The Central Okanagan Board of Education meets twice a month at the school district administration boardroom. (File photo)

School briefs: Outdoor classroom approved for Ellison Elementary

The $12,000-plus project has the support of Central Okanagan Board of Education.

An outdoor classroom will be created for students at Ellison Elementary School.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education signed off on supporting the proposal at last Wednesday’s school board meeting (Jan. 27) for the estimated $12,954 project cost.

The cost includes site preparation, installation of bench seating and moving an already purchased sea-can container into location as part of the site plan.

With the outdoor classroom, situated on a 20×40 plot of grass, the Ellison students will have the opportunity to learn using a hand’s on approach, connect with nature and “explore their areas of passion using inquiry-based learning.”


The school board welcomed three new vice-principals to the district administrative staff this school year.

Jodi Everett joined Springvalley Elementary this fall, with a 30-year career in teaching that spans elementary, middle and high school levels along with specialist roles in learning assistance and school counselling positions.

She was at École Belgo Elementary the previous year and George Elliot Secondary for several years prior to that.

Jamie McEvoy comes to the Okanagan, specifically to Rutland Elementary, continuing a diversified career in education in Alberta, including stops in Medicine Hat and more recently Calgary.

“I am impressed by how welcoming a community we have here and the quality of education happening here,” McEvoy said.

Michelle Johnson Banser is the new vice-principal at Mount Boucherie Secondary, but she is no stranger to students having worked at the school in recent years as a classroom teacher and sign language interpreter.

“It has been great knowing the staff and students to help me make this transition,” Johnson Banser said.


The trustees were also introduced to the newest staff member for Central Okanagan Public Schools, Laura Fleming hired as the new health and safety manager – workplace injury management.

Fleming comes to the school district after spending the past six years working for Interior Health.


Kevin Kaardal, superintendent/CEO for Okanagan Public Schools, says the health safety initiatives adopted by the school district to open schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to hold up.

While there have been reported individual cases at a number of public schools, none have forced public school closures and have mostly been isolated to people being infected by the virus outside of schools.

Kaardal says he reminds parents to check out the provincial vaccine roll-out plan announced last week by the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“The hope is every adult who wants to be vaccinated will be completed by September,” Kaardal said.

“Based on our local experience so far, we are doing very well. We have just gone three days in a row without a positive exposure so the trend is going in the right direction for us since the (Christmas) break.”

Vivian Evans, representing the Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council, said she is aware of parents being worried about schools being open and expressing those views on social media such as Facebook.

But she reaffirmed the school district “is doing the best we can for our kids.”

“I am immune-compromised myself and I send my three sons to school…we just have to keep on doing what we have to do,” Evans said.


February is a month with several special declarations reaffirmed by the school board.

The month has been declared Human Rights Month in Central Okanagan public schools while Feb.8-12 is Canadian Home and School Federation Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week and Feb. 8-14 is School Library Week.

Several activities are planned at schools throughout February to mark Human Rights Month, highlighted by the annual Harmony Day on Wednesday, Feb. 17, along with recognition of Black History Month, Inclusive Education Month, Random Acts of Kindness Day and Week, World Day of Social Justice and Anti-Bullying/Pink Shirt Day.


Anyone with questions regarding the shift of French Immersion students from École Kelowna Secondary to Okanagan Mission Secondary in September 2022, is advised to contact Central Okanagan Public Schools secretary-treasurer/CFO Ryan Stierman at 250-860-8888.

The school staff reports used as the basis for the move are also available on the school district website.


The school board has given final adoption to the establishment of the middle school French Immersion catchment boundary for H.S. Grenda Middle School.

The catchment boundary is identical to the current English student catchment boundary for George Elliot Secondary, which Grenda Middle School is located adjacent to on the same school site.


Quigley Elementary teacher-librarian Sarah Murdoch Black secured $6,250 in new books at a 30 per cent discount for her school’s student from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

The grant is part of Indigo Love of Reading’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.


The school board meetings this month will take place on Feb. 10 and 24, both at 6 p.m. via zoom.

READ MORE: Toolbox project rewarding for Central Okanagan students

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