On the Fly

OTF kite JulydrumlineA.L. Fortune Drumline performed at the Canada Day Parade

Congratulations and happy retirement!

The district wants to say thank you and wish happy new adventures to the following retirees:

Patty Angle (clerical), Lynda Bennett (teacher), Rosie Bowley (custodial), Emily Broughton (custodial), Lesley Caves (teacher), Carolyn Farris (teacher), Wayne Fowler (teacher), Mary Lynn Gascon (CEA), Lori George (teacher), Rose Geinger (custodial), Alvina Gooch (CEA), Kim Gottell (CEA), Alan Harrison (principal), Debbie Harrison (clerical), Hilde Hirschkorn (CEA), Roger Houle (teacher), Sharon Irvine (teacher), Ken Jamieson (teacher), Gerri Kiy (ESW), Lorraine Ladd (CEA), Sheryl Larsen (teacher), Heather Leask (teacher), Susan Letkeman (custodial), Sandra Lowe (clerical), Jaana Mainprize (teacher), Sheila Malashewsky (CEA), Rob Nash (teacher), Len Nevdoff (custodial), Brenda O’Dell (teacher/NOSTA president), Brian Pratt-Johnson (teacher), Kerry Rietzler (CEA), Donna Rollier (teacher), Brad Rowe (custodial), Sherry Salt (CEA), Wendy Schrauwen (CEA), Sandra Strain (CEA), Dianne Sterling (CEA), Kathleen Sviatko (CEA), Sharyl Trautman (clerical), Bob Venables (teacher), and Gary Wilkinson (Operations).

Staffing Changes

Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Bittante will be leaving us and headed to Comox Valley! Nicole tendered her resignation effective August 31 as she will be the new Secretary-Treasurer of School District No. 71 (Comox Valley). Best wishes in your new position Nicole!

We also have to say bon voyage and send best wishes to Gurgit Chand, HR Specialist, who is leaving the district in mid-July.

Recruitment processes to fill these positions will begin shortly.

Recognizing long term service

For those who missed seeing it in the Synopsis, employees who have been with the district for 30 and 20 years were recognized with a token of appreciation and refreshments at the June board meeting at the District Education Support Centre.

Introduced by Ryan Brennan, Director of Instruction (Human Resources), all of the honourees were congratulated by Official Trustee Mike McKay and Superintendent of Schools/CEO Peter Jory.

Honoured for being with the district for 30 years are Don Ennis (teacher), Scott Foster (custodian), Alan Harrison (principal), Suzanne James (teacher) and Heather Reid (clerical).

Those recognized for 20 years of service included Lynda Bennett (teacher), Don Bennett (teacher), Michael Booth (teacher), Pamela Dettwiler (teacher),  Bev DeWitt (teacher),  Erin Janowsky (teacher), Dorothy Jones (Indigenous Education), Nancy Kolkind (speech-language), Corrinne Langston (principal), Sandi Little (teacher), Leahann Mohle (clerical), Rob Neid (teacher), Karen Packalen (teacher), Lynn Perepolkin (teacher), Brenda O’Dell (teachers’ association president), Megan Ollinger (teacher), Stephen Ollinger (manager of information technology), Rachel Richardson (CEA), Barb Scafe (custodial), Donna Spelay (clerical).

July Board Meeting

A board meeting will be held on July 10 at the District Education Support Centre (DESC) at 1 p.m. (please note change from usual time of 6 p.m.)

Summer Hours

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june 2018 OTFStaff changes

There are several changes at the district office as well as announced changes to principal and vice-principalships.

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Congratulations Irene!

At the Indigenous graduation ceremony on Wednesday it was announced that District Principal of Indigenous Education Irene LaBoucane has been chosen the new Superintendent of Schools for Prince Rupert School District. At the ceremony Irene was honoured by the First Nations Education Council with a blanket ceremony for all of her service to local Indigenous students.

As you may have heard, Director of Instruction Dianne Ballance has decided to resign from her current position and, as of August, will be the SD83 District Principal of Student Learning. The SD83 Director of Student Learning position is now being advertised.

