On the Fly

otf grossbeakMessage from the Superintendent

If you have been on our district or your school’s website lately you will have noticed a change!

We are pleased to have moved over to a more modern and user-friendly platform for our district and school websites, and look forward to improving communication with our many stakeholders as a result. We will continue to make updates to the formatting and details, and if you want to give a suggestion or provide some feedback on the site, please be invited to do so through the email link on the website or by clicking here.

As well, be sure to share your comments regarding the District Calendar prior to our next Board Meeting using this link. Principals will be working with school level stakeholders on items related to specific events and bell times.

As you may know one of our Salmon Arm Secondary students, Natalie Wilkie, has qualified to take part in cross-country skiing competitions at the Paralympics in Pyeonchang, Korea.

For the many that I am sure will want to watch and cheer her on, we now know Natalie will be competing in the 15 km endurance race March 12 at 8:15 p.m., the 1.5 km sprint race on March 14 at 7 p.m. and the 7.5 km race on March 17 at 7:45 p.m. All times listed for the races are Pacific Standard Time.

What an opportunity for this accomplished young skier!

For the rest of us . . . are we tired of the snow yet?

Take care,

Peter Jory,


Is Spring Break truly upon us?

The school year does seem to fly by us, comments Director of Instruction Carl Cooper. “There is lots going on in our district, schools and classrooms.”

To try and better communicate what is happening, and with the new school district and school websites, Carl is now doing a “Learning First” blog, which will have regularly updated information from the education department. Learning First can be found in one of the boxes on the front page of the district’s new site.

The blog will feature regular updates about in-service, professional development, learning, district learning projects, and more. “I hope you will check it out, and feel free to send me suggestions, additions and ideas. Here is a direct link. https://sd83.bc.ca/2018/03/02/learning-first/ .” he added.

“Like you in your classrooms, we are busy trying to support learning. This month we had our initial Instructional Leadership Team meeting. No doubt this will become a great resource in our district to all our educators. I appreciate the enthusiasm of the team and look forward as they start to work directly with teachers and CEA’s in our school district. (More information on the Instructional Leadership Team from Jen Findlay in this edition of ‘On the Fly’.)

Principles of Learning

Carl reports the Principles of Learning team is developing district beliefs around what we believe is important for student learning – our Principles of Learning. “Our team has met twice and we have received feedback from many schools, the French Advisory, and DPAC. Thank you to everyone who has taken time to give some feedback. Some early drafts will start appearing at schools after spring break for further feedback and suggestions.”

Below is a word cloud of the feedback we have received so far:


Five trustees for SD83

When elections for a new School District No. 83 Board of Education are held in October, the North Okanagan-Shuswap area will be electing five trustees.

Minister of Education Rob Fleming notified the district on Thursday that he had signed a Ministerial Order changing the composition of the board to five trustees from the former nine.  The decision is in keeping with Official Trustee Mike McKay’s recommendations. The order also outlines each of the areas that trustees will represent:

• North Shuswap/Sorrento/Carlin – one trustee

  Salmon Arm – two trustees

• Sicamous/Malakwa/Enderby/Grindrod – one trustee

• Armstrong/Spallumcheen/Falkland/Silver Creek/Ranchero – one trustee

McKay commented he is pleased with the Minister’s decision as the school district’s communities now know what the structure of the board will be, and individuals interested in standing for office can begin planning and moving forward. District staff will be developing sessions for people considering running for trustee.  Information will be shared through the website and media when details are finalized.

Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe update

The district is still awaiting final approval from the Agricultural Land Commission to rezone South Canoe back to use as a school. “We have reached our maximum registration of 111 students and have now started a wait list. The school is a K-6 for next year, and after one year we will re-examine whether the school continues as a K-6 or becomes a K-7,” notes Carl.

“Many thanks to our Facilities Department who has already done some preliminary work on the school site and is working on some upgrades including roofing and flooring. My appreciation also to the many fine educators who have work tirelessly to make this possibility a reality. I anticipate we will have job postings out shortly after spring break.”

Boxcars and One Eyed Jacks returning

box cars math workshop (1)Boxcars and One Eyed Jacks, a math workshop for K-7 teachers,  is returning to our district on May 24 from 4 – 7 p.m.

