The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is Thursday, Sept. 30. (Contributed)

Central Okanagan school briefs

Schools will be closed to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30

A new federal stat holiday will take effect this month in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30.

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside issued a directive that B.C. public schools will be closed that day.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has also declared the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, as Truth and Reconciliation Week in the school district.

In reaffirming its commitment to the school district’s Equity in Action and Reconciliation Agreement, the trustees had some disagreement at the Sept. 16, board meeting over a resolution that read: The Board of Education acknowledges the harm that was caused by the recent confirmation of unmarked graves of children in residential grounds across Canada.

The contentious word in that statement was ‘harm,’ which trustees Lee-Ann Tiede and Amy Geistlinger introduced an amendment to change to ‘emotional turmoil.’

The amendment was defeated and adoption of the final resolution was unanimous.

READ MORE: Positive strides for Central Okanagan Indigenous student equity journey

***

The school district has initiated the public consultation process for catchment reviews for the Westside and Okanagan- Mission schools.

Each catchment review seeks to develop long-term solutions to capacity issues in the two school areas.

Issues facing Westside schools include the English program for École George Pringle Elementary being moved to repurposed Webber Road Elementary for 2022-23 school year, relocation of Elementary French Immersion program and changes to secondary catchments when new high school is opened.

While funding is yet to be announced, the school board decided last spring to repurpose Pringle as the site for the new Westside Secondary.

Meanwhile, elementary and middle schools in the Constable Neil Bruce Middle School are significantly over-utilized, while there is space in the École Glenrosa Middle School catchment schools.

For Okanagan-Mission, the three elementary feeder schools are at 129 per cent utilization with enrolment continuing to grow, Canyon Falls Middle is currently at 96 per cent utilization with no room on site to expand, Bellevue Creek Elementary reopening is under consideration, and consideration is being given to single-track Elementary French Immersion schools at the recommendation of school district staff.

The first surveys for both catchment reviews are now accepting feedback until Sept. 30. For more information see the Central Okanagan Public Schools website.

***

A video was shown at the board meeting capturing the thoughts of teachers entering their first year of teaching for the Leon Country Schools in the U.S.

While the comments by the teachers were not local, school superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal said the reflections of those interviewed struck universal themes in their profession.

Takeaway comments from the video presentation included “helping to change students’ lives”; “teaching students the world is bigger than they are”; ” people are inherently connected” and how “the world is a sad, lonely place if you don’t realize things happen beyond just your life;” “lessons learned in the classroom will continue to resonate through your life”; and ” inspire students to find success.”

***

A new wave of administrative staff was introduced to the school board:

• Steve Cann, district principal of international education

• John Morrone, principal of eSchool23

• LeeAnn Yapps, principal at École Belgo Elementary

• Lindsay Hamilton, principal at Hudson Road Elementary

• Elise Saraceni, principal at Constable Neil Bruce Middle

• April Strickland, vice-principal of Indigenous Education

• Allison Goreas, vice-principal at École Dr. Knox Middle

• Lisa Wilson, vice-principal at Mar Jok Elementary

• Tonia MacGregor, acting vice-principal at École George Pringle Elementary

***

The school board signed off on the installation of an outdoor learning space at Davidson Elementary in Lake Country.

With fundraising support from the Davidson Road parent advisory council, students and staff, the outdoor learning centre will consist of four picnic tables, planters and a sharing circle.

The cost for the project is $25,000, with school district staff providing the labour required.

The outdoor learning space concept is intended to create additional opportunities for integrated, cross-curricular studies; have a positive impact on individuals’ overall health and social/emotional well-being; have a positive effect on motivation and behaviour; encourage problem-solving and help children negotiate risk.

READ MORE: COVID vaccine debate a minefield for Central Okanagan teachers to navigate

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Okanagan