On the Fly 2018-19

Changing Faces

We have had a lot of turnover at the office lately. Several clerical staff have moved on to other roles both inside and outside of the district, as have several senior staff. The clerical is more easily explained as the CUPE rate for many of these DESC jobs is less than the school rate, so there is a simple, and hopefully correctable, economic incentive for many of these local moves.

At the senior staff level, we are dealing with a provincial trend in district to district movement. A higher than average number of retirements in recent years has created vacancies all across the province, student enrollment has rebounded, and 3500 new teachers have been hired as a result of the teachers’ restored contract language, all leading to a greater number of opportunities in every category of senior staff work. As openings are filled, new openings are often created by movement, which are then filled in turn, and so on.

The trend has been exacerbated by a new provincial exempt staff pay grid system, which allows districts to place incoming employees at higher grid positions, but prevents districts from doing the same for their current employees. This, too, has led to more movement as employees are aware that postings in other districts often present financial opportunities that are simply not available in their own.

Few districts in the province have escaped this trend, and it was especially noticeable at a recent provincial event when I looked from table to table and noted that many teams had two or more new faces with them. My previous district, as an example, had turned over four out of five senior personnel in just the last two years.

Having other districts in the same situation doesn’t make it any easier. It is tough on an organization to lose key team members, and it does take resolve to not take it personally at some point. That being said, we have done very well with our hiring processes and I am extremely pleased with the expertise we have been able to recruit. I also genuinely feel that we have all come together in a very short period of time, and I look forward to many years of productive teamwork … starting now.

Peter Jory,
Superintendent of Schools/CEO

New Secretary-Treasurer

alanna cameron with dogAlanna Cameron, currently Secretary-Treasurer in SD82 (Coast Mountains) and with many years experience in school finance, will be joining SD83 in January.

Alanna comments she is truly honoured to have been offered the opportunity to work with the SD 83 team. “From what I’ve read and heard over the past few months, great things are happening. I’m very excited to be a part of the district’s continued success – and VERY anxious to get started!”

Alanna loves the outdoors and is an avid hiker. “My dog Gypsy (a Bernese Mountain dog) and I are looking forward to exploring the beautiful mountains, trails and endless beaches in the Shuswap area.  I am also a yogi – and I look forward to sharing that passion with others that I hope to meet at the local yoga studios.”

proxy-1Although she didn’t win the category, Amy Witt of SAS (third person back on left), is a winner in our books!

Finalist in provincial awards!

Amy Witt was one of the finalists in the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education Awards. On World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 5 all 27 finalists were invited to a dinner and awards ceremony at Government House in Victoria and joined Premier Horgan; Rob Fleming, Minister of Education; and Lt. Gov. Janet Austin.

The nine winners were narrowed down from 188 nominees, put forward during the April 23 to June 30 nomination period. After careful review by adjudication and judges panels comprised of current and former B.C. education professionals, 27 finalists were announced Aug. 30, 2018, of which Amy was one.

“It was a lovely celebration and I was seated between Dave (Witt -former SD83 Superintendent and Amy’s husband) and Peter Jory (current SD83 Superintendent of Schools/CEO), she commented.”

Check out the nomination video for Amy here:
Award winner information can be found here:


Brain bikes arrive . . . thanks Rotary!


Healthy Schools & Self Regulation Co-ordinator Laura Paiement is excited to report the first instalment of the brain bikes are in schools!  Shuswap Rotary has helped bring in over 72 brain bikes to schools and classrooms in SD83 over the last few years. Brain bikes help in numerous ways to get the brain primed for learning. Thank you Shuswap Rotary for all your assistance with this project!


Out in Schools Presentation!

outinschools_posterSD83 is partnering with the DPAC to bring “Out in Schools”  to present on Oct 10th at 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m .at the DESC. This is open to all SD83 staff, community partners, parents, and students who are interested in understanding more around sexual orientation and gender Identity issues. Out In Schools is BC’s award-winning education program that uses film and video with facilitated group discussion to engage students, parents, school district staff in the promotion of safe and inclusive learning environments, free from homophobia, transphobia and bullying. https://outinschools.com/


Sexual Health Curriculum Presentation

On the Oct 19th ProD day, SD83 will be bringing in the skilled facilitator, Kristen Gilbert, Opt’s Director of Education, to support SD83’s teachers in teaching the sexual health education curriculum. She will spend three hours in the morning with grade 4-7 teachers and the afternoon with grades 8-12 teachers at the Sullivan Library. Please sign up on district’s the inservice calendar.  Space is limited so please sign up as soon as possible.


Angst well received . . .  two more showings planned

AngstThumbnail (1)Angst, movie with panel discussion, was shown to a significant crowd on three occasions last week. Well over 250 SD83 staff watched the movie and participated in the post discussion session during our Sept 17th inservice day. On Sept 18th, it was shown again to over 125 parents, students, and community members. An hour long discussion followed the screening. The organizers are working with Sicamous and Armstrong/Enderby partners to set dates and times when it will be shown in these communities. Stay tuned for more information!


