to take a look and support the school!
VanBuskirk reported that she attended a couple of PAC meetings and she heard some great things about the recent student-teacher-parent conferences, including that they were happy to be back in person and that the conferences were meaningful and helpful for students. She also added that she was very happy to see that there were three student reps from three different schools at the recent French Advisory Committee, and that the Knowledge Keepers tea went very well. She reported that on Nov. 2’s Take Your Kid To Work Day she had the privilege of being shadowed by student Auldin Maxwell, who some people might remember as the local student who set three Guinness World records with Jenga blocks. She also attended the Salmon Arm Economic Development Committee’s Reconnecting in the Shuswap event with Trustee Grayston also in attendance on Nov. 4. She wrapped up her report saying how pleased she was with the meaningful ways local schools commemorated Remembrance Day.
Dates to Remember
Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. – Regular Board Meeting at DESC
Friday, Dec. 16 – Last day before Winter Break