Current District Principal of Student Learning Christine Love will be leaving the district at the end of the school year to take on her new role as Director of Student Services for SD22. Congrats and best wishes Christine!

There are also a couple of changes in the SD83 district office as we welcome Lianne Tuton to the payroll department and Gurjit Chand and Sara Piper to the HR department.

Out in the schools there are also some transfers and additions to the SD83 principal and vice-principal team. Long time Bastion Elementary principal, Isabelle Gervais, will be the new principal at South Canoe with Joel Menzies moving from Ranchero to be the new principal at Bastion Elementary.

Doug Cumming will be moving from M.V. Beattie to Ranchero Elementary with Gene Doray moving to M.V. Beattie from A.L. Fortune.

Scott Anderson will be the new principal at A.L. Fortune with Denise Brown moving from Armstrong Elementary to Len Wood Middle.

Corinne Langston will be the new principal at Armstrong Elementary with newcomers David Wellingham as the new vice-principal at Carlin Elementary Middle and Chris Matheson as the new vice-principal at Shuswap Middle School. 

Sad News

Sadly, two of SD83’s employees, both of whom work at Enderby schools, have passed away. Services are now planned.

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Lisa Ruigrok, who has been a CEA at M.V. Beattie since 2016, recently passed away. Lisa’s coworkers describe her as a kind, gentle soul and a strong advocate for kids. Lisa’s husband, Graham Todd, asked that information regarding her funeral service be shared with staff. The service will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 at the Evangelical Church in Enderby – 706 Mill Avenue.

Also, Katherine Dimmick, a long term employee of School District No. 83, passed away on May 12, 2018. Katherine began her career in 1992 and held a number of roles in the district. Since 2008, Katherine has been a valuable member of the A.L. Fortune team as a CEA and role model for her students. She volunteered countless hours to ensure the breakfast and lunch programs ran smoothly and offered nutritious options for the students. A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at the Riverside Community Hall.

South Canoe opening and first events planned!

The district has received permission from the Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) to reopen South Canoe. An open house and kindy orientation are now planned.

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Director of Instruction Carl Cooper reports the first events for the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe School will soon be taking place.

On June 12 the South Canoe Outdoor Learning Kindergarten Orientation for incoming Kindergarten students and parents will be held. This will begin at 9:30 a.m.

An Open House for parents is planned for June 14th from 4:30 – 6 p.m. There will be parent information, introduction of staff, updates on transportation, parking, traffic flow, student drop off, formation of PAC, student supplies for September and time for questions. 

Preparing for new board

Session being held for prospective trustees, policy being developed and chief and deputy electoral officers appointed as the school district prepares for the election in October.

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A session for prospective trustees, similar to one held in May, is set for June 19th after the regular board meeting. If you know someone interested in seeking a position as a school board trustee or would like to learn more about a trustee’s role and responsibilities please join us at this upcoming session!

At the May board meeting, Official Trustee Mike McKay gave second reading to policies on the Accumulated Operating Reserve (Surplus), Board Delegation of Authority, Budget Monitoring and Reporting, Monitoring Board Performance, Roles and Responsibilities of the Board, Trustee Attendance, Trustee Code of Conduct, Trustee Conflict of Interest, Trustee Professional Development, and Trustee Remuneration and Expenses.

“These policies set the framework within which the district operates and were discussed by the Watson Report,” commented McKay. “I appreciate all the work that has been done to get these into place.”

Also in preparation for trustee elections on October 20, 2018, McKay appointed Carrie Pratt as Chief Electoral Officer and Veronica Deacon as Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.

prospective trustee

Come learn about CHEQ

Members of the Human Early Learning Partnership from UBC will be hosting a CHEQ Community Session for all interested Kindergarten teachers, StrongStart facilitators, principals, early learning service providers, and parents on Monday.

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Early Learning Co-ordinator Jennifer Findlay reports  school district staff and members of the Human Early Learning Partnership from UBC will be hosting a CHEQ Community Session for all interested Kindergarten teachers, StrongStart facilitators, principals, early learning service providers, and parents on Monday, June 4th, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the DESC.

