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Superintendent’s Report to the Board | April 2024

Circle of Care: Students

  • Welcoming you to Kindergarten – KinderSPARK! & SPARK! to Kindergarten Upcoming Programs: Registration is now open for families with children entering kindergarten next fall to join these two wonderful and supportive transition programs kicking off this April. (1b)
  • April is Earth Month and April 22nd is Earth Day! The Environmental Education and Climate Action Committee and school level Environmental Leads have prepared many offerings, resources, and supports for staff and students this April. Annually, the SOS Students on Shorelines Clean-up is an opportunity for students and staff to make a difference in our community during Earth Month. The committee has also created an Earth Day Resource Kit: Going Green Menu of Ideas for staff and an E3 Online Atlas with shared lessons outside on the Sunshine Coast to help students and staff to get outside. (1i)
  • Careers Updates:
  • Firefighter Academy: Twelve students recently graduated from the Firefighter Academy after an intensive two-week training program during spring break, where they honed valuable job and life skills. This year’s session, the third of its kind, was a collaborative effort by local fire departments, and hosted by the Sechelt Fire Department. The training drew applications from 29 students, vying for 12 spots, and included a comprehensive selection process based on applications, physical tests, and interviews. Volunteer instructors from the Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Pender Harbour and Sechelt Fire Departments supported the program, with students utilizing Turnout Gear from the Vancouver Fire Department for practical training in a controlled burn building. The academy was a resounding success, highlighted by the return of two alumni as instructors for the wildfire training segment. The Gibsons and Halfmoon Bay departments now include former students among their ranks. This program continues to be a source of pride and a significant achievement for our district, demonstrating a strong partnership with local fire services and a commitment to hands-on, impactful learning experiences for our students.
  • Train in Trades courses continue to demonstrate robust interest and participation. In particular, the Carpentry program has attracted significant attention, with 19 applicants vying for 16 available positions. Meanwhile, the Automotive program is engaging 9 students, and the Cook program includes 4 students. Additionally, we are in the process of developing a Dual Credit Early Childhood Education cohort slated for the upcoming year. We anticipate the enrollment of approximately 5 students in the second term, although this initiative is still in the planning phase.
  • The district has secured a $50,000 government grant aimed at enhancing Work Experience placements, specifically in the fields of medicine and technology.
  • Elementary Opportunities: In a collaborative effort with Rene from Construction Ready, we have focused on providing Grade 4/5 students with practical experience in trades. Over a span of three days, Rene and Cathy Gordon visited nine classrooms where students constructed a Mason Bee house or an aluminum ring bowl. This initiative not only offered students hands-on experience but also facilitated discussions about careers in trades, underscoring the value of vocational education in our district’s curriculum. (1l)

Circle of Care: Staff

  • Spring Break Training Offerings: CUPE staff were offered a variety of professional development opportunities during the second week of spring break. The offerings included Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Professional Learning for Supporting Students with ASD (2b)
  • Yellowknife Visit: During the first week of April, District Principal of Indigenous Learning Kerry Mahlman and Pender Harbour Secondary Principal Chris Lekakis embarked on a journey to the Yellowknife area and the North Slave region, including Behchokǫ̀, to engage with the Education department of the Tłı̨chǫ Government. Their mission is to gain insights into the region’s small educational institutions and to exchange knowledge with Tłı̨chǫ officials regarding our district’s application of the updated British Columbia (BC) Curriculum and Assessment methodologies. This initiative is supported by the valuable contributions from our local team who have compiled critical information for this knowledge-sharing endeavor. This visit is timely, as the Northwest Territories transition from the Alberta to the BC curriculum, offering a prime opportunity to share our district’s experiences and learnings. Among the highlights of their visit will be their participation in a cultural camp and a language immersion program. These experiences are anticipated to provide valuable perspectives on place-based learning, which we hope to integrate into our own educational practices.
  • The “SPARK! To Secondary” program offered this April and May provides a valuable platform for parents and caregivers of students transitioning to high school. It offers in-person interactive classes at Elphinstone, Chatelech, or Pender Secondary, focusing on understanding adolescent brain changes, fostering healthy independence, maintaining open communication, establishing healthy routines, and employing effective parenting strategies for the teen years. Additionally, an online Zoom class is available, addressing the transition to high school, school logistics, and a unique Q&A session with Future Leader Students from each high school. Participants will also gain access to a curated list of resources to further support this transition. (2e)

Circle of Care: Community

  • The “Journeys to High School” co-designed (School’s Out United Way, Sunshine Coast Community Schools and SD46) initiative is designed to support the transition of Indigenous Grade 7 students to secondary school. It aims to celebrate this important milestone, facilitate connections between students, families, and high school staff, and foster a sense of community among Indigenous students district-wide. Key upcoming events include a Gathering and Feast at shíshálh Nation Longhouse, orientation events at Chatelech and Elphinstone Secondary Schools, and a “Bring a Friend to High School” activity to help students transition to their new school. Special programming is also in development for students transitioning to Pender Harbour Secondary School. Registration is available online and through paper copies at elementary schools until April 12th. (3a, 3c)
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