Cwesét-kt: Walking Together to Co-create the 2022-2027 SD73 Strategic Plan

Posted On Thursday June 30, 2022

By Trustee Diane Jules and Board Chair Heather Grieve 

June 30, 2022

“The Aboriginal Education Council (AEC) used the Secwepemctsin phrase, Cwesét-kt (walking together) to describe how the AEC and Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education partnered to consult on the development of the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan,” shared Trustee Diane Jules, Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council.

“Our Board of Education is very proud of how we began with the Aboriginal Education Council and worked as partners with students, staff, and community groups to co-create our roadmap for student success over the next five years,” said Board Chair Heather Grieve. 

“For 10 months we have been walking together with AEC and 2000+ participants from 32 student, staff, parent, and community groups to co-create this roadmap,” shared Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Nixon.  

The 2000+ participants revisited continuously our multiple drafts of the roadmap to ensure a strong collaborative commitment from 48 schools situated in the communities of Barriere, Blue River, Chase, Clearwater, Kamloops, Logan Lake, Pinantan, Savona, Heffley Creek, Sun Peaks, and Westwold. 

We began by co-determining who we are and our driving purpose, which is the foundational framework (mission, vision, values, Seven Grandfather Teachings). We started with agreement on 134 values, then 32, then eight, and finally converged on four cornerstone value commitments:

Connecting and relationships: Building meaningful relationships that support and strengthen learning and growth. 

Wellbeing: Fostering opportunities to promote emotional, psychological, and physical well-being for all students and staff.

Sustainability: Embracing our responsibility to contribute to a sustainable environment.

Equity: Removing barriers and creating environments that provide accessible and empowering opportunities for all students and staff to thrive.

Knowledge Keeper Joan Arnouse emphasized that the four cornerstone values are  achieved when we each commit to the Seven Grandfather Teachings of courage, love, wisdom, respect, truth, honesty, and humility. These teachings are represented by traditional animals and stories shared in a video posted to Kelsey Jules, the Secwe?pemc artist who developed the animals recounts the Secwe?pemc teachings shared with her by elders and knowledge keepers.

“These teachings are the stories that were shared with us as we grew up, and they are what grounds us,” explained Trustee Diane Jules, Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council.

Once we agreed on these value commitments and the Seven Grandfather Teachings, each participant defined what success in their roles (student, parent, staff member, community partner) in our school system meant, and the key theme from these statements became our District mission statement–Supporting learning opportunities and environments which inspire our students to thrive.

“When we projected what success for our students meant five years from now, we arrived at our District vision–Fostering educated and resilient citizens empowered to contribute to a diverse, inclusive, caring, and sustainable society,” stated Heather Grieve. 

“I am confident that we will see every student, including Aboriginal students, become the best versions of themselves as we continue to walk together into a vibrant, dynamic, and hopeful 2022-2027 in SD73” concluded Trustee Diane Jules.

For more information on the SD73 Strategic Plan 2022-2027 is available at 

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on June 30, 2022

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