CHEQ stands for “Childhood Experiences Questionnaire” and it is a parent-report questionnaire which parents of Kindergarten students complete at the beginning of the school year. Its purpose is to better understand the early experiences of children prior to Kindergarten. The CHEQ has been developed as a companion tool of the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The research findings can help schools, school districts and community members to better understand their EDI results and the factors that contribute to children’s development in their communities. Alayna Ewert, CHEQ and EDI Implementation Lead, and Melanie Hientz, Implementation Manager at HELP, with be joining us from UBC to discuss the CHEQ administration and our school district’s data. They would like to connect with our early learning community to learn more about ways to continue to improve the CHEQ. If you are interested in attending the session, please contact Jennifer Findlay at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca . Healthy conversation and a light dinner will be provided.

Instructional Learning Team

Over 160 connections made by the Instructional Leadership Team with colleagues to co-plan, co-teach and co-learn about renewed curriculum.

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The members of the Instructional Learning Team (ILT) have been busy over the past couple of months connecting with educators across the district to support the implementation of the redesigned curriculum. To date, ILT members have made over 160 connections with fellow colleagues to co-plan, co-teach, and co-learn about the renewed curriculum. Presentations about “Supporting Self-Assessment of the Core Competencies” were facilitated at nine schools and a link has been set-up on the school district website under “Staff Links” for access to self-assessment templates and resources. Moving forward next year, the team plans to create a section on the district website where district staff can easily access curriculum resources. The ILT team can be contacted through the “Instructional Learning Team” group on Office 365.ILT poster 

Indigenous Ed News

May has been a month of cultural growth, experiential learning and the 10th annual Indigenous graduation celebration. Check out how to say “cedar” in Secwepemc!

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Mishel Quaal, Indigenous Education, reports the month began with the culmination of our student leadership youth voice at the Shihiya School Outdoor Classroom. Cultural liaison John Jones shared stories and life lessons while students embraced the comfort of the Sta-east-akin (h-est-east-akin) (c7es7istken) winter home/pit house.

On May 10th T.R.C. Ally Teachers joined Knowledge Keeper Gerry Thomas in the forest for cedar root digging and splitting. The day involved storytelling, plant knowledge and traditional use, connections between curriculum and Indigenous Knowledge.

On May 22nd the Indigenous Advisory Committee worked to interweave community voice into the new Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. The new AEEA will be presented at a community BBQ on June 19th. Everyone is welcome to attend the AEEA presentation BBQ at SAS Sullivan at 5:30pm.

On May 30th our Indigenous Education Department hosted a graduation celebration for our Indigenous students. It was an evening of great food, laughter and acknowledgement for all the hard work our Indigenous students have done.

The Secwepemc word for the month of May is Cedar. Much gratitude to Knowledge Keeper Gerry Thomas for sharing the importance of Cedar within his presentation to teachers on May 10th. Cedar is an amazing tree that provides a great deal of itself to our use. estqw [est](qw) -cedar http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Secwepemc/word/16dcfcaea26011bd/cedar

bigstock--D-Pi-Symbol-10433186-1Numeracy Talk with Val Edgell

Numeracy Co-ordinator Val Edgell provides updates on K-9 math assessments, Box Cars and One Eye Jacks workshop, graduation numeracy assessment, and the final critical concept sheets. Of course, don’t miss out on her Bad Math Joke!

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There’s lots going on in the world of numeracy!

  • Math assessments K-9 have been developed by our district team. These assessments focus only on the critical concepts for each grade and we are inviting teachers to try them out. Once you’ve tried them, we are happy to have a member of the team come out and receive feedback from teachers on the assessments. We will also sit and work with you to record and analyze the results, and come up with some suggestions for moving forward. Please contact Val Edgell vedgell@sd83.bc.ca if you are interested.
  • Box cars and one eyed jacks: Our workshops last week with Jane and John Felling were a huge success! Thanks to Carl for funding our professional development! Due to the interest at the workshop, we have tentatively booked Jane and John to return to our district on August 30, 2018. They are willing to do a longer workshop for us, starting at 8 a.m. and finishing at 1 p.m. There will be two concurrent sessions: K-3 and Grade 4-7 focus. Once again, Carl is volunteering to fund teachers to participate in this professional development opportunity. If there are not enough people interested, the workshop will have to be cancelled, so please sign up on our inservice page if you are willing to commit to this 5 hour session in August. You will not be disappointed!
  • Graduation numeracy assessment: The graduation numeracy assessment will be written for the first time in our district by most of our grade 10 and 11 students. If you haven’t looked at the practice exam yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. I’m also happy to provide whatever help I can with getting students ready to write.
  • Watch for the final critical concept sheets for grades 6-9 coming out by the end of June. Awesome summertime reading!

