The Central Okanagan School District is seeking to participate in a pilot project pairing childhood educators to assist kindergarten teachers and students. (Contributed)

School briefs: Bankhead chosen for pilot project

Seemless Day project proposed for Kelowna elementary school

Bankhead Elementary has been chosen as the potential participating school in a provincial kindergarten pilot project to optimize the transition from home to school for students.

Called the Seemless Day Kindergarten Pilot, Central Okanagan Public Schools is in the running to be one of 20 school districts to receive $50,000 in help cover the cost to fill two childhood educator positions.

Additional costs would be covered by program user fees.

Rhonda Ovelson, assistant school district administrator contact for early learning, said the pilot project is another way the province is seeking to meld school resources with childcare support needs, covering a timespan from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Ovelson said Bankhead was chosen because of its location and lack of childcare support that exists in other district kindergarten programs.

In 2007, the first StrongStart Centre initiative was established at A.S. Matheson Elementary to provide kindergarten student child support. Since then, the program has spread to eight schools.

“There is a want and a readiness by the school principal and kindergarten teacher for this and they’re already working on how this would transition into the school,” Ovelson said.

***

Chris Perry, president of the Central Okanagan Music Educators Association, sent a letter to the Central Okanagan board of education, applauding the support from school principals, vice-principals and administrative staff for the student music program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calling it a year full of stress and emotion, he said abiding by COVID safety measures while striving to retain the connection music brings to students has weighed heavy on teachers.

That connection to the public has been assisted by both music recordings and virtual performances.

Perry said without exception, music teachers have received administrative support to meet music teaching challenges and it has been appreciated.

“That is a heartwarming message to receive,” said board of education chair Moyra Baxter, citing how a year of stress and difficulty for teachers has still ended with a positive message of hope to build on in the future.

***

Concerns about school district staff getting a COVID vaccine who missed the recent in-school clinics organized by Interior Health have largely been put to rest because of now more ready access to getting inoculated, specifically with the Pfizer vaccine.

The vaccine age range has now been opened up, with 12-18 year-olds also now eligible to get the shot in the arm.

“The opportunity is there now for any staff to get the Pfizer shot if they wish it,” said Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan Public Schools administrator/CEO.

***

The board of education has declared the week of May 30 to June 5 as AccessAbility Week in Central Okanagan public schools.

June has also been declared as Pride Month.

***

The postcard initiative options for parents to sign and send to ministries of education and finance officials in Victoria to advocate for a Rutland Middle School replacement and new Glenmore Secondary were introduced to school trustees.

A Glenmore Secondary advocacy video, created by Central Okanagan Public Schools communications advisor Justin Schneider, was also debuted. It can be seen online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyiMI-Apual.

For more information about the school advocacy campaign launched by the school district earlier this year, follow the links on the Central Okanagan Public Schools webpage.

***

The board of education has entered enhancement agreements with Pearson Road Elementary and Bankhead Elementary for installation of the popular school GaGa Ball courts.

The court cost is about $8,500 when concrete pad materials are required as is the case for Pearson school and $4,000 if installed on existing pavement or concrete as is the case for Bankhead.

***

The Indigenous Education preliminary budget for the 2021-22 school year will benefit from some increases in funding.

With an anticipated 2,945 Indigenous students (Kindergarten to Grade 12) in the school district, the provincial per-pupil funding will increase by $65 in 2021-22 to $1,565 per student, leading to the district receiving a total of $4,608,925 in targeted funding.

There is also a budget surplus carried forward of $537,593 resulting from planned program initiatives cancelled by COVID-19 pandemic health policy regulations, money that will be re-allocated in the Indigenous learning program, which is overseen by the Indigenous Education Council which acknowledges the history and territory of the Okanagan Syilx People and Westbank First Nation.

***

Scott Sieben, principal of Mount Boucherie Secondary School, will serve as president of the Central Okanagan Principals’/Vice-Principals’ Association for 2021-22 school year.

Joining Sieben on the executive are vice-president Jared Birkeland; contract advisory chair Derek Lea; treasurer Mike Dornian; secretary Jeremy Sanbrooks; elementary liaison Jennifer Adamson and Tim Vanbrummelen; middle liaison Ryan Ward; secondary liaison Darryl Smith; Pro-D programs Jim Laird and Brenda Kirsch; Pro-D finance Wynter Oakes; social Jill Voros and Violeta Malfair; climate Michelle Kaupp and Laurie Fraser; chapter council rep Leeann Yapps and Barrie McLeod; members-at-large Jasmine Lemon, Wendy Briggs and Kyla Babcock.

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