Opportunities abound for school board

Board chairperson says that after years of declining enrolment, the student population is showing a modest increase

The Vernon School District board looks back on 2015 as a year filled with opportunities.

Board chairperson Kelly Smith says that after many years of declining enrolment, the student population is showing a modest increase and will hopefully continue to grow.

“Increasing enrolment gives the district leeway to focus more on improving student engagement, achievement and success rather than having to seek ways to manage funding shortfalls,” she said.

“The board works to ensure that our funding provides the best possible programs and services to educate, engage and prepare our students for the future.”

Smith said by working collaboratively with teachers, administrators and support staff, the district can focus on improving the success of all students, in order to attain the district goal of 100 per cent success for every student.

Strong community support and partnerships within the community ensure that the district can offer a wide variety of academies and specialty programs that recognize and build on students’ interests and passions.

“By continuing to build on the strong working relationships that already exist within the district and community, the school district will thrive as a great place to learn.”

Smith said there are exciting times ahead in this district and in education across the province, with the Ministry of Education leading the development of new curriculum through the introduction of the B.C. Education Plan.

This curriculum has been developed collaboratively with teachers from all regions, said Smith, adding that this district is actively involved in working with teachers, administrators and support staff in order to introduce it into every classroom.

“Embedded in the new curriculum is the opportunity for individuals and the entire school system to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Okanagan First Nation’s culture and history.”

As well, partnerships with Okanagan College enable the district and the college to work in tandem in order to offer academic dual credit programs and increase trades and apprenticeship offerings to students.

The district has recently completed its technology upgrade and will focus on using technology to support student learning.

Smith said there are information technology teachers who work with classroom teachers in order to bring new and innovative teaching strategies into schools.

“This board of education is proud of the work that has been accomplished during the past year. Trustees continue to learn together through opportunities to work with the district’s senior staff and the B.C. School Trustees Association,” said Smith.

“The board’s main focus is ensuring that the needs of the 8,400 students in School District 22 will be met.”