Bad math joke of the week:

Q: Why should you never talk to pi (π)?

A: Because he will go on forever!

Kindy Orientation & Transition

Kindergarten Orientation sessions are in full swing around the district, reports co-ordinator Jen Findlay. School teams are focused on welcoming the new Kindergarten students and their families to our schools.

Continue ReadingAt the Kindergarten Orientation sessions families meet school principals, Kindergarten teachers, and school resource personnel and participate in a number of play-based learning activities at the orientation session. Here is the list of upcoming sessions – Kindergarten Orientation Schedule Final (revised3) 2018

In order to further support the transition to Kindergarten, a number of schools have partnered with local preschools and StrongStart programs to set up Kindergarten visits for the future Kindergarten students. This provides an opportunity for the preschoolers to see the Kindergarten classroom in action and the current Kindergarten students love being “big buddies” to the younger children.

Next year, our school district has been chosen to participate in the Changing Results for Young Children (CR4YC) project. We will be partnering regionally with the Vernon and Kelowna school districts and appreciate the funding and support from the Ministry of Education and the United Way of the Lower Mainland. CR4YC follows a similar framework to Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) however the focus has shifted to include community-based Early Childhood Educators, Strong Start Facilitators, and Kindergarten Teachers. CR4YR focused on reading and CR4YC is focusing on social and emotional well-being. One of the CR4YC project goals is to identify and apply a strengthened understanding of quality practices associated with improving the social and emotional well being of young children. Kim Schonert-Reichl is the lead scholar advising the CR4YC initiative, including professional learning sessions throughout the year.

Inquiry Teams Report Out

Literacy Helping Teacher Jen Kelly reports our district inquiry teams presented their learning journeys last week to a group of enthusiastic teachers.

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She explains each presentation represented a year of working with colleagues and delving into inquiry questions that were meaningful, relevant and incredibly inspiring. Overall, the teams explained that the greatest learning this year came from having the time and space to collaborate and learn with and from others.  A huge thank you to all the teachers and administrators who shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with us throughout the year! Look for an opportunity to apply for next year’s inquiry series in September!


Summer Slide program in Salmon Arm and Armstrong

In partnership with LASS, SD83 offering program to help young readers.

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Literacy Helping Teacher Jen Kelly reports, in partnership with LASS, we will be running the Summer Slide Summer Reading Program in Salmon Arm and we are adding a second location this summer in Armstrong. Click here to read Summer Slide Brochure Salmon Arm

Summer reading loss affects all students but can drastically reduce a struggling reader’s success in the next grade. Research shows us that once a student is behind and struggling they need extra time and support to catch up.  The program is for students in grades 1-3 who would benefit from additional instruction and support with reading. If you have any questions about our summer reading programs, please contact Jen Kelly.

Science teachers updated on WHMIS

Science teachers in district updated on new WHMIS regulations. District also offering an online course.

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On May 23 a WHMIS 2015 training session was held for all science teachers in the district to update district science staff on the new WHMIS 2015 regulations.  “We are now going to be going through all our science labs and updating them with new safety data sheets and new labeling in order to be in compliance by December 2018 which is the deadline for the full transition from WHMIS 1998 to WHMIS 2015,” reports OHS manager Bev Snow.

She noted all maintenance, transportation and custodial staff have completed this new training.  For any remaining staff that work with WHMIS controlled products, and have not taken the updated training, we have offered an on-line course through our OHS webpage.  Further information on this can be found on the OHS webpage.

