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Superintendent’s Report to the Board | November 2023

Circle of Care: Students

  • Terry Fox Runs: Schools in the district had Terry Fox Runs in the last few weeks. The way our students, staff, and families joined in shows just how much our learning community cares. A big thank you to everyone who ran, helped out, and kept Terry’s spirit of hope and determination going! (1b, 1g)
  • PreVenture: Throughout October, 17 elementary and secondary school counselors have successfully completed the PreVenture facilitator training program! PreVenture is an evidence-based prevention program designed to delay substance use and promote mental health among young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.  The program uses brief, personality-targeted interventions to equip youth with self-efficacy and cognitive-behavioral skills to face numerous developmental challenges such as academic stress, peer pressure, interpersonal conflict, and identity development. As a strengths-based, skill-building program, youth learn adaptive coping-skills, how to set long-term goals, and ultimately, channel their personality traits to achieve those goals. Pender Harbour Secondary, West Sechelt Elementary, Kinnikinnick Elementary, Roberts Creek Elementary, and Gibsons Elementary schools, have committed to pilot the program this year. Students in grade 7 and 8 will voluntarily participate in two–90-minute workshops facilitated by trained school counselors throughout the school year. (1f)
  • SD46 Fall Go Active Travel Weeks: During the SD46 Fall Go Active Travel Weeks and the GoByBikeWeeks from October 16th to November 1st, which was extended because of rainy weather, our learning community got to school by biking, walking, and rolling. This time was also a chance to celebrate new bike racks at our schools, making more room for bikes and electric bikes. Additionally, we teamed up with ICBC and local agencies for Road Safety Blitzes at elementary schools in Halfmoon Bay, Gibsons, Langdale, Cedar Grove, and Roberts Creek. (1g)
  • Annual Sugar Bowl for Grade 7’s: For more than 25 years, SD46 has invited all 7th graders to Ted Dixon Park the day after Halloween for the “Sugar Bowl”. It’s a day for playing soccer and munching on leftover candy, and students always look forward to it. This year’s event was fantastic! “Sugar Bowl” helpers from Pender Harbour Elementary/Secondary Kaden, Kalen, Mason, Julien, and Keanu did a great job as referees and Lauryn took care of the concession. The district is really thankful to these students and the Elementary Sports Committee, notably retired teacher Jim Gray, for helping make this event a big hit. (1g)
  • Careers:
    • This month nine teachers were given supplies for circuit cards (light up cards) and they will join a ZOOM meeting to learn how to use the resources and gain an entry level understanding of an Electricians job.  
    • There is a record number of students in Work Experience 12A in the medical field.  There are nine students working with activity coordinators in the Senior Care Residencies.  The students are seeing that they need volunteer experience in the medical field to apply to nursing and or other medical areas for post-secondary training.  The connection with Sechelt Hospital Auxiliary has been very valuable in finding the placements for the students.  FYI the hospital auxiliary hands out two – $2000 bursaries to graduating students of their choice that have completed 50 hours of volunteering.  This is also a nice incentive to students.
    • 21 and Nov. 22 the BC Ferries Recruiting team will come to the coast for the first time to speak to the Grade 10/11/12 students at Pender Harbour School, Grade 10’s at Chatelech Secondary and students that come because they are interested at Elphinstone Secondary. (1l)
  • Fire Safety Week: Fire Safety Week saw local Fire Departments engaging with elementary schools to promote fire safety awareness. At Chatelech Secondary and Pender Harbour Secondary, the focus shifted to educational discussions about the various­­­ career and volunteer opportunities within the realms of structure and wildfire firefighting. (1l)

