Board of Education report

Following are some highlights of items discussed at the regular meeting held on Wednesday, October 23rd.

Senior staff informed the Board that a Grade 7 student leadership retreat was organized on October 8th for all Grade 7 students in our school district. This full day of learning, developing leadership competencies and making new connections was held at Spirit Ridge in Osoyoos. With a focus on mindset, Indigenous perspectives on community leadership, success principles and mental health and wellbeing, students had the opportunity to hear from speakers such as Ryan Walter, Clint George, Teagan Adams, and Jennifer Martin. Special thanks to the Osoyoos Secondary student leadership team and coordinating teacher Ryan Miller for a successful day.

Staff reported that student vaping was their number one health concern for their students and the number one issue they dealt with at school last year. This year, they devoted a great deal of time and effort meeting with students, monitoring school grounds and washrooms, reaching out to parents, education of staff, students and parents, and engaging the support of paraprofessionals to educate and support students. Due to measures taken by administration and staff, all secondary schools have noticed a significant reduction in the vaping at school but understand that students are still vaping away from school grounds. They are continuing to work with their school communities to positively affect this serious health concern.

On October 21st, the District held an employment fair. This was the second this year and the focus was on recruitment of EA’s as well as relief Indigenous education advocates. Our next fair will be November 25th in the Similkameen. Thanks to our Manager of Human Resources Susan Trower and to Jody Cvitko for their time and efforts in setting these up in each community.

As per a Ministerial Order passed in April 2019, the Board is moving ahead with the ordering and installation of dispensing machines for the provision of free menstrual products in school washrooms by December 31, 2019. Though most schools in our district had an informal manner in which this was being done, this new manner will protect student privacy, be barrier free and non-stigmatizing.

Finally, the Childcare BC New Spaces Funding is investing $221 million to create 22,000 new licensed child-care spaces over the next three years. Funding maximums have tripled since the initial funding announcement. The District is currently exploring potential partnerships and opportunities with the existing day care providers to asses this new funding.

Rob Zandee, Chair
School District #53

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