School board briefs

School board briefs


Union helps Afghan women

In recognition of World Teacher Day, the Southern Okanagan Similkameen Teachers’ Union and School District 53 made a joint donation to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
This non-profit Canadian organization supports the improvement of quality, access, and relevance of education for Afghan women and girls.

Apprenticeship program successful

The Secondary School Apprenticeship program is off to a good start, with six students already registered and two more to come in the next couple of weeks.
In January, Grade 6 and 7 students from various schools will attend a workshop at their community’s secondary school and participate in hands-on activities led by community tradespeople.
This initiative is being led by Boyd Turnbull, the new career preparation teacher at SESS. The first Apprenticeship Advisory Network meeting took place on October 23 in Osoyoos. This meeting allows career departments to meet with business people from all communities to discuss trends.

Pow Wow fundraisers set

The aboriginal education department is holding fundraisers for this year’s Pow Wow on April 5- 6 at SESS. One will be held at SESS on November 14 at 5pm, and another will be held at Nk’Mip campsite in Osoyoos on February 12, 2013.
Oliver held its fundraiser at the Osoyoos Indian Band community hall on October 17, when more than $1,200 was raised.

New initiative helps young readers

“Changing Results for Young Readers” is a new provincial initiative that uses an inquiry approach to research strategies to increase the number of BC children who are successful engaged readers and understand what fosters reading success.
Sessions are being facilitated in the district by two early reading advocates – Andrea Reichl and Heather Langley, and school administrator and learner support teacher Shendah Benoit.
The first session went very well and teachers are very excited about the opportunity to be part of this initiative to improve reading success and engage in professional development and collaboration around early reading.
The teams of teachers from each school are:
Gwen Doi and Michael Lucich (Cawston Primary); Jennifer Charlish and Jenna Keyes (Okanagan Falls); Melia Dirk and Darla Svendsen (Oliver Elementary); Heather Langley and Shendah Benoit (Osoyoos Elementary); Tania Marques and Marlene Kearsley (Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary); and Will Eaton (

Students lead change

On Wednesday, October 18, 60 students from the district attended the “We Day” event in Vancouver at Roger’s Arena.
There were 21 students attending from Osoyoos Elementary School with Richard Bayliss, Rebecca Bayda and Ryan Miller. The school had 22 tickets donated and students were selected after writing letters saying why they should attend and how they contribute to the social well-being of the community/school.
There were 20 students from Osoyoos Secondary’s Global Citizenship club sponsored by Natasha Schroeter and Catherine Scott, and 19 students from Similkameen Elementary Secondary School’s leadership club, sponsored by Marcus Toneatto and Cate Turner.
The We Day event brought 20,000 students together from around BC. We Day is a movement of young people leading local and global change.

Overall enrolment decreases

Student enrolment is 2,362.5625 full-time equivalent (FTE), which is an overall decrease from September 2011 of 30.9375 FTE. Elementary schools have decreased by 47 FTE, secondary schools increased by 13.8125 FTE and YouLearn has increased by 2.25 FTE from September 2011.

IBM commended

The district has received a generous donation from IBM of two “Young Explorer” kiosks for the StrongStart centres at Okanagan Falls and Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary schools.
IBM previously donated kiosks to the StrongStart programs at Oliver Elementary, Cawston Primary and Osoyoos Elementary schools. The board commends IBM for supporting current and future Okanagan Similkameen students.

Don’t miss forums

The board will be hosting public forums in Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos, and Okanagan Falls in November.
The purpose of the community engagement forums is to share information regarding enrolment trends, finances, facilities and directions in education and engage participants in providing feedback or asking questions to increase transparency and open dialogue.
It is hoped that staff, parents and community members will attend. All meetings are from 7-8:30 pm.
In Oliver, the forum will be held in the high school atrium on Tuesday, November 20.
One will also be held at Osoyoos Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
In Okanagan Falls, a forum will be held at the elementary school on November 8.