District Strategic Planning Begins

Posted On Friday October 15, 2021

October has been a month of special days, notably World Teachers’ Day (Oct. 5) and World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10). Everyone has a favourite teacher who has made a positive difference in their life. This past week, I visited Chase Secondary and Haldane Elementary Schools and learned how teachers have implemented Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is central to how students, parents, and staff are developing students’ positive behaviour, which contributes to their overall well-being.

Chase Secondary School

Mr. Greg Gartrell, Principal, and Ms. Erin Khelouiati, Vice Principal, emphasized how teachers have implemented PBIS common language to encourage positive behaviour. The administration posted signs with this language in the classroom, offices, library, and even washrooms throughout the school. Ms. Khelouiati said, “When students have the words right in front of them, they become problem solvers.” Mr. Gartrell agreed, saying, “I called a parent about a situation, and we discussed whether the teacher’s request was reasonable and the student’s response was respectful. So the common language of PBIS is assisting everyone.”

Haldane Elementary School

Ms. Colleen Topolovec, Principal of Haldane Elementary felt that the PBIS focus at secondary has bridged their work at elementary. Ms. Topolovec said, “It is a new school for me, and so much is already in place because teachers are student-centred and focused on PBIS. Our strong sense of belonging amongst students is the result of the everyday work of our staff, students, and parents.” Ms. Topolovec indicated that this is why student learning results continually improve. “Culture and learning go hand-in-hand. A positive sense of belonging ensures that students learn well.”

School stories, such as those just shared, have emerged from our District commitment to equity and excellence in SD73’s current District Strategic Plan 2017-2022. Every five years, our District engages our community to review and, if necessary, revise our plan. This year, we started this work with our District Strategic Planning Committee and all school leaders focusing on these three questions:

  • What type of world do you imagine/hope that our children will create?
  • What skills, attitudes, and competencies will they require to make that world possible?
  • How do we get them there?

Throughout this week, representatives from 25 different staff, parent, student groups, and community partner agencies have provided feedback to the District. We want everyone to have the opportunity to engage with these questions. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts, please participate in this survey.

Everyone has an opportunity to contribute until the survey closes on Oct. 22. PCG Canada will gather the responses, analyze them, and share key themes from the information provided.

Communicable Disease Prevention Plan

Thank you for continuing to work as partners in our health and safety protocols in our District’s Communicable Disease Prevention Plan which include the following:

  • Completing daily health checks
  • Staying home when sick
  • Wearing masks indoors and on busses
  • Washing hands and using hand sanitizer
  • Covering our mouths when we cough
  • Keeping respectful personal distances
  • Using specific entrances and exits
  • Limiting visitors to schools
  • Staying within gathering guidelines and limiting congestion within small spaces such as hallways
  • Using recommended HVAC filters and air flow procedures
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting in all areas

The number of potential exposures to COVID-19 in our schools has been posted on Interior Health’s website. Interior Health’s contact tracing confirms that the greatest risk of transmission is during activities taking place outside of school. As immunization continues to be the greatest protection for everyone, we continue to encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated.

As we enter mid-October, we look forward to a focus on literacy, with Dictionary Day (Oct. 16) and National Media Literacy Week (Oct. 25-30). Enjoy a good book this weekend and time with family.

Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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