Letter: Board approves 13 ‘take a risk’ grants

Letter: Board approves 13 ‘take a risk’ grants

Rob Zandee is the new chair of School District No. 53. He is joined here by vice-chair Marieze Tarr (right) and Debbie Marten, the representative of the BC School Trustees' Association. (Photo by Lyonel Doherty)

The board of education of School District 53 met on December 13. The following is a brief synopsis of the items which we discussed.

Through the board, administration has approved 13 Take-A-Risk Grants for 2017-18. The Take-A-Risk grants are provided to teams of teachers who are collaboratively planning innovative strategies to increase student engagement and success. The funds allow for planning and assessing how the strategies have made a difference. Recipients of the grants will share their learning at the June Education Committee meeting.

The initiatives are from elementary and secondary and include indigenous perspectives and the Applied Design, Science and Technology (ADST) curriculum, cross-curricular learning, place conscious learning with connection to community, and teaching empathy with learning activities with seniors in the community.

Through the Growing Innovations in Rural Sites of Learning, a partnership between the Ministry, UBC and a number of schools and districts, Osoyoos Secondary School was successful in their application for funding and support for their project on the flexible timetable. This is great news for the school as the funding and support through the Growing Innovations community will help move the project forward.

The Roots of Empathy program is being recognized as having a deep impact on children. As part of its Canada 150 celebrations, Shaw Communications selected Mary Gordon, ROE founder/president, as one of 50 outstanding Canadians. In addition, ROE has been recognized by organizations throughout the world as best practice, most inspiring, and best placed to address the challenge of children at risk. The Roots of Empathy program in the district has been led by Trustee Marieze Tarr, who is also an instructor. We thank all our instructors, teachers and administrators who support this program in our schools to work towards making a difference in the lives of children, especially our most vulnerable, and developing happier, healthier children with the long-term perspective of creating more peaceful and inclusive societies. For more information on Roots of Empathy, please visit www.rootsofempathy.org

Finally, the board held elections for chair, vice chair, and other representative positions. I would like to thank the board for electing me to the position of chair. It is a great honour to be chairing this board and I look forward to the next year. I would also like to thank and congratulate Trustee Marieze Tarr who was elected to the position of vice-chair. Trustee Tarr was the more-than-capable chair of the board for a number of years and handled the position with wisdom and respectfulness to all those at the table. On behalf of fellow trustees, thank you.

Rob Zandee, Chairperson

School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)