After many years we are glad to welcome Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks back to our school district. Come prepared to play the newest games that incorporate the use of cards, dice, math shakers, and multi-sided dice. Participants will receive a take home kit (that includes math shakers, dice and cards) and an extensive handout (including ideas for math journals, strategy books and game boards) to use immediately in their classrooms. Games and ideas will focus on numeration and operational fluency strategies as well as ideas for building differentiated math centres in your classroom. Get your math program rolling with this fun, engaging workshop.

School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) will pay the $45 per person cost for this workshop for 60 interested SD83 teachers and support staff. Registrants after that will be responsible for their fee. Registration deadline is May 7. Register for either the Kindergarten to Grade 3 or Grade 4-7 workshop. The workshops will run at the same time in different rooms at the DESC.

Update on Report Card and Conference initiative

Carl reports twelve of our schools participated in this pilot this year which included a new written report card format and a new student-parent-teacher conference. Over 350 parents and 60 teachers have given us great feedback. Over 80% of parents found both the new written report card and the student-parent-teacher conference as positive, having specific individualized feedback and clear information about their child’s achievement. Both parents and teachers (>75%) would like to see Student-Parent-Conferences continued in future years. My appreciation to the assessment and reporting committee for their hard work in creating this initiative. We have received some great feedback and suggestions for improvements to both the written report card and conference. We will take this back to our team and make some refinements and present a recommendation for our district.

“My appreciation of our 60 plus pilot teachers who tried this initiative, it is clear that your hard work on report cards, individualized feedback for students and willingness to persevere with new technology and a new reporting process was successful and incredibly well received by parents. Your efforts at personalized comment sections and conferencing was specifically noted and appreciated by parents.”

To check out the responses to this initiative in Carl’s Learning First blog on the school district’s website.

Moving to automated dispatch . . .

On March 2, 2018 all staff members will have received an email from Nathalie Labrie, HR Manager, announcing the implementation of the Automated Dispatch System.

She asks that everyone please take a moment to fully read the email as there is important information that could apply to you. The automated system will come online on April 3, 2018 at 5 p.m.

“At this time, only employees listed on the email are required to register with ADS. You have until March 16th, 2018 to do so. If you are not registered when we go live, the Automated Dispatch System won’t be searching for a replacement for you or you won’t be called/dispatched,” she warns.

HR will be sending out further guides and FAQs documents before Spring Break. Further details on how the system will work, when call out will occur and more will be provided just before Spring Break.

Laptop Cart Update . . .

Manager of Information Services Stephen Ollinger reports the Electrical Inspector has looked at the Blackbox laptop carts and is unable to find a CSA or equivalent certification. Each electrical component in the cart is certified but the cart itself is not. “As a result we have had to pull the carts from use.  We have had a third party company come in and evaluate the carts and they have provided a list of modifications required that will provide CSA or equivalent certification. Once the modifications are completed they will be able to provide certification. We are in the process of collecting all the carts from the schools in order for the modifications can be made. We are hopeful that the carts modifications and certification can be completed over Spring Break and the carts will be returned to your school shortly afterwards.”

Only three more weeks  . . .

Stephen also wants to remind everyone there are only three more weeks until the First Class server is retired.  Please make sure you have all the information you need off of First Class before the end of Spring Break 2018.

Meet the SD83 Instructional Learning Team  . . .

The Instructional Learning Team is a team of educators from School District No. 83 in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. “Our goal is to connect with other educators in our district to create meaningful professional learning opportunities which will support student learning and engagement,” explains team member Jennifer Findlay.

“Members of the Instructional Learning Team are available to support interested educators through co-planning, co-teaching, and co-learning.”

She adds that if you are interested in working with the ILT as an individual or as a school team, please contact any member of the  ILT member directly or, if you’d prefer, you can send an email to jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca.

