Funds booked for learning aids

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has developed a plan on how to spend $788,000

No time is being wasted in spending some much-needed dollars.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has developed a plan on how to spend $788,000, the local portion of the Ministry of Education’s $60 million Learning Improvement Fund.

“Last spring, we set out guiding principles on how best to spend the funds, which can be used to hire additional teachers and special education assistants, provide additional teaching time, and support professional development and training to help teachers meet complex needs in their classrooms,” said superintendent Dave Witt.

It was decided to spend $204,000 on specific secondary allocations, which included adding teaching blocks to facilitate timetable adjustments to improve learning situations (by lowering class size) in subjects that are typically stumbling blocks to graduation.

There were eight blocks added at Salmon Arm Secondary, four at Pleasant Valley Secondary, two at A.L. Fortune and one at Eagle River Secondary.

A total of $100,900 was used to add school-based certified education assistant hours. These hours may be used for material preparation, collaboration time with teacher, involvement in program planning, assisting with students transitioning from one program to another, attending curricular school activities when directed by teacher or administrator and to assist with other programs with identified students.

An increase in early reading support at designated schools received $150,000. These funds were used to add time for literacy intervention teachers at Armstrong Elementary, Grindrod, Highland Park, Hillcrest and Silver Creek elementaries.

There was also $71,000 designated for increased speech language pathology time for young students. It was decided to use these funds to increase CEA support time for SLP programs at Bastion, Grindrod, North Shuswap and Silver Creek. There was also $20,000 set aside for release time for collaboration.

Some $96,000 was set aside for increased learning resource teacher support for classroom teachers. Another $70,000 was set aside to add another division in the English track at Shuswap Middle School.

This left $96,000 in the reserve fund to deal with emergent needs as the school year goes on, which will be looked at as they arise.