LETTER: Gateway to Trades program big success

LETTER: Gateway to Trades program big success

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The following is a brief description of items discussed at the School District 53 meeting recently.

Approximately 55 OES Fine Arts students went on a field trip to Chemainus with lead teacher Lori Martine to attend a professional theatre production of Grease. The students visited the Pacific Northwest Raptors Centre as well. Thank you to lead teacher Lori Martine for providing this opportunity to students.

Sarah Moore took approximately 16 Grade 7-10 Science/ADST YouLearn students to the PNE and Playland on June 20 and 21. In addition to studying physics and ADST in action, the students also learned community building and travel and planning skills.

In what has become an end-of-school-year tradition, the annual retirement and long service recognition evening was able to pay tribute to 11 retirees who will be leaving us by the end of this school year. This year’s retirees include one principal, three support staff and seven teachers. We wish all of our retirees good health and great adventures in their retirement. This event was also a wonderful opportunity to recognize long service employees who have been with us 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years dedicating themselves to students.

Our Gateway to Trades program in partnership with Okanagan College ended in May with great success. The Okanagan College instructor, Jason Green, did a great job exposing students to a variety of construction trades that will hopefully provide some long-term goals for the students enrolled in the program. The graduation experience was very powerful with parents getting a chance to see many of the projects the students completed during the semester, including the “outdoor classroom” that they constructed at Osoyoos Elementary.

As mentioned in previous reports, School District 53 will be entering into a partnership with Okanagan College to offer the Health Care Assistant program commencing February 2019. This 24-week program will be housed at SOSS and plans are to have this dual-credit program have a capacity of 12 students with six of them being high school students. We are very excited about this new opportunity for our students and for our communities. We have been working with Okanagan College, Interior Health and private providers in this sector to be able to offer this program.

We received a Skills Training grant this year in the amount of $17,085. We had two primary goals for these funds: firstly, to develop new post-secondary partnerships; and secondly, to grow opportunities in the tech sector. We are in discussion with Okanagan College to be able to offer a Gateway to Technology program which could potentially run in February 2020. This will be structured similarly to the Gateway to Trades. As a primer for this experience, we will give students an opportunity to participate in six different tech workshops on various topics. These mini classes will be six hours in length and will include programming, game development, graphic arts and sound engineering, to name a few. We plan on offering them after school at the three high schools, except for sound engineering where we will travel to the college campus in Kelowna for an all-day experience.

Rob Zandee, school board chair