Our board has had a very busy month. We have hosted community engagement forums in three of the four communities that we serve; our final forum was in Osoyoos on November 28. We have been disappointed by the turnout at these meetings, as we are eager to share with you our challenges and would have liked to receive some input from you into the work that we do.
All of our trustees and senior staff, as well as many of our principals and vice-principals, also attended the Educational Leadership conference held in Vancouver November 15 and 16. Our district hosted two sessions at the conference. Both these sessions were very well attended by educators from across the province and the feedback was very positive. We were very proud of our teachers and administrators who presented!
The Board of Education is very grateful to the Soroptimist Club from Osoyoos. This service club is sponsoring the Children of the Street Society from Vancouver to host workshops with our grades six and sevens in all of our elementary schools in the district. This workshop, “Taking Care of Ourselves and Others” aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of safe online behavior and ensure that students grasp the permanency of online choices. There will also be a workshop for parents which will be held in the evening. These workshops will be held in May 2013.
Our district has also embraced the provincial E.R.A.S.E bullying strategy. The provincial government will be paying for the training of teachers and administrators and the district will be responsible for other costs. Terry Collis is our Safe Schools Coordinator and he has already been trained. Other staff members will be trained in December in Kelowna. The purpose of the program is to ensure stronger codes of conduct in schools and the program also teaches skills to deal with bullying. The government has worked with Edudata to create an online reporting tool for students. If parents are concerned about bullying, please make sure that the school is aware of the problem. Our website has many links to websites that deal with bullying so please make sure that you visit these sites.
The board also approved-in-principle a fieldtrip for grades 10-12 students from Osoyoos Secondary School. These students will be visiting Cuba during spring break and will be involved in projects such as mangrove reforestation, beach and community clean up (after Hurricane Sandy), and fruit tree restoration.
Our district is also planning a grades six / seven hands-on trades program to promote the trades as a career with our younger students. Each community’s secondary school will host a hands-on event for grades six and seven students. Students will be bussed to the secondary school to participate in activities in the shops with up to six journeymen; for example, at SOSS students from Tuc-el-Nuit, Okanagan Falls and Oliver elementary schools, will spend an hour at each station where they will take part in welding, plumbing, carpentry, electrical, automotive and sheet metal activities. This year we have decided to focus on the construction trades and next year we will focus on hairdressing, culinary arts, etc. Thank you to Boyd Turnbull who is leading this program.
Should you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.