School District No. 20 briefs

A sampling of highlights from the Kootenay Columbia district's May 14 meeting

In a move aimed at enhancing the atmosphere around the school district, Chair Darrel Ganzert, at the May 14 meeting of the School District 20 Board, moved that the “School District No. 20 management team, along with the Trustees, develop an awareness program to inform all education partners of many changes/possibilities/challenges coming to public education through the recent legislated changes of Bill 22, Learning Improvement Fund, new delivery of special education, new curricula, and new grading practices.”In explaining his motion, Ganzert cited “quite a turmoil in the last several months… lots of negative news.”He said by tackling an awareness program such as the one described, the board could “try and offer hope for the future.” He said he hoped teachers and students “leave for some rest in June with something positive to think about.”

Funding and enrollment issues were among the items contained in the May 14 agenda.During the meeting it was clarified by Superintendent Greg Luterbach that funds from the Ministry of Education are delivered into “one pot” with the District, from which individual schools are subsequently funded. He explained that the amounts for each school are determined based on enrollment at the end of September. During the brief discussion relating to this issue, Director of Student Support Services Kim Williams, mentioned a tactic called the “October Dump,” in which some schools may have held onto students until funding had been received, before moving students into other programs.”We know it has happened,” said Williams.

Director of Instruction Bill Ford supplied a report on Play-Based Learning.The enthusiastic director praised the “world-wide phenomenon” of play-based learning, “designed play for our youngest learners.”It’s a big, big topic,” said Ford, “it could be a doctoral thesis.”He stated that “more than half of kindergartens are entrenched in this environment” which, along with full day kindergarten is “serving children better.”