November 10, 2014
Welcome to the first installment of Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day. This blog will share the story of learning in SD#22 from the perspectives of all partner groups as we learn and grow together. Our district’s motto, “A Great Place to Learn”, epitomizes the wonderfully rich learning opportunities we offer our students. Our district goal of a 100% success rate for all our students, guides our work. We are, first and foremost, in the people business and recognize the importance of developing and fostering positive relationships throughout the system to provide quality educational programs and services. Daily activities, fine arts, personal interactions, and the process of learning are not always statistically measurable. This includes learning democratic values, socialization skills, problem solving, sharing, embracing diversity and change. These areas are vital to the development of our students as we help prepare them for an ever changing, unknown future.
To embrace diversity and improve engagement, the district continues to build on the excellent work of classroom teachers and schools by offering enhanced student supports and new programs. We are currently working on building an Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement. Our committee chairs, Jami Tonasket and Colleen Larson, are meeting with our Aboriginal learners and parents in every school to listen to their experiences and share their wishes for the future. We have partnered with the Okanagan Indian Band, the Friendship Center and the Métis Society to co-create a plan by April 2015.
Over the last few years we have also significantly expanded our innovative programs to foster deeper learning and encourage students to pursue their passions. The offerings include:
- Okangan Language classes
- RCMP Youth Academy
- Increased Advanced Placement Courses
- Hockey Academy
- Students Without Boarders
- Soccer Academy
- Aboriginal Entrepreneurship
- High Performers program
- Montessori grades 1-6
- Early and Late French Immersion
- increase Career Education choices
- Distributed Learning
- Baseball Academy
- Snowsports Academy
- Vernon Community School.
Vernon Community School started this September and is a mindful place of teaching and learning rooted in social justice. The district has partnered with Leyton Schnellert and Margaret Macintyre Latta from UBCO. The purpose of their study is to document teaching/learning conditions and supports that foster educators’ and students’ capacities to create and sustain genuine learning contexts rooted in social justice and attentive to community resources.
Parents are keenly interested in sharing their personal talents as noted in the following parent blog post:
Mentoring at Vernon Community School
The Mentor Program at the Vernon Community School is proving to be rewarding and enriching for all involved. So far, our children have been exposed to a long time martial arts expert who is delving into building character, self-esteem and inner and outer strength, a VCS parent who is sharing her love of the art of knitting, another who is offering knowledge about managing Social Media, a local Actor who is sharing confidence-building techniques along with his craft, a Photographer who herself became interested in her art at 12 years old and loves to teach it to kids, an Acupuncturist who is enlightening the class with information about Traditional Chinese Medicine, A Chiropractor and Pharmacist with ideas of bringing science to VCS in many ways, a talented musician and maker who leads our kids in a weekly community jam session, a movement and dance teacher who also teaches the kids about working with fabric and a Family Doctor who showed the class how to apply a cast and spoke about her path. Kim and Murray have also welcomed many mentors to our space including a basketball expert. They can expand on the people they are working with to share their talents and passions with our community.
Contact has also been made with the artist responsible for the murals on downtown Vernon buildings and a mural tour and lesson on becoming a muralist is in the works. We have Web Development experts, a Coder, an Animator, a Naturopath, a Family Counsellor, an Illustrator, a world traveler, a Gardener, a Voice-over Artist, a Science Teacher, a Massage Therapist and a Financial Advisor all planning visits to the school soon.
The students have expressed interest in the following additional vocations: Woodworking, Cooking, Architecture, Gaming, Hang-Gliding, Construction, Math and Child Care. I am continuing to gather people with these skills for the kids, but am eager to hear from as many people as possible regarding contacts they may have. If there is anyone in your lives with a passion, hobby or skill they’d be willing to share, igniting passion within the kids, please let me know. I will take all the help I can get.
Please also consider you or someone you know becoming a Reading mentor. So far, a couple of wonderful women have attended the class along with their pre- school aged, or home-schooled kids. This is turning out to be a gift for everyone involved. If you know of someone who can serve as an enthusiastic and supportive listener for an hour a week, feel free to contact me so we can add it to the weekly schedule. Thank you. Lisa Dumas VCS Parent
We are happy to share our learning journey and look forward to your feedback.
In the next post, I will share the progress of our SnowSports Academy. I know the students are looking forward to the opening of Silver Star Mountain after the significant amount dry land training.