 Safety Information

Just a reminder, the school district’s Occupational Health and Safety webpage is found under Staff Links and has safety information as well as forms on it.  Bev Snow comments the page is always being updated, so if you are looking for information and can’t find it, please contact the OHS office.

Summer Cleaning Program

Building Services Manager Bev Snow asks that over the summer holidays please check and see if your school is closed for cleaning as custodial staff appreciate staff remaining out of building while the intensive cleaning is being done.

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A full custodial meeting was held on May 30 to prepare for the upcoming summer cleaning program.  All schools will be thoroughly cleaned, including carpets shampooed and floors scrubbed and waxed in time for school opening in September.  A master schedule of booking activities and the custodial cleaning schedule for each school is completed in June.  Maintenance, tech and custodial all work together to accommodate each other’s work.

“Schools are closed to staff during scheduled custodial cleaning times.  We really appreciate staff remaining out of the building during this time in order to do our work,” adds Bev.


april 2018 headerMessage from the Superintendent

Hopefully all of you have received an email with a quick survey about the District Strategic Plan and Communications. As we move into the early stages of implementing our District Strategic Plan we wish to do a quick “check-in” on where the stakeholders see our progress so far.

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As well, our newly formed Communication Committee is considering how our district and schools interact with their community, and are looking at some ways we might improve this critical part of our work in support of our second goal area in our strategic plan.

This survey will be open for one week. Please click on the link and take just a few minutes to answer these questions and help guide our work going forward.

This is always a very busy time of year at schools, as well as at the district level, as we work at successfully wrapping up one school year and planning for another.

Budgets (for both this year and next), enrolment projections, capacity,  and Classroom Enhancement Fund discussions are well under way.  Work also continues on the possible disposal of several properties (with funds going to enhance student learning environments), gaining approval from the Agriculture Land Commission to re-open South Canoe Elementary for the outdoor learning program, and all of the work to prepare for the election of a new five member board of trustees in October.

Enjoy your week,

Peter Jory, Superintendent/CEO

Message from new Director of Instruction (Human Resources) Ryan Brennan

Ryan B (2)Hi, everyone. It is great to be here in District. I’ve now completed several weeks in my role as Director of Instruction – Human Resources.

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I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few schools and meet many great people (and am trying to learn and remember a lot of names). I want to thank the District and the community for being so welcoming. I look forward to getting out to more schools and meeting more people before the end of the school year. I also look forward to connecting with everyone in the community as we head into Spring and spend time outside in this beautiful area of the country that I now call home. Thank you!

Farewell Nathalie and hello Sara!

HR Manager Nathalie Lebrie is leaving district. New HR member coming from SD68

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HR Manager Nathalie Labrie (seen on left with Tracey Ward) has left SD83 and is working for Kelowna school district. We’d like to thank Nathalie for all of her efforts and especially her work with the HR department’s conversion to Atreive.

On May 14th, Sara Piper will be joining SD83. She is currently a Human Resources Consultant with School District No. 68 (Nanaimo Ladysmith) and has over 10 years of experience as an HR Generalist in various industries. She is a certified disability management professional and is currently working on her Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation.

Safety Committee Training at DESC


This year’s annual District’s Safety Committee training was held on April 5th at the DESC with all district joint health and safety committee members attending.

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This was a full day of training organized by our district health and safety department. Bev Snow, Building Services & Occupational Health & Safety Manager, comments the day turned out to be very successful with lots of participation.  “We had some really top notch safety professionals doing the training. Key note speaker Linda Edgecombe, delivered a powerful message focusing on stress-related illness, building resiliency and breaking ‘busy’.” Other training included sessions on prevention of ergonomic related injuries and how to conduct site safety inspections and incident investigations. Health and safety committee members are a volunteer group that work to identify situations that may be unhealthy or unsafe and make recommendations for the improvement of occupational health and safety for all workers. If you would like to become involved in your school’s site based safety committee, you are encouraged to contact your principal or any member of your school safety committee.

Update on automated dispatch system

A few minor glitches reported with new automated dispatch, but mainly working well.