Members are:

ILTJessa Clark: Jessa has been teaching at high schools throughout SD83 for the past nine years with a focus in Math, Science and Technology. She is excited to join the ILT as the Middle/High School Ed Tech Support Teacher. She hopes to share some of the successes (and failures) she’s experienced when incorporating technology into her lessons, help build interest in technology as a tool and continue to grow her knowledge of available EdTech resources. jeclark@sd83.bc.ca

Leslie Drinovz: Leslie is currently the Gifted Inclusion Teacher in SD83 who works with many students across the district in many different schools. She recently moved from Sea to Sky School District where she taught for over 20 years in grades 1 to 4 and was also a member of their Instructional Leadership Team. Leslie would love to work collaboratively with colleagues in SD83 and she is excited to be a part of this team of teachers who are willing to work together to support students. ldrinovz@sd83.bc.ca

Jennifer Findlay: Jen is currently the Early Learning Coordinator for the district and she also teaches Kindergarten part-time at Parkview Elementary. She is excited to be a part of the Instructional Learning Team and looks forward to collaborating and learning with the team members and educators around the district. jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca

Jennifer Kelly: Jen has worked as our district literacy helping teacher for the past three years. She has four years of experience working as a literacy intervention teacher and is passionate about helping to support teachers with balanced literacy in the classroom and how to support our students who are struggling developing their reading processing system. She has taught courses at UBCO and TRU on early literacy and language arts. jkelly@sd83.bc.ca

Laurelle Larmand: Laurelle has spent most of her teaching career as a primary teacher at small rural schools in our district. She currently teaches Grade 2/3 at Hillcrest. As an Elementary/Middle School Writing Support Teacher, Laurelle is excited about this opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and explore how we can help students become passionate and lifelong writers. llarmand@sd83.bc.ca

Sandra Major: Sandra began her teaching career in elementary education at an all-girls private school in Vancouver in 2003. Upon moving to Salmon Arm in 2012, she worked for the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS) as the Children’s Literacy Outreach Coordinator. Currently, she teaches Grade 2 at Ranchero Elementary. As an Elementary/Middle Literacy Support Teacher, she is hopeful that she can be helpful to those teachers who, like her, value the time to reflect, learn and collaborate with others. smajor@sd83.bc.ca

Quinn Olson: Quinn trained as a middle school generalist teacher through the University of Victoria. He has been teaching in a variety of schools in SD83 since 2013 and is currently teaching Grade 8 at Shuswap Middle School. As the ILT representative for middle school assessment, he intends to promote healthy conversations and provoke curiosity through collaborative discussion around assessment possibilities and the new curriculum. qolson@sd83.bc.ca

Emily Styles: Emily currently teaches French Immersion Kindergarten at Bastion Elementary. She has also taught Grades 1, 3, elementary music, and ESL in Russia, China, and South Korea. Emily is passionate about how Outdoor Learning and Indigenous Perspectives can tap into natural and fulfilling ways of learning and teaching. Emily is excited to work collaboratively with other educators to explore First Peoples’ Principles of Learning and/or Outdoor Learning. estyles@sd83.bc.ca

Crystal Truscott: Crystal is currently the Learning Resource Teacher at Parkview Elementary School. She has her diploma in Educational Technology from Simon Fraser University. She is excited to have the time to collaborate with teachers to explore how we can better use technology to enhance student learning. ctruscot@sd83.bc.ca

Rhys Waters: While Rhys is secondary humanities trained, his experiences have taken him through most content areas, from Grade 6-12, and he currently teaches Math 7, PHE 8-12 and Leadership at A.L. Fortune. His focus with ILT is secondary assessment. He is excited to collaborate with teachers to help create assessment-rich classrooms and schools, with an emphasis on supporting learning through understandable and meaningful assessment for both educators and our learners. rwaters@sd83.bc.ca

Megan Weir: Megan currently teaches Grade 3 French Immersion and Grade 4/5 English at Bastion Elementary and has taught primary French Immersion in Salmon Arm as well as K-7 French Immersion in Burnaby and Richmond School Districts. She is excited to join the ILT as an Elementary/Middle School Writing Support Teacher. She looks forward to working collaboratively with colleagues and exploring different ways to nurture our student writers. mweir@sd83.bc.ca

Successful workshops with Kim Barthel . . .

Internationally known and respected mental health occupational therapist Kim Barthel, OTR, spent two days in School District No. 83. Both days were a huge success in regards to number of participants attending as well as the impact Kim had on the participants and their learning, reports Laura Paiement, one of the workshop organizers.

