Transition work underway at schools

School district prepares Sicamous and Enderby high schools for Grade 7-12 programs.

Work continues to ready two North-Okanagan Shuswap secondary schools for Grade 7 to 12 programs in the coming school year.

A detailed update report on the implementation of Grades 7 to 12 at Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous, and A.L. Fortune in Enderby, was received as information by School District #83 trustee Mike McKay during the final school board meeting of the 2016/17 school year on Thursday, July 13.

Regarding Eagle River, the report states transition meetings have been held with teachers and staff from Parkview Elementary and Eagle River (ERS). In the process, the learning and emotional needs of each incoming student were discussed. A community task force will be struck in the fall, led by incoming principal Mark Marino, to “bring recommendations regarding a viable small secondary school program that will attract and retain students.”

The report reiterates an announcement made during ERS’ graduation ceremony by school district superintendent Glenn Borthistle, that the school’s gym will receive a $250,000 upgrade, and the entry will be upgraded as well.

The report also states additional staffing, .5 full-time equivalency, will be provided for the 2017/18 school year for “targeted instruction for social/emotional, drug and alcohol and building healthy relationships (Safe Teen) instruction. The report shows additional teaching resources (.15 full-time equivalent) will be provided at A.L. Fortune for similar instruction. There will also be additional staffing available for an inclusive support program for students in Grades 7 and 8.

Funding for the transition in Enderby includes $11,500 for M.V. Beattie in 2016/17, to cover attendance at Camp Mackenzie and provide year-end medallions and hoodies – part of providing a “respectful and thoughtful closure and transition” for Grade 6 and 7 students. A total of $17,000 was allotted to A.L. Fortune ($7,000 for 2016/17 and $10,000 for 2017/18) for a welcome back barbecue, a Grade 7 camp, for staff to visit MVB and for new uniforms for Grade 7 teams.

Borthistle said district staff will work with school principals to monitor implementation plans and will provide an update in the fall.

As an aside, McKay mentioned he recently bumped into a teacher from Eagle River at a Starbucks in Merritt. He asked her how things were going, and was told they are going well – Marino is making lots of contacts and work is progressing, both on the physical improvements and with the program.

“If it happens at Starbucks, it’s got to be true,” McKay said dryly. “That does not represent an official statement or endorsement…”