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The automated dispatch system went live on April 3, 2018 at 5 p.m. Manager of HR Nathalie Labrie reports the district’s implementation specialist from Atrieve was here in early April. “We monitored the call out system throughout the week and fixed issues as they were coming up or brought to our attention.”

“Although we are still working out minor glitches, we are happy with the roll out of this new system. We understand this is a change for many of you and we do appreciate your patience and collaboration as we complete this implementation.”

As of 11 a.m. on April 11th, TTOCs have accepted a total of 220 dispatches and casuals have accepted a total of 100 dispatches since the system has started calling out.

A few features to note for our casuals and TTOC’s:

• The refusal code to decline a replacement assignment is “1”.

• Atrieve’s Web Portal offers many features for you to manage your unavailability, view or cancel your dispatches, update your contact information, etc…

• For TTOC’s make sure your Workboard Profile is set up on the Web Portal if you would like to get notified by text or email when you have been requested.

• Support staff and Teachers are also able to view their absences and replacements by going on the Web Portal under the Absence Menu.

• We also have set up a Dashboard on the Atrieve Web Portal for our TTOC’s and casuals to view their set up for preferences for dispatches. Please contact Leian at (250) 804-7837 if you wish to change some of that information.

“Remember, we are available in HR to help you navigate this new system. Feel free to connect with anyone in HR by phone or email.”

aos in jerseys

Students and staff throughout the school district showed their support and caring for Humboldt Broncos by taking part in Jerseys for Humboldt on Thursday, April 12. Seen here are the principals and vice-principals at their monthly meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Sexual Health Education Resources 

lesson planSalmon Arm Public Health has created a Sexual Health teaching bin to assist our Grades 4-9 teachers with the new curriculum. 

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These lesson plans were developed and created by Alberta Health Services and are available online for anybody to use.  These lesson plans have been downloaded and made more user friendly.  If you are a teacher in Salmon Arm please contact your School Nurse at your local Health Unit to inquire or sign out a lesson plan.  If you teach outside of Salmon Arm/Sicamous and are interested in having access to a similar type of Sexual Health teaching bin please contact Healthy Schools Co-ordinator Laura Paiement at (250) 803-6168.

Literacy update with Jen Kelly

Jen introduces two district collaborative inquiry teams, SMS and North Canoe

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Findings from a recent pan-Canadian study on professional learning show that the form of professional development teachers value most was collaborative learning experiences where teachers learned from and with other teachers (Campbell et al., 2016). In general, the teachers described the importance of collective, job-embedded professional learning that focused on inquiry.

I would like to introduce two of our district collaborative inquiry teams.

First, meet Team SMS (seen below)! Megan Reed, Kira Limber, Colleen Craig, Sue Whitehead and Wendy Woodhurst are inquiring into how to increase motivation and engagement in reading with middle school students. They are using the book, The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller to guide their professional learning and gain inspiration to try new activities and tweak their teaching practice. They came to this inquiry by collectively wondering, why should middle school students lose their love of reading? They are most excited about the collaboration piece. Sue exclaimed, “it’s like our own little passion project!”.

SMS inquiry staff.jpgSecond, we have a dynamic duo from North Canoe who are excited about exploring nature with their primary students by getting their kids to use their hands and their imagination to build with natural products. Nadine Quilty and Karen Quinton are inquiring into how they can incorporate ADST (Applied Design, Skills and Technology) in the outdoors with a focus on Indigenous Education through the various seasons. Through appreciating and respecting nature, their students are engaged in building with leaves, twigs, sticks (in fall), snow (in winter) and sand and tarps (in Spring).

SD83 Instructional Leadership Team 

ILT posterInterested in learning more or exploring the renewed curriculum? ILT team here to help!

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Instructional Leadership Team member Jennifer Findlay reports it is exciting to hear about the numerous Instructional Learning Team initiatives that are already taking place around the district to help support teachers around the renewed curriculum. “If there is a teacher or school team interested in learning more about a specific area of the curriculum, core competencies, assessment practices, collaborative inquiry, etc. please contact the ILT team. We look forward to further exploring the renewed curriculum with our colleagues and learning together.”