Take Me Outside Day

TakeMeOutside_Poster2018-2-1Can we get every student and staff member in SD83 outside for one hour on Oct 24th? Whose In? Post pics of you, your students, your staff outside learning/working during the school day and/or outside playing after work. Post on twitter #83learns.

Join us to get more Canadians outside, active and connected to nature.
A connection to nature and time spent outside is invaluable to building optimal mental, emotional, social and physical health for every child and youth. Research supports the links between a child’s connection with nature and their health. Increased outdoor time can be directly connected to improved physical activity levels, higher academic achievement, decreased child injury rates, increased attention spans, positive social interaction and increased engagement at school, home and in the community.


Welcome to October

A busy month in the world of numeracy!

Many teachers participated in piloting the SNACC numeracy assessment that was developed by the SD83 District Numeracy committee. We made some changes to the assessment based on feedback in June and will collect feedback again this fall before finalizing the assessment for use in the spring. Thank you to all who have participated in piloting! Keep the feedback coming by sending it directly to vedgell@sd83.bc.ca

If your staff/teachers would like assistance with interpreting the data and then developing an instructional plan, just let me know. We would be happy to help!


After helping quite a number of schools with interpreting data in June, we realized that multiplication in the intermediate years was presenting a lot of difficulties for students. As a district, we are going to focus a lot of professional development around multiplication from grade 4-9 this fall. There are two upcoming workshops in October, one in Armstrong and one in Salmon Arm. These short 1.5 hour workshops will be after school and will help develop a series of instruction to teach multiplication. We will work with cuisenaire rods and algebra tiles. Sign up for these workshops on the district inservice page. I promise they will be short, sweet and informative!

Critical concept documents are finished for grades K-9. These documents narrow the focus on the big understandings for each grade, as well as strategies for developing understanding. Give yourself permission to focus on the critical concepts and not worry about covering every little thing in the curriculum. We need to develop strong and deep understanding of these critical concepts in order for success with subsequent math concepts. Spend the time needed in these areas; it will pay dividends in the future.

Problem solving is an excellent way to ensure that skills stay fresh throughout the year. One thing that teachers really noticed after using the SNACC assessment, is that students who seemed to “have it” when they just finished a unit, often did NOT have it by the end of the year. We need to consistently review and work with concepts until they become deeply understood. Problem solving is a great way to build this constant review into classrooms. Problems can be “short snappers” that you do first thing at the beginning of each class, or Problem of the Week style questions that take lots of perseverance to come up with a solution. If you would like to be added to the weekly problem of the week distribution list, send me an email at vedgell@sd83.bc.ca

Bad math joke of the month:

Q: Why do mathematicians like parks?

A: Because of all the natural logs!


Expanding your knowledge of Office 365

download-1.pngDo you want to learn how to use the multitude of tools in Office 365?
Manger of Information Services Stephen Ollinger reports on Oct 19 there will be three 120 minute Office 365 training sessions provided by a Microsoft Certified Trainer. The three sessions will cover some of the components of Office365 that can be used in the classroom.

These tools include Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, Classnote Book, Sway, Forms, and FlexGrid. The last session will show you the tools available to you and your students when accessibility and inclusiveness may be challenging.

These are hands-on sessions and your laptops will be required.

If your students are able to login to Office 365 then please sign up for one or all of these sessions. Please use the inservice calendar at https://inservice.sd83.bc.ca to sign up.
See you there!

Staff compete in ultra marathon

A number of our staff competed in the Lewiston Ultra,  a 56KM solo & relay (two & three person) mountain trail event connecting the communities of Sicamous and Salmon Arm on Sept. 29, with two finishing near the top of the results.

This point to point ultramarathon was designed by trail runners and takes participants  through the impressive traverse with approximately 2,000 meters elevation gain. The run attracted participants from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The race started at the Hyde Mountain Golf Resort went through private trails on Splatsin land before flowing into the switchbacks of the impressive Larch Hills Traverse and past the Larch Hills Nordic Centre and through South Canoe trails finishing at  Klahani park.

Among the top finishers were two of our staff members, teacher Alex Seal, who finished 10th overall completing the gruelling course in 6:45:42, teacher Megan Banman, who finished 24th in a tie of 7:25:00 and speech language pathologist Megan Brook, who finished 28th overall in 7:33:48. Congrats to these three and all who took part in the gruelling event!


Great Waters Challenge

BC Teachers (grades 3-12) and their students are invited to take part in the Great Waters Challenge program. Participating classes and clubs meet other teams across BC during a welcome webinar and then receive adaptable pre-workshop activities that help students explore your community’s water. Students are encouraged to report their findings in a creative way!

Next, your class will receive a water-leadership workshop (or webinar for remote schools) hosted by trained knowledgeable volunteer young water leaders! Your students will be mentored in planning their own water celebration or action day. 

School teams who implement their event can win awesome prizes and field trips! Learn more and sign up at www.waterlution.org/GWC