Circle of Care: Staff

  • HR Update – Recruitment and Retention: The Human Resources Department is in the process of completing a hiring blitz to fill positions and add to the lists of casual staff. During the past couple of months, the following staff have been hired, or the hiring process is in progress:
    • 11 TTOC’s (4 retirees and 7 teachers who are new to the district);
    • 9 Education Assistants On-Call; and
    • 4 to 6 Clerical On-Call.
  • In addition, 3 Custodians On-Call have been hired by the Facilities Department, a long-vacant Systems Technologist position has just been filled as has an IST teacher position. The two remaining of the four District TTOC positions were also filled in late August/early September.
  • The impact of some of this hiring, including the impact of the increase from 2 to 4 District TTOC’s is starting to be felt in the schools. For example, the number of teachers fail-to-fills has been greatly reduced from previous years. Unfortunately, we still are dealing with consistent shortages of Education Assistants. As a result, EA On-Call hiring remains a priority, but such hiring is limited by the qualified applicants available on the Coast, while other options to deal with this significant challenge are under discussion.
  • The Human Resources Department will continue to move forward with hiring initiatives, with a focus on EA On-Call and TTOC positions, given the impact these new hires have not only on students’ education but on employee well-being (for both the absent employees and the other staff in the building). In addition to current postings for additional EA’s On-Call and TTOC’s, there are also postings currently out for ECE’s On-Call and for a permanent Occupational Therapist position that continues to be a challenge to fill. (2a)
  • New Staff Orientation: We recently hosted a warm welcome evening at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club for our colleagues who have joined SD46 since the previous October. It was a delightful occasion to mingle with fellow staff and gain insights into our district’s workings. This gathering, a collaborative effort by SD46, the SCTA, and CUPE 801, presented a chance for new connections and collective learning. (2a)
  • CUPE Professional Development Day: On the 20th of October, our CUPE 801 team gathered at Chatelech Secondary for a meaningful day of self-reflection and learning as we continue our journey in actioning Truth and Reconciliation. Participating in the Blanket Exercise allowed us to enrich our knowledge of the land’s history and the stories of the First Peoples. We’re thankful for such chances to expand our understanding collectively. (2b)
  • Lunch and Learn: Lunch & Learn sessions for elementary teachers are underway! Primary teachers have just finished their first session in the series of four, focused on ‘Shifting the Balance’. They are exploring ‘balanced literacy’ and the ‘Science of Reading’ to learn about six key shifts in literacy instruction. Teachers across the district were invited to attend a session with literacy expert, Matt Glover in October. The ‘Lunch & Learn’ series for Intermediate teachers will follow in early November with opportunities for teachers to explore the use of mentor texts to support student writers. (2b)
  • Sunnyhill Mobility Clinic: On October 18th and 19th, the Sunnyhill Positioning and Mobility team visited School District 46 to provide valuable support for students in need. This incredible team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a seating technologist, and a rehabilitation equipment specialist, all working tirelessly to ensure that students have the best equipment and accommodations possible.
  • Over the two-day visit, the team assessed students and provided customized equipment such as special seating, wheelchairs, walkers, standing frames, car seats, strollers, and more. Additionally, they worked closely with the families, students, school staff professionals, and community professionals to plan the best solution for each individual student.
  • The work done by the Sunnyhill Positioning and Mobility team is essential for ensuring that all students have access to the support and accommodations they need in order to succeed. Their dedication and expertise make a real difference in the lives of those they serve. (2c)

Circle of Care: Community

  • Communicating Student Learning Webinar and SPACES Information Sessions for Families: For our parents and caregivers eager to stay informed on BC’s recent shifts in student reporting and our adoption of the Spaces ePortfolio system, we’ve rolled out three online sessions this autumn. For those who couldn’t join us, the recording for the Communicating Student Learning webinar is up on the district’s website. Don’t miss out – another SPACES tutorial is coming up on November 15th. (3a)
  • Compassionate Systems Leadership Tools for Working with your PAC in Collaboration with Your Local Board of Education: On November 2nd, we had the pleasure of bringing together PAC and DPAC representatives with the Board of Education for a shared evening of insight, learning and connection at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club. (3c)
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