Kim, who teaches internationally on such specialties as attachment, trauma, addiction, sensory processing, movement, and learning, shared many touching stories on the struggles of students and adults who she has worked with and their growth through the connections they made with teachers and therapists in their lives.

Some key learnings we had during “Classroom Strategies for Students with Complex Behaviours” and “Trauma Informed Practices” are:

Having one key adult in students lives who are able to listen, show compassion, and are there for that student, has a huge impact on helping that student develop resiliency towards life’s struggles.

Even though students don’t fully develop the awareness and ability to self-regulate until their cortex is fully developed (age 25-30) we need to start teaching and practicing these skills early and throughout our lives. (awareness and positive coping strategies)

• To attend, concentrate, and perform tasks in a manner suitable to the situation, one’s nervous system must be in an optimal state or arousal (alertness). Arousal is the foundation of behaviour and is impacted by cognition (language, thinking), sensation (movement, sensory) and emotion (feelings).

The non verbal communication (face, body language) we use with our students is the tool that provides the fastest path to change alert levels for our students. Language (telling students what to do) is the slowest path to change. Also, the number one trigger of challenging behaviour is us, our non verbal communication.

Therefore, our self-regulation is so important. We must be kind to ourselves and look after our own needs so we can be AWARE of how we use non-verbal communication. And use it in a way that helps to calm students, build trust with students, and helps to develop relationship that is vital in adults helping students to regulate, grow, and learn.

Behaviour is communication. Knowing that there is a reason for the behaviour allows us to have more compassion for the student which improves the relationship but also helps to lowers our own stress. (Both get oxytocin hit)

• There is only one person you can change – YOU.

Currently 1 in 38 births have autism spectrum disorder world wide. One epidemiologist believes this statistic will be 1 in 2 births by 2025.

One in two people have a history of trauma

Strategies – relationship, curriculum, and environment

a. diverse movement environments

i. our brains are 80% more competent when we are standing

ii. companies like Facebook and Google do not use desks. Flexible movement environments are

    becoming in the norm in the corporate world.

b. adults as a self-regulation tool

i. our non-verbal communication

ii. our view of the behaviour can lead to compassion (oxytocin)

iii. put our mind in the mind of others

iv. we change the past by changing the present

v. work as a community

“The more healthy relationships a child has, the more likely he will be to recover from trauma and thrive. Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love.” Dr. Bruce Perry

Indigenous Ed update . . .

Indigenous Education Helping Teacher Mishel Quaal reports the Indigenous Education Department has had an amazing start in 2018 with a multitude of learning opportunities for both students and staff. Principals, Vice Principals and Senior Leadership kicked off February by participating in The Blanket Exercise. Using blankets to represent the land, SD83 leadership explored the impacts of colonization, treaty-making and modern legislation. Throughout this participatory workshop, participants moved through 500+ years of history by taking on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Feedback from the workshop reflected a spirit of reconciliation and promise. As SD83 moves forward in reconciliation we are using resources such as The Blanket Exercise to engage learners on an emotional and intellectual level. This engagement has proven a powerful tool in fostering authentic reconciliation.

On February 1st Wes Sandy and the staff at Silver Creek Elementary School started the month with traditional Indigenous games. Wes organized a fun filled and physically challenging morning for students and staff. From snowshoe racing to snow snake throwing, laughing and jovial competition rounded out the morning.

On February 8th SMS hosted F.N.H.A. Day of Winter Wellness. Student learning was underpinned through Indigenous physical activity, Indigenous storytelling, words of wisdom from local Knowledge Keeper Ethel Thomas and a keynote address by special guest Laura Grizzle Paws. It was a very successful day of Indigenous learning that was shared by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, teachers and community members.

“Our department acknowledges Mr. Wes Sandy has a gift with Traditional Games and on February 20th Grindrod Elementary had their traditional Indigenous games afternoon. Global News came to the games and interviewed Wes. We are waiting to hear when the feature will be aired,” she adds.

