Bright New World features artworks by student artists from across the Central Okanagan and marks the 35th anniversary of the annual Art in Action student exhibition. (Kelowna Art Gallery photo)

School briefs: Central Okanagan students use art to showcase vision for the future

More than 139 Central Okanagan students submit artworks for Kelowna Art Gallery exhibit

Central Okanagan students envisioning positive change on a local and global scale through art is currently on display at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

Called Art In Action: A Bright New World, the artworks of 139 students representing nine schools will be on exhibit until June 13.

The exhibit reflects the partnership between the art gallery and school district, which offers the opportunity for students to have their art showcased in a professional art gallery format.

A Bright New World is a vivid illustration of how it influences students’ creativity and to learn an appreciation for the world around them and themselves as individuals.

“It is so intrinsic to our education system,” said Jim Elwood, local art teacher and exhibit developer, in a video presented at the Central Okanagan board of education meeting Wednesday (June 9).

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Trustees approved the long-term facilities plan for the school district, a guide for how the board of education will address capital project needs and rising enrolment demands on existing school space.

“The long-term facility plan is a path to follow but as you go along, sometimes you have to change direction based on the circumstances before you, such as whether you get a new school or not in a given area,” said board chair Moyra Baxter.

“So we have a plan for the future, knowing things can and usually do change.”

Ryan Stierman, secretary-treasurer of Central Okanagan Public Schools, noted these plans typically have a five-year lifespan before requiring a review. However, the current plan has not been updated since 2012.

Trustee Chantelle Desrosiers noted the board will still have to ratify all decisions individually outlined in the capital plan.

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The board of education has adopted a staff and committee recommendation for public consultation to take place this fall regarding the move of Westside French Immersion (FI) students from Ecole Kelowna Senior Secondary to Mount Boucherie for the 2023-24 school year on an interim basis.

The permanent location for the program in West Kelowna is to be determined upon completion of a second Westside secondary school.

The shift resulted from an enrolment crisis at KSS, which required students to be transferred to other schools, which predicated a new FI program started at Okanagan Mission Secondary.

FI students in that school’s catchment area from KLO Middle School, normally bound for KSS, will be redirected to OKM.

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The provincial CommunityLINK program will provide $1,258,789 in funding to the Central Okanagan School District for the 2021-22 school year.

More than 61 per cent of that funding has typically gone directly to the school meals program, which will be the case again next year with $775,000 earmarked for the program.

The funding also impacts students through elementary and middle school-focused mental health initiatives, the Health Promoting Schools program and the Young Parent program.

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Rutland Senior Secondary School has been set up as a host site by Interior Health for Rutland families to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Second dose vaccinations are currently underway while the number of exposures in public schools continues to decline.

Kevin Kaardal, school district superintendent/CEO, added there is an expectation an announcement is forthcoming shortly from the ministry of education outlining the school restart plan for September.

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The graduation walk across the stage for the 2021 grad classes of Kelowna Senior Secondary, Rutland Senior Secondary, Mount Boucherie Secondary and George Elliot Secondary all took place over the last week.

The grad ceremonies for Okanagan Mission Secondary, Central Schools and eSchool 23 will be held between June 17 and 19.

Indigenous student graduation ceremonies will take place over the next two weeks around the school district.

This year, 610 graduates applied for 550 bursary awards which amounted to $489,180 through the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society.

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Students and staff at Okanagan Mission Secondary recently held their 2021 Relay for Life, organized by the school’s leadership program participants.

With about 100 students and staff taking part in more than 15 teams, the effort raised $23,897.

Schools