Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday May 03, 2024

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

The month of May is full of hope with many special days of celebration and recognition. In this update, I concentrate on the many ways that we continue to build relationships and connections.

Sun Peaks K-9 School

Principal Boyle began our visit in Ms. Rinaldi’s Gr. 1-2 class, where prep teacher Ms. Erickson and the students shared the topics of the upcoming Spring concert songs —“Salish Sea”, Watershed”, “Life Cycle” and “Compost Bin”— which connect with the District Strategic Plan value commitment, sustainability. They were preparing to go to their practice, so on our way, we stopped to see some of the favorite spots where they love to plan, making nature their playground.

The students were just coming from recess, and they were excited about three favorite stations outside. We started at the “campfire station”, where students have made a pretend campfire, and they sit around it and sing “campfire songs”. They have also built a fort. Three students–Rex, Matteo, and Andrew– took time to show me the staged dam that was collecting water and funneling it away from the walking trails. It worked beautifully!

We visited Ms. Mann’s Gr. 2-3 class who shared how they get to colour a turtle as they do things to show truth and honesty because the turtle represents the Grandfather Teaching of Truth. The students in every class had co-developed what belonging looks like and sounds like, and they committed to acting in ways to bring alive the Grandfather Teachings to ensure that everyone feels safe to share their truths, ideas, and to be humble about learning from each other.

Ms. Schmalz’s Gr. 3-4 class was engaged in a “Math Rotation” which are stations that offer students choices of activities using white boards, manipulatives, and games to practice, in this case, division strategies.  Ms. Schmalz shared that the teachers have worked together to develop Math rotation resources, and they got the idea from “Daily Five” for Literacy. They made a similar, differentiated approach of teaching the whole class, small groups, and one-on-one. They have seen positive growth in students’ math and numeracy skills as a result.

We then watched Ms. Shirley lead the K-4 students in a practice for the Spring Concert. They sang and danced “Voices of Nature”, “Salish Sea”, and the “Compost Song”. The Spring concert idea came from a picture book, “Dear Children of the Earth”.  Ms. Boyle shared how she loves this story and one of the lines in their concert, “We are the future and we are counting on you” captures the theme of the book and play. It was such a wonderful opportunity to see the students so engaged in the words, actions, and dance.

We visited Ms. Nelson’s Gr. 6-7 class and two students, Kyle and Quinn, showed me how they started their own coffee business to raise money for their trip to Vernon at the end of the year. They had raised over $400 so far, and Principal Boyle and I drank some of their delicious blend and contributed to their fund. We also talked with the class as the students were working in groups on building games out of cardboard boxes.

Ms. Greer’s Gr. 4-5 class was studying lava that comes from volcanoes and analyzing the difference in rock form based on temperature and thickness of the lava. She shared pictures of her trip to Iceland, which engaged students in questioning the different rock forms. Mr. Massey’s Gr. 8-9 class was working on a project to calculate their run time by engaging in trials using a Micro:bit coding box, and sharing their projects in which they had studied boiling and melting points as well as densities of Halogens. We visited the Gr. 10-12 Academy and talked with the teacher, Ms. Caputo, who shared the AI tools of “Magic To Do” that offers guidance or coaching to students who ask a question instead of immediately doing the task.

Heffley Creek Elementary School

We first met Ms. Nelson, the steno, who shared that it had been a great morning. Ms. Silva’s Gr. 1-3 class was working on making their own books using “Book Creator”. One student, Malachi, showed me his book on fast cars, and another student, Rhaege, pointed to the pages in his book about aliens. We also read “Moose- The Story of a Family”. Most students showed me their books, which centred on the lifecycle of the chicken, starting from an egg. They had observed the lifecycle in their classroom and only recently sent the chicks to a farm. They were excitedly awaiting the same process with turkey eggs that Ms. Nelson brought in from her farm.

In Kindergarten, Ms. Dilman had just purchased a number of new centers–sorting letters, painting with watercolor from used felts, matching colours, making roadways, and creating rainbows from wax sticks, to name a few. The students enjoyed playing alone and in partners or groups of three at the centres. We ended our tour in the library where they have added $3000 worth of new books due to generous donations from the Tolko Industries.

Young Artists’ Conference — April 30, 2024

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we are committed to students developing multiliteracies (print, visual, music, digital, drama) as part of the Intellectual Development Priority to share their talents and to explore career pathways. On April 30, 2024, we celebrated the creative young artists in our district at the Young Artists’ Conference Gallery Grand Opening Celebration at the Old Courthouse on Seymour Street. Read more.

Hairstylist Industry Dinner

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, students who are exploring hairdressing are learning about one possible career pathway, which is the Career Development Priority. On Wednesday evening, the Fourth Annual Hairstylist Industry Dinner was held at Norkam Secondary and the La Bella Saints salon. Read more.

Red Dress Day — National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and LGBTQ2S+ people

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we are committed to students developing a sense of cultural safety and humility in communities so every learner can feel safe and thrive personally and culturally. On Sunday, May 5, 2024, we encourage everyone to take a moment to honour Red Dress Day and remember the countless Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people who have experienced disproportionate violence in Canada. This year’s National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGTBQIA+ was honoured by several Kamloops-Thompson School District schools on Friday, May 3, with students, teachers, school leaders, and administrators encouraged to wear red, displaying red clothing, and create impactful and education displays. Read more.

District Parent Advisory Council

The logo contest is now finished, and the District Parent Advisory Council has selected its new logo. Read more. Also, PACs apply for their gaming grants for next year from April 1st to June 30 and the details can be found here: If PACs would like some help to apply they should reach out to DPAC at:  for support. Late applications are unlikely to be approved. This grant provides $20 per student to Parent Advisory Councils and can make a big difference to students and schools.

Thank you for all that you do to make this time of year fun and filled with engaging learning opportunities and events. Take time for yourself this weekend to rest and rejuvenate.


Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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