A handful of TRC Teacher Allies presented a day of learning on the February 23rd Regional Pro-D day. The day focused upon “Wondering how to Integrate Indigenous Education into Your Classroom?” and was enriched with presentations from Splatsin’s Director of Education and Director of Land Title and Rights. In addition, A.L.F. drummers joined Dodie Jones for a session connecting culturally relevant drumming and singing to student success.

On February 27th M.V. Beattie and Grindrod hosted their Bridging the Community Dinner at M.V. Beattie. Our evening focused on self-regulation and making connections. “Our talented Laura Paiement provided families with an interactive presentation on self-regulation and our Indigenous Education team served up a delicious meal of bannock and chili.”

The last day of February brought the Indigenous Youth Voice Leadership together at P.V.S.S. to discuss traditional introductions, acknowledgement of territory and individual cultural knowledge.

Each newsletter, Mishel is sharing a Secwepemc word with staff. She says the Secwepemc word for February is Love. “It is our hope that you had a wonderful February full of love and caring.”

Listen to the word here: http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Secwepemc/word/798164d5c9daf037/like%2C+be+fond+of%2C+love

xwexwistés (xwe)(xwi)[stés] – like, be fond of, love

Chromebook and Chromebox login . . . 

Now that G-Suite is available to students and teachers, Chrome devices have to be changed to allow for non-guest login.  If your school has chrome devices and parents have given consent for their children to use G-Suite then this change has to be done to the device to allow the students to login with their credentials.  Please work with your school tech to determine if this needs to be done at your school.

Please be careful  . . .

SnowIce.jpgBev Snow, manager of building services and occupational health and safety, wants to remind everyone that there is still a lot of ice out there so please be careful!

Numeracy with Val Edgell . . .

graphUnderstanding graphs and information contained in tables has been on my mind a lot lately. This isn’t a “math” issue – it is truly a numeracy issue as graphs and tables are found in almost every curricular area, and much more commonly than they are found even in math classes.

I’ve spent a lot of time marking provincial assessments lately at the graduation level as well as grades 4 and 7, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks that our students are really not able to understand what graphs and tables are telling us. The most common errors I have seen are not understanding what specific information the graph is showing, and not being able to read the scale on axes, or label the axes themselves.

These are super important skills for people to have, as we encounter this type of information when we open newspapers, search the internet, read credit card statements, read information to buy a car and countless other scenarios.

So what can we do?

Primary teachers graph with their students all the time as they often do question of the day. Try to draw your students attention to what labels should go on the horizontal and vertical axes. How do we decide the scale? What happens when we change the scale? What would be an appropriate title for the graph, and what would not?

Social Studies and Science teachers have huge opportunities to help students gain better insight into their content areas by drawing attention to the graphs and charts contained in their content area. Spending time looking at what types of graphs are appropriate for a situation, or what graph will best represent the data. Look at misleading graphs and “fix” them. The chart below is a well-publicized pie chart for the US… with % adding to over 190%!

graph2In addition to just reading graphs and understanding the data contained in them, be sure to provide students the opportunity to create their own graphs and charts, and decide labels for axes, scale and title for themselves.

The challenge this month is to make the most of the data opportunities in your lessons, and help your students become data savvy!

Bad math joke of the week:

Q: What did the triangle say to the circle?

A: I don’t see your point!

Curriculum Day  . . . early planning for next year!

Planning has already started on some early plans for the September 17th district wide curriculum day. “We will be gathering a team of teachers and CEAs to start more detailed work, planning and organizing. Our preliminary plan will have a number of short workshops, working groups, inquiry teams, and presentations, primarily in the morning. There will be time for school teams to work together and time to form district and school inquiry teams  in the afternoon. We will add more information as we bring more people into the planning. We intend to have a written program and possibly a one minute conference preview video clip to all staff before the end of this school year,” reports Carl.

Be Bold for Change!

Be Bold for ChangeJust a heads up that Shannon Hecker of CMHA is offering a suicide alertness training on March 15 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at CMHA on Hudson Ave in Salmon Arm. To register please call Shannon at (250) 832-8477 Ext. 103.

Coming up  . . .

• Board meeting is March 13 at 6 p.m. at the DESC

• Spring Break is March 16-29, Good Friday is March 30 and Easter Monday is April 2.

Spring Break Hours 2018