Our Board and district staff will be recognizing retirees and long service employees on Wednesday, October 29th at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos. This is our first year for recognizing long service employees with more than 10 years of service in the district, and will be an annual event with the retirement celebration.
Our learning forum, held in Keremeos last week, was on secondary trades and dual credit programs in the district as well as the Yes-2-It In the Classroom program. This year the program will be running in conjunction with the Industry Training Authority’s Yes-2-It Trades Exploration Program under the direction of Boyd Turnbull and other journeymen. All grades 6 and 7 students will build, plumb and wire a wall. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore the trades and to ponder the trades as a career. Thank you to Rod Kitt for this informative presentation.
The next learning forum will be held on November 12th at Oliver Elementary School and the topic will be children and youth anxiety. We invite parents and any interested community members to attend. Anxiety in our students is of great concern to all of us and we are trying many different approaches at school to support students with anxiety issues.
An agreement was reached with the teachers’ union (SOSTU) to make up the August 26, 2014 school plan day at an evening session on October 14th, 2014 in Oliver. The evening was attended by almost 200 teachers, education assistants and administrators and was facilitated by Linda Kaser, co-founder of the Network for Inquiry and Innovation in BC. The evening engaged schools to reflect on their inquiry work and to make plans for this school year. Schools also revisited their school inquiry questions and learning plans. It was wonderful to gather as a district learning community with lots of enthusiasm and positive energy for the new year of learning together. On October 15th Dr. Kaser worked with staff at Osoyoos Elementary and Osoyoos Secondary schools in a focused discussion about their inquiry work and directions for this year.
The Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) and Teacher Education Fund (TEF) process has now been finalized. For 2014/15 the district received $467,723 in Learning Improvement Funds to support class complexities and learning needs. This consisted of $374,178 Teacher Education Funds to be used for additional teacher time and $93,545 in support staff priorities for classrooms These resources will have a positive impact on classrooms in our district.
District staff provided an update on enrollment at the Board of Education meeting and the data showed an overall decrease of about 75 students in the district in comparison to September 30th, 2013. This is concerning to the Board but the good news is that we are still above student numbers projected for this year and our schools are staffed according to projections. We are awaiting final enrolment numbers which are still changing; final numbers are required to be submitted to the Ministry by the end of the month.
Southern Okanagan Secondary (SOSS), Oliver Elementary, Osoyoos Elementary and Osoyoos Secondary students attended We-Day on October 22nd in Vancouver. We hope that this day inspired another year of change by students in our district. We-Day is tied to the year-long We Act program which offers
educational resources, campaigns and support materials to help turn the event’s inspiration into sustained action. Through We Act, students commit to taking on one local and one global action to better the world, earning their way to We Day next year.
Trustee elections will take place on November 15th along with other municipal elections. In this district three candidates were nominated for two trustee positions in Oliver. The Board of Education is disappointed that trustee candidates were not invited to participate in the All-Candidates meeting in Oliver. We feel that this sends a message to communities that trustees are not valued and are not active participants in local government elections. Trustees in the communities of Keremeos/Cawston, Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos were elected by acclamation.
A basketball field trip for SOSS students and their coach, Mo Basso, was approved at the last Board of Education meeting. The basketball players will be travelling to Oahu, Hawaii in December to play basketball against local teams. This will be a great team building experience for them and we are sure that they will have lots of fun. Best of luck to all of you!
Should you have any questions, please contact me at 250-498-1333.
Submitted by Marieze Tarr, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)