Medicine Pouch pilot introduced

Medicine Pouch pilot introduced

School board chair Rob Zandee says students have a good opportunity to continue learning during the pandemic. (File photo)

By Rob Zandee

The following are some highlights from the board of education meeting held on December 11. 

Staff reported on a Medicine Pouch Pilot Project that is being developed by the BC Sherriff’s Service.

The project aims to develop educational, cultural and forward-thinking relationships with Okanagan First Nations communities. The overarching goal of this program is to help the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation lead the BC government to work collaboratively and respectfully with the First Nations and Indigenous peoples of BC.

The primary goal of this project is to cleanse negative energy and thoughts of Indigenous peoples who come into contact with the court system.

SOSS staff and students will be working in partnership with Roger Hall (Native liaison at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, OIB elder and cultural teacher) to help make these pouches. Medicine pouches are currently not used throughout courthouses so our students will be involved in creating and introducing something brand new to provincial courthouses. In addition to making the pouches, there is an educational piece incorporated into this program.

Seven Take-A-Risk grants have been approved for 2019/20. Take-A-Risk grants are provided to teams of teachers who are inquiring collaboratively to try new or innovative ways to address student success. Recipients will share their learning at the June Education Committee meeting. Projects this year range from interschool outdoor learning to social and emotional learning to co-teaching in Math 8. 

Sam Marsel is leading the Starfish program which is a new initiative offered in Oliver.

The Starfish Pack includes two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks for families that can use some extra support. A backpack is filled at Buy-Low Foods and returned to the school to go out to students on Fridays from September to June.

Local business and private donations fund this program and 100 per cent of the donations go to food. It was established so that children can come to school Monday morning ready to learn with having had the adequate food and nutrition over the weekend. It is through the generous support of many groups and individuals that this program can be offered. A big thank you to Sam for volunteering to lead this program and to the donors that are making it happen. 

Superintendent Bev Young reported on the Come Read with Me/Come Count with Me programs. These district-developed programs are workshops for Grade 1 parents to support them with reading and numeracy at home. They have been offered during the school day so that parents or caregivers can go into their children’s classroom to utilize what they have learned at the presentation. We have had very high attendance rates and positive feedback from parents who attended.

Superintendent Young facilitated the Come Read with Me workshop and Melia Dirk, early learning coordinator, facilitated the Come Count with Me workshop. The Come Count with Me program is new this fall and the board would like to recognize Melia Dirk, Roberta Snow and Amanda Stene who worked to develop the presentation and materials. 

Director of Learning and Inquiry Marcus Toneatto gave a brief presentation on the completion rates in the district. A more fulsome discussion will be had in January as more information was to be received after the board meeting. The information relayed was very encouraging. 

Finally, the board would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a successful 2020.

(Rob Zandee is chair of School District No 53.)