School is back. Back to business at School District #53 (Okanagan-Similkameen)
This weekend trustees from around our branch (Revelstoke to Kamloops to Cache Creek and Princeton and all the communities in between) will come to our district to hear about the many great initiatives in our schools.
We will also showcase our new Southern Okanagan Secondary School, hear about school initiatives, and watch students perform in the Frank Venables Theatre.
Students and staff in Oliver are very grateful to Tinhorn Creek Vineyards for their generous donation of $6,000 to fund arts programs at Tuc el Nuit Elementary, Oliver Elementary and Southern Okanagan Secondary School. These funds will support extra music, dance and fine arts programming for students.
Thank you Tinhorn Creek Vineyards for establishing your “Celebrate the Arts program” which will benefit children locally.
Our district will once again run the Gateway to the Trades program. This year the program will be offered at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School from September 21st to December 11th, 2015. This program provides a valuable opportunity for students to gain first-hand knowledge of the different trades. In this program students will learn practical skills and industry requirements for a variety of building trades and learn how to be successful in future employment and training. Most of our students in the Secondary School Apprenticeship Programs/Ace-it Programs continued their training over the summer. All but one of the students was successful which is a huge success!
Thank youto Rod Kitt, Career Preparation Coordinator, for supporting the students over the summer and checking in to ensure their success. School District No. 53 will receive $20,000 from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for SSA program support for the 2015/16 school year. This support will fund an SSA Support Coordinator to help SSA students in grades 10, 11 and 12 attain practical experience with local employers. Students will “earn while they learn” and gain credit towards their high school diploma and the apprenticeship portion of their trades training. SD53 registered 14 new SSA students during the 2014/15 school year, the most registered in one year. We have set a goal to increase that by at least one student for the upcoming 2015/16 year. Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years.
We would like to remind everyone that October 5th is recognized annually and globally as World Teacher Day. It is meant to commemorate teachers’ organizations worldwide and acknowledge the work teachers do across the globe to meet the needs of future generations. We want to recognize the wonderful work that our teachers do with our students every day. Thank you for making a difference!
During our spring budget and staffing process the district projected school enrolment of 2,159.50 FTE. On September 17th schools reported enrolment of 2,156 FTE which is a decrease from projections of 3.5 FTE and a reduction of 65.25 FTE from 2014/15. Final numbers on September 30th will determine the final 2015/16 enrolment and funding.
Highlights from the 2014/15 financial statements include the following:
Total Operating Deficit for the year was $693,741 leaving us with an Operating Surplus of $1,431,236.
A restricted operating surplus of $1.43 million is committed to funding specific expenditures in 2015/16 and general expenditures approved by the Board for the 2015/16 budget. Special Purpose funds include funds received from the Ministry of Education or other sources that have been designated for specific purposes. During 2014/15 grants from the Ministry of Education by bylaw capital projects totaled $506,430. During 2014/15, $699,392 was spent on capital projects including various additions to Similkameen Elementary Secondary and Cawston Primary school buildings.
We are hoping that you will join us for our first Learning Forum scheduled for October 14th at 4:30 pm in the board office annex. These forums are open to our parents, students and community members. The topic will be School Learning Plans. The purpose of the forum will be to share the goals and inquiry questions for 2015/16 for our school sites. Each school will have an opportunity to do a brief presentation to outline their learning goals (inquiry), how they are planning to get there and how they will monitor for success. We encourage you to attend!
Should you have any questions, please contact me at 250-498-1333.