Ga-Ga Ball courts are becoming increasingly popular with Central Okanagan students, leading local school parent advisory councils to launch fundraising efforts to install the game courts in their schools. (Contributed)

Ga-Ga Ball courts are becoming increasingly popular with Central Okanagan students, leading local school parent advisory councils to launch fundraising efforts to install the game courts in their schools. (Contributed)

School briefs: Kelowna students meet sustainability challenge

Projects undertaken by KSS and OKM students

Central Okanagan students have stepped up in developing ways to meet the global sustainability challenge.

Three groups, one from École Kelowna Secondary (KSS) and two from Okanagan-Mission Secondary (OKM), developed school projects in response to the Sustainability Development Challenge, a United Nations initiative founded in 2003.

Each group presented their project objectives at the Central Okanagan Board of Education meeting Wednesday, March 10.

The Sustainable Development Challenge is one of several events held each February. Each year students are partnered with community organizations to assist with a sustainability project.

Finishing third in the challenge was the KSS Zed Ed project, to establish a podcast studio to give voice to youth about issues they face with the hopes of spreading the podcast school district-wide.

Team student team members were Cameron Simon, Hanna Howard, Helen Kang, and Heather Ikesaka, aided by support teacher Dayna Margetts

In second was a school composting initiative created by OKM students Avery Ford, Madeleine Darlington, and Taylor Blenkin, helped by support teachers Mike Ross and Jasmine Lemon.

In first place was Our Voice for Change, another OKM student-led project to reduce or eliminate the use of animal dissection in the science classes

Students working on this project were Lexie Pfenning, Annabelle Lee, Erin Work and Caitlin Mahony, with the help of support teacher Mike Dornian.

READ MORE: Kelowna students advocate for non-animal dissections in biology class

***

The board of education agreed to write a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting an update on the Ministry of Education’s progress towards responding to the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) Report: Room for Improvement: Toward Better Education Outcomes for Children in Care (2017).

One of the more “glaring” statistical findings of the study that of B.C. students in continuing care who began Grade 8 in 2009-10, only about 51 per cent graduated within six years, compared to a nearly 89 per cent graduation rate for all other students.

Trustee Norah Bowman said the report had six recommendations to act on, and only two have specifically been addressed so far.

“I want the letter to focus on why those four recommendations have not been followed up on as of yet,” said trustee Norah Bowman.

***

Glenrosa Elementary is the latest Central Okanagan public school to build a Ga-Ga Ball court.

The board of education voted to enter into an enhancement agreement with Glenrosa Elementary for the Ga-Ga Ball court.

Ga-Ga Ballis generally credited with being developed in Israel, a variant of dodgeball that is played in a gaga “pit.” The game combines dodging, striking, running, and jumping, with the objective of being the last person standing.

Players hit the ball at each other with their hands, and are eliminated if the ball strikes them on or below the knee (occasionally the waist). The game can be played by a group of individual players or with teams, as well as in one-on-one matches.

***

The school calendar has been adopted for 2021-2022, with no changes from the current year’s schedule breakdown.

David Tether, representing CUPE school operational staff, made a plea for CUPE workers to have minutes added to their shifts to make up for lost hours due to the extra week of spring break, which saves the school district $600,000 in wages but places pressure on unionized school staff already working on a 10-month year.

“Many of our members are single parents who have two or three different jobs,” said Tether.

Bob McEwen, the committee chair of the calendar committee, said there could be some opportunities for 10-month employees to do “meaningful work” during spring break.

***

Because of spring break, public schools in the Central Okanagan School District are closed from Monday, March 15, through to Friday, March 26.

Spring break will also impact board of education meetings, as the net regularly scheduled board meeting will be Wednesday, April 14, 6 p.m.

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