Grade 1 teacher Kim Tassie gets her classroom ready for the first day of school at Okanagan Landing Elementary. Wednesday is the first day of classes in the Vernon School District and it’s a half day with full days starting Thursday.

Grade 1 teacher Kim Tassie gets her classroom ready for the first day of school at Okanagan Landing Elementary. Wednesday is the first day of classes in the Vernon School District and it’s a half day with full days starting Thursday.

Enrolment critical as classes resume

Another year of classes resume in Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby and Cherryville Wednesday

Vernon School District officials are watching the numbers.

Another year of classes resume in Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby and Cherryville Wednesday, and the big question is how many students will walk through the doors.

“Elementary (enrolment) is building and secondary is down a bit,” said Joe Rogers, superintendent.

A stable enrolment of 8,200 students, including 200 international students, is expected, but Rogers admits that final figures won’t be determined for a month.

Economic turmoil in Alberta could be a factor.

“You never know if you’re going to get more families move back to the Okanagan,” said Rogers.

Total enrolment is critical because the school district’s funding from the provincial government is based on how many students are in desks.

While there is room in some schools, others are at capacity.

“Seaton is full, Vernon Secondary School is full,” said Rogers.

While students and teachers were off during July and August, schools were busy places, with about $1.4 million spent on capital upgrades and maintenance.

“At Harwood (elementary), they redid a room for the Restart program,” said Rogers.

A shift towards a new provincial curriculum is also moving ahead.

The amended curriculum model will connect reading, writing and arithmetic to collaboration, critical thinking and communications skills.

“The emphasis is on core competencies employers are looking for,” said Rogers.

The curriculum also includes an emphasis on environmental sciences, aboriginal perspectives, the history and ongoing legacy of the residential school system and the historical experiences of East and South Asian immigrants.

Starting this fall, the government begins the three-year process of  transitioning to the new curriculum, starting with kindergarten to Grade 9.

Teachers in those grades will have the option to use the new curriculum this school year, before it is fully implemented in all schools in the fall of 2016.

District administration and trustees will also be doing their homework as they prepare the 2016/17 budget and hope to avoid significant cuts.

A major decision will be made on the future of busing.

“Will we charge, what will we do?” said Rogers, adding that public consultation will be part of determining what happens with busing.

But while some complex issues are on the agenda, Rogers insists the start of a new school year is a time to focus on students and their potential.

“There is tremendous energy at this time of the year. The kids are happy to see their friends and find out who their teacher is,” he said.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swans and eagles

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

A male kingfisher at Vernon’s Polson Park. (David Guscott/North Okanagan Naturalists Club)
$78K in conservation grants awarded in the North Okanagan

The RDNO announced four recipients of its 2021 Conservation Fund Friday

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near South Okanagan schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Central Okanagan school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say the person is self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read