A School Year to Remember

Posted On Tuesday June 30, 2020

By Meghan Wade, Trustee

June 30, 2020

It has been an interesting school year to say the least. The SD73 Community has survived and been strengthened by the reopening of Westsyde Elementary, the loss of a school building and a continuing global pandemic. Together we located, renovated and equipped alternative learning spaces within weeks of Parkcrest Elementary being destroyed. Together, we were the first District in the Province to begin supporting and connecting with our learners online when schools were closed by the Minister of Education on March 17.

But all this you know. What about the many things that have also happened in SD73 during these interesting times to support and celebrate our learners and staff?

SD73 staff from every department, function and area of the District leaned in to find different strategies and avenues to stay connected and keep our learners at the center of what we do.

These efforts and innovations during such challenging conditions must be acknowledged and celebrated. It is not possible to mention all the amazing things staff have created and implemented over the past three months. The following is simply a sample. The Rotary Starfish Backpack project for vulnerable students continued. Schools organized parades through their neighborhoods to demonstrate their caring and commitment to students. The District’s Spiral of Inquiry 2020 which was part of a Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education project continued involving staff and students from Valleyview Secondary and Barriere Secondary. The District’s Young Artists and Young Authors Conferences occurred virtually this year and the results were outstanding. Our Strong Start programs continued virtually and through the outreach efforts of the coordinators. Student Voice members continued with their important Kamloops Vaping Inquiry project with the support of staff. Clearwater Senior Secondary (CSS) due to the efforts of their Junior Council, school staff, Principal Coates and the local community raised $50,000 to support a variety of school-based initiatives. Staff and parents at every high school must be congratulated for their creative measures to make Essential Grads 2020 special and unique to each school.

This list is endless and permeates throughout the District. All of this was possible because of the caring professionals in every part of this District regardless of role or duties.It took leadership, collaboration, determination, and community. Leading the District through this has been Superintendent Alison Sidow, which brings up the final challenge SD73 has this year: We must now find our next Superintendent before the start of the new school year and we must wish Superintendent Sidow a wonderful retirement. It will not be easy, but we will do it, because she has taught us by her example how to lean in through challenges, how to come together and how to build the solution.

Superintendent Sidow has left a legacy of cultural diversity and learning, student centered decision making, staff empowerment, employee engagement, strategic planning, new curriculum implementation, graduation rates improvement for all students, bringing graduation rates for our indigenous students to one of the highest in the Province and let us not forget an addition to Valleyview (the first capital project in SD73 in 18 years). Her leadership has kept SD73 one of the strongest, more progressive districts in B.C. Thank you does not seem quite enough, but it is all she would ever expect and accept. Thank you Superintendent Sidow.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on June 30, 2020.

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