Mount Boucherie secondary teacher Tyler Ernst led school trustees and staff in an instructional session on how to pronounce 'Every Child Matters' in the Okanagan language at last Wednesday's board of education meeting. (Barry Gerding/Black Press Media)

Central Okanagan school briefs: Traffic safety a school district priority

Trustees salute bus driver, traffic safety officer in recognizing School Bus Safety Awareness Week, Oct. 13-23

Safety on the roads for students, parents and school bus drivers remains an ongoing concern for Central Okanagan Public Schools.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education recognized this in saluting the contribution of two school district employees to School Bus Safety Awareness Week, Oct. 13-23

Don Heathcote spoke to school trustees at the Oct. 15 board meeting about his experiences as a 30-year school bus driver, as did Dan Glasscock, the district recently hired traffic safety officer.

Heathcote, who transports students from the Ellison area to Rutland Senior Secondary, was prepared to step down from behind the wheel this fall but opted to stick around a bit longer after speaking to his doctor and other drivers and taking into consideration the safety measures used to address COVID-19 issues.

“I decided to stick in there for a bit longer,” he said.

Heathcote talked about the personal rapport he develops with students who exit and board his bus daily and helping kids with special needs on his route get to and from school safely.

“You hold yourself to a high standard of safety and I commend you for the service you have done and continue to do for the school district, ” Central Okanagan Public Schools superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal said of Heathcote’s commitment to his job.

Glasscock, a 20-year school district employee and paid-on-call firefighter, said since September he has delved into issues involving arrival and dismissal of students at local schools, identifying where traffic congestion issues exist and working with police, school staff and parents to find solutions.

“I have just been getting my feet wet and up to speed in this new job and difficult situations that need to be addressed,” said Glasscock.

“If parents have questions and I don’t have an immediate answer, I will find that out for you.”

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The board of education has opted not to include a trustee on the long-term facility plan steering committee.

Trustee Julia Fraser was originally appointed to the committee in February 2019 in her role as planning facilities committee chair, but the board has since decided the committee be left to staff members who will report their findings to the school board.

Public consultation is being organized to deal with two particular issues requiring some immediate action – adding French Immersion to the new Lake Country school H.S. Grenda Middle opening next fall and enrolment pressure on Kelowna Secondary School.

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The board of education will write a letter of congratulations to Westbank First Nation Elders Grouse and Pamela Barnes for receiving Okanagan College’s highest honour, to be bestowed as Honourary Fellows.

The two have been dedicated to preserving the Syilx language, knowledge and culture for the younger generations.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan teachers push to cancel FSA testing

READ MORE: Downside for parents who opted out of Central Okanagan School District programs

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