Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday May 10, 2024

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

It has been a week filled with excitement! Over the past week, South Kamloops Secondary School won the 2024 National Ethics Bowl Competition, Fran Connett received the first Board Award of Recognition, the Deputy Minister visited our schools, 11 districts came together at the second annual Indigenous Student Summit, our students participated in Girls Exploring Trades and Technology, and the Executive Assistants’ Conference was hosted in Kamloops, to name a few events.

It was Teacher Appreciation Week in the US, and the BC Teachers’ Federation honoured Teachers Teaching On Call (TTOC). Thank you to all of the hard working teachers who make each day special for our 16,000 students! Thank you to our TTOCs who make field trips, professional learning, teacher collaboration, and many more important events possible. Read more.

Dufferin Elementary School

Principal Gord Cumming and I started our visit with a warm welcome done by two students, Emily and Emma, who had kindly shared a sidewalk welcome. From there, I met Tracey Mirtle who shared her early morning baking, and Mr. Cumming said, “She comes early often and bakes all of the staff treats!”

We continued our visit in Mrs. Cross’ Grade 1 class, where they were working on the “ow” sound and applied their understanding by reading stories with “ow” words.  Mr. Cumming described that many teachers work together on reading instruction using research-based materials like Heggerty and Science of Reading practices.

Ms. Lofgen’s Grade 3 class was listening to a student tell about a trip to Phoenix, Arizona. The picture was of a rock with a hole in it at Papago Park. Students were sharing their predictions about how the hole came to be through erosion caused by weathering. As we walked through what had recently been a computer lab, Mr. Cumming showed me the beautiful carpentry work in the room. The room was transformed into a flexible extra space for multi-class projects, as well as Parent Advisory Committee and Staff meetings. Mr. Cumming commented, “I have had wonderful support from the Facilities Manager and the carpenters.”

We then went into Ms. Preymak’s Grade 2 class, and they were engaged in place value activities. Ms. Dalsin’s Grade 4 class had just heard from a student about their holiday to Disney World. Ms. Dalsin explained that she has students enjoy their trip and keep a travel diary. They then share with the class, so it becomes a way to connect and learn about each other and the places that the child has gone. Ms. Geoghegan’s Grade 5–6 class was studying area and perimeter, and she shared how she has enjoyed working with Mr. Darren Clark, Numeracy Coordinator, and learning about new strategies for division.

We stopped to talk with Mr. Trevor Dick, the custodian. He is incredibly talented in woodwork and makes all of the wooden name plates throughout the school. He also shared that he enjoys wood working as well as science, especially chemistry. When I asked why science, he said, “I like the big questions like—What makes up the world? How does the world work?” He has a background in Forestry and with his many talents, he said that he most enjoys sharing his passions to help others.

Ms. Julia Wright, Aboriginal Education Worker, stopped to talk about leading the round dance in the school to bring the community together. She said, ”It is a way to build connection and community and to heal.” She collaborated with Darryl Laboucan who suggested that they include the “birthday song” and “apple song” to emphasize that this is an offering to give thanks and to celebrate together. This ceremony was a wonderful example of how sharing expertise and ideas made a school ceremony a beautiful celebration at a time when their community needed it. We also met two students, Kaidence and Caiden, who met me in the hallway to share how excited they were to join Girls Exploring Trades and Technologies to learn how to build things. Kaidence also described how she has a passion for making soaps and selling them to make money for charity.

Mr. Mueller’s Grade 6–7 students were engaged in algebra and Ms. McGarry’s Grade 6–7 class were sharing their Earth and Sustainability themed art projects. As we were going back into the school after visiting these classes, the Grade 3–4 class was posing for a class picture of their efforts to dress up for “Star Wars Day”.

Executive Assistants’ Conference: Where Everyone Belongs

Ms. Dana Heyman, Executive Manager and Assistant, Kamloops-Thompson School District, and Ms. Simone Chenoweth, Executive Assistant, Nicola-Similkameen School District, coordinated and organized the BC annual conference for all Executive Assistants. The theme was “Where Everyone Belongs”, and it started the evening before and continued with Trustee Jules who is also Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council doing the land acknowledgement. It was a day of professional learning for participants. They took part in sessions and visited the Kamloops Indian Residential School.  Thank you to all Executive Assistants who make our lives easier and more manageable.

South Kamloops Secondary Students Win the 2024 National Ethics Bowl

We are so proud of South Kamloops Secondary School (SKSS) students who won the Canadian National Ethics Bowl in Winnipeg on Saturday, May 4. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights hosted twelve finalists of the approximately 150 original teams in a competition that occurred over an intense two days. Read more.

Fran Connett Receives the First Board Award of Recognition for Bringing Alive the Value Commitments in the District Strategic Plan

On Monday, May 6, The Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education joinƒed together with the Chase Secondary staff and district community to honour Fran Connett with the first ever Board Award of Recognition. Read more.

Celebrating the 2024 Young Authors’ Conference 

On Friday, May 3, 320 Grades 4–12 students, representing thirty-seven Kamloops-Thompson School District schools, participated in the Young Authors’ Conference at TRU. This was a day about writing, learning, and sharing the power of words with people who are truly passionate about language and storytelling. Read more.

Girls Explore Trades and Technology: Empowering Young Women in Trades

On Wednesday, May 8, 48 students from Grades 6–9 descended upon TRU for the semi-annual Girls Explore Trades and Technology (GETT). This event offers female students the opportunity to try out a sampling of different trades to gain confidence through hands-on experience and learn about future career opportunities. Read more.

Learning and Living with Visual Impairment: Sharing with Grade 9 Students

Kamloops-Thompson School District Accessibility Committee was established a year ago to examine and ensure that our learning environments inspire students to thrive. On May 7, Kyra Barrett, a SKSS Grade 9 student with a visual impairment, teamed up with Keisha Anderson, program coordinator and event planner from Blind Beginnings, and Mary Anderson, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, to present information and education on visual impairments to an audience of close to 80 Grade 9 students. Read more.

District Parent Advisory Council

Congratulations to Ms. Bonnie McBride, DPAC President, on her recent success in the election to the BCCPAC Board of Directors as the President for 2024-2025! It is a wonderful opportunity to have a Kamloops-Thompson parent representing parents’ voices provincially.

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 1–June 30 and the details can be found here. If PACs would like some help to apply they should reach out to DPAC for support at: 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 to everyone for your dedication and efforts to make every day special for our students. You make Kamloops-Thompson School District a place of care, belonging, and joy. I hope that you take time to have some fun this weekend. Stay safe and stay well.

Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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