Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday February 23, 2024

Dear Parents/Caregivers:

There have been many reasons to celebrate this past week as well as stories that show how our relationships and connections impact student, staff, and parent wellbeing in a positive way, which are cornerstones in our 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan.

Juniper Ridge Elementary School

Principal Steptoe and Vice Principal Chernoff shared a lovely act of kindness that also brought a smile to my face (See the little card on the left-hand side of the page). They shared these tiny cheese graters as a gesture of recognition and kindness for staff. They find a way to acknowledge their staff every month.

As we toured the school, we started in Ms. Hill’s Gr. 2-3 class where they were making hearts in which students wrote messages about how to be kind. Kindness is this month’s focus. These messages were being prepared to add to the schoolwide Pink Shirt Day bulletin board.

We then took part in Ms. Murphy’s Gr. 1-2 Math class as they were engaged in subtracting using visual strategies.

Mrs. Mayer’s Gr. 3-4 class was skipping in the gym and Mrs. Murray’s Gr. 7 class was engaged in a “flex” block. In the other grade 7 class, Mrs. Waters introduced me to James. James took time to explain how he had created his comic story using his stuffies as inspiration for the characters. He called them “teddy rangers”. This started in class when students were creating items for the grade 7 Junior Entrepreneur Fair.

Mr. Richard’s Gr. 4-5 class was discussing and correcting a Math assignment, so we headed to Mr. Heron’s class where they were studying different levels of government. They had worked on creating their own countries and choosing their political structures for their governments. Next door, Ms. Denison’s Gr. 5 class was working on varied assignments - poetry and math.

I met “Minny Kinney”, a student who sometimes visits Mrs. Kinney, the school secretary, for her breaks. To end our tour, I visited Ms. Plut’s class who was having fun with 100’s day activities.

Rayleigh Elementary School

Principal Conroy and I started our day in Mrs. Stewart’s Kindergarten class that had just finished intensive work on phonological awareness with Heggerty resources and were dancing and taking a “brain break” when we entered their classroom.

Ms. Nielsen’s K-1 class was beading using an ABC pattern goal with medicine wheel colors. The students had learned the meaning of the colors in the medicine wheel and were designing their beading necklaces with this in mind.

Mrs. Foster’s Gr. 1-2 class was reading. Students were in various locations (desks, cozy corners, coat room on pillows) and reading independently and in pairs. A couple of students shared their love of reading series books like “Dragon Master” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.  Mrs. Foster was engaged in a guided reading lesson and doing a “picture walk” with a small group of students. For those who needed a calming moment, they had the view of sea turtles swimming on their classroom screen.

Principal Conroy and I stopped in the hallway, and he pointed to a bulletin board about traits they are looking for in all Rayleigh students.  He explained, “We identified Integrity as the core trait we want to develop in students.  With Integrity at the core, we are also focused on Resiliency, Respect, Compassion & Teamwork.  We foster the development of these traits everyday as staff and students, and celebrate moments where they are lived out in our school.” He showed me a positive moments box in which staff and students can write what they saw someone do that showed these character traits. They recognize the individuals caught being Rayleigh Rockstars on Friday afternoons and their pictures are collected and displayed at the front of the school. We also reviewed Rayleigh’s five basketball teams, which makes up about 25% of their school population. This kind of investment by the staff and parents in coaching to make this possible is worth a great big shout out – ”Thank you staff and parent coaches who give selflessly of your time!  We appreciate you.”

In the library, Mrs. Sauer was sharing the newest books added to their collection from a diversity and inclusion book list. We met a student, Brayden, in the hallway, and when I asked him what made Rayleigh a great school, he said, “Teachers are nice and the school is so clean.” Mrs. Tweed’s Gr. 4-5 class was reading in small groups in the hallway just outside of the class. They were studying “Ten Most