Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday November 17, 2023

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

We are starting to see snowy weather and the promise of good skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, hiking, and other winter sports. Building relationships/connections through outside activities contributes to positive wellbeing, which are core values in the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan.

I have been fortunate to talk with students, parents, and staff in elementary and secondary schools and to participate in events that showed the power of understanding students’ interests, preferred ways of learning, and need for support to transition to post-secondary.

Aboriginal Student Transitions to Post-Secondary TRU Day - November 7

Over 120 Gr. 10 Aboriginal students from every secondary school took part in the Aboriginal Student Transitions to Post-Secondary Day at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). The day started with a welcome to the territory and opening prayer led by Elder Bella Morris. District Principal Mike Bowden outlined what to expect on this day. Students took part in a tour of the campus and exploration of faculties and programming. They met mentors who could assist them with their questions. Students shared how they valued this day to support them to get to know instructors, to learn about courses available, and to help them feel more comfortable on campus.

Remembrance Day Ceremonies - Dufferin Elementary - November 10

Principal Cumming invited me to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Dufferin Elementary School. The ceremony was student-led including Max, Bella, and Federer who greeted guests and assisted them to their seats. Aboriginal Education Worker, Ms. Julia Wright, along with the Kindergarten classes led the Welcome Song and Dance accompanied by student drummers.

Several primary classes chose and performed songs and Grade 6-7 students recited an acrostic poem, and all classes created a wreath that two students from each class presented and laid during the ceremony. Mr. Cumming shared how students had prepared the agenda and helped to select the choices of poetry and songs. It was a touching ceremony with whole school attendance and parent participation. 

Kamloops Open Online Learning - November 14, 2023

Principal Hembling, Vice Principal Seafoot, and I met with staff and students who were working face-to-face as well as online in their secondary support classroom at the @KOOL secondary campus at Pineridge Education Centre.

“We serve students who choose to learn online for a wide variety of reasons. For example, we have some who are heavily involved in athletics, as well as those who prefer a highly independent learning approach to completing their K-12 education,” explained Mr. Hembling. “For an online school, having a classroom where students can come for in-person support with their online courses is important for student success.”

Vice Principal Seafoot emphasized how important it has been to provide students with opportunities to meet teachers face-to-face and receive one-to-one support when they need it. “It builds a personal connection that has really proven to be important when students are working largely independently in their online courses.” There are two other locations where students can receive in-person support. The elementary program operates out of Heffley Creek Elementary, while the middle school campus is located at 675 Victoria Street downtown.

When we went upstairs to the classroom space, Mr. Hembling pointed out how they had created a number of flexible seating options for students – a large table to work collaboratively and smaller, more private areas to work alone while also having support teachers available to provide help.

I met a grade 12 student, Marie, who explained that she had taken part in home education since grade 3, and she has recently chosen to take part in the in-person support option a couple of days per week. She shared her academic work in her senior Biology class (study of the nervous system). Marie also explained that she organized her time well, which enabled her to engage in one of her favorite hobbies – crocheting various things including little animals for her nephews and nieces. As we continued on our tour of the school, Principal Hembling and Vice Principal Seafoot emphasized examples of students like Marie who have thrived through online education. They are proud to be one of 18 Provincial Online Learning Schools (POLS) in the province and described how they are enrolling students from all over British Columbia.

Thank you for making every day worthwhile for students. Your investment of time and energy in preparing student-led events, online and blended programming options, extracurricular field trips, and every day teaching and learning opportunities creates rich experiences for students, parents, and staff. I hope that you rejuvenate this weekend and enjoy some well-deserved time to connect with those you care about.

Enjoy your weekend!

Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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