Indigenous Ed update

Busy times for Indigenous Ed . . . Secwepemc word of month is pesqépts

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Indigenous Education Helping Teacher Mishel Quaal reports March and  April have kept the Indigenous Education department hopping. Students throughout the district were participating in learning opportunities such as drumming, Secwepemc knowledge sharing, dancing and painting. In addition, local Knowledge Keeper Gerry Thomas has been busy sharing his artifacts, knowledge and skills with students and staff.

Our Secwepemc word for April is Spring. It is our hope that everyone has a safe and productive spring season.

pesqépts – Spring

Listen to the word here: http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Secwepemc/word/fdb0319ccb0df2b6/Spring

bigstock--D-Pi-Symbol-10433186-1Numeracy Talk with Val Edgell

How much math is enough?

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That’s a good question. Some Canadian provinces have mandated a minimum number of minutes each day to be spent on math, whereas other provinces have “suggested” minutes. The bottom line is that the more practice someone has with numeracy concepts, the more they will be able to use them. Ontario has mandated a minimum of 300 minutes per week of math at the elementary level (60 minutes per day). BC does not have mandated minutes, but I do believe that 60 minutes per day of numeracy is a good target.

Wow! That seems like a lot of math, but remember, it doesn’t have to be all at the same time and we need to recognize the numeracy opportunities that exist in all curricular areas. For example, in primary most teachers spent time each day on calendar activities. There are so many numeracy concepts in calendar (time, number of days in the week, month, school year so far etc). Another excellent area for building numeracy skills in primary is working with spatial reasoning. For the past two years I have worked with two groups of primary teachers on spatial reasoning skills using the book Taking Shape. Every teacher who has been part of these groups has strongly recommended this book and has found the activities to be very easy to implement, highly engaging for students, and makes learning visible.

Problem solving is also an essential part of our math daily routines. Teaching someone to use the tools that are in a tool box is important for sure. The final goal is that the person is able to assess a situation, decide which tool is best suited for the job, and then use it competently and efficiently to complete the job. In essence, this is the art of problem solving in math. We spend a great deal of time teaching students to “use” mathematical concepts, and we need to provide many opportunities for them to “select” the appropriate tool as well. Daily problem solving doesn’t have to be all about wonderful open ended problems although I do recommend spending one class per week working through the problem of the week type questions. Daily problem solving can be as simple as “John has saved $47 and wants to buy a game for $96. How much more does he need to save?” Try having a math journal for each student where they solve the problem of the day. The one thing to remember is to mix up the “tools” used in the problem. If you are teaching subtraction, don’t make all the daily problems about subtraction. We want students to have to think about what tool to apply to the situation.

And finally… for the secondary teachers out there…

Wanted! Grad numeracy markers! The new provincial assessment needs to be scored and the Ministry is looking for people willing to score the assessments. The January assessments have all been scored and from what I have heard, the teachers really enjoyed their time scoring. Feedback has been positive and teachers have said it was excellent professional development. You do get paid for scoring and scoring happens on the weekends or in the summer.

In order to be eligible for scoring, you must attend a credentialing workshop. The closest one is coming up in Kelowna on April 21. The link to register is https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/exams/marker_info.htm

You need to register for the credentialing workshop and then apply to be a scorer if you decide you would like to. Even just attending the credentialing workshop will help you understand exactly how the assessment questions will be scored. If you have questions, feel free to email me directly.

Bad math joke of the week:

Q: How can you make seven an even number?

A: Take the “s” out!

Kindy orientation

Early Learning Co-ordinator Jennifer Findlay would like to let staff know that kindergarten orientation events are starting soon.

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Before starting Kindergarten in the fall, parents/caregivers and their children are invited to attend a Kindergarten Orientation event at their neighbourhood school. Families meet school principals, kindergarten teachers, and school resource personnel and participate in a number of play-based learning activities,” she explains. A complete list of dates can be found on the school district’s website under the drop down menu for Parents and Students and then by clicking on Early Learning.

Coming up

• Non-instructional day on Friday, April 27

• Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the DAC – Information session on the Downtown       Activity Centre

• Monday, May 7 at 6 p.m. at the DESC – Trustee Information Session.

• Board meeting on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. at DESC

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