Thank you for the patience that you have demonstrated as we have waited for a resolution to the provincial labour· dispute. It appears that we are very close to being able to open our schools and welcome students and staff to a new school year! The purpose of this letter is to provide you with details as we know them to help you plan for the immediate future.
As has been reported in the media, the membership of the BC Teachers’ Federation will be reviewing the terms of the tentative agreement and holding a ratification vote today, Thursday, September 18.
All sixty boards of education have been given until 3 p.m.on Friday, September 19 to go through the same process. If the parties vote in favour of ratifying the terms of the agreement, then we will be opening our schools on Monday, September 22. This first day of the school year will follow the normal opening.day procedures with students attending for a half day. This will give schools the opportunity to conduct enrolment counts, organize classes and adjust classes and staffing as necessary. Schools will post their opening day start and end times on their websites by the end of this week. Buses will be operating on ‘Monday, September 22 to align with the early dismissal. Classes and buses will resume normal schedules Tuesday, September 23. (Please note that the normally scheduled early dismissal time on Wednesday, September 24 for the Team Inquiry Model has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.)
The Ministry of Education confirmed the following information with superintendents yesterday:
1. There are no plans to extend or add instructional days this year. It is their expectation that school districts will be able to deliver their educational programs and meet all learning outcomes in the curriculum within the remaining school calendar timeframe.
2. For secondary courses operating on a semester system, school districts have the option to equalize the length of the semesters and the Ministry of Education will provide a second set of provincial examination dates at the beginning of February to accommodate this option. The remainder of the 2014/2015 provincial exam schedule will stay the same.
Implications for School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen):
1. The district calendar that was approved and is posted on our website remains in effect for the balance of the year. No changes are being made to holiday periods or other days when schools will not be in session other than the postponement of inquiry time as described above.
2. Some schools may wish to make adjustments to their individual school calendars that were published last spring. It is anticipated that there may need to be changes made to the dates for each term, as well as to the dates for report cards and parent-teacher interviews. If this is the case, school administrators will consult with parents and staff regarding proposed changes and publish updated information. The district calendar will also be updated as soon as dates are confirmed.
3. Elementary schools will be contacting parents of kindergarten students with information about the plan for “gradual entry” of these students.
4. Secondary schools will be adjusting the dates for the end of the first and the beginning of the second semesters to balance in structional time to align with the new examination dates in February, 2015.
Further updates will be provided as new information is available. A news release will be issued on Friday, September 19, confirming the back to school plan once we know the outcome of the ratification vote. In the interim, please continue to consult the district’s website at www.sd53.bc.ca as well as the appropriate school websites and signage. We look forward to welcoming your children to school.
Sincerely, BevYoung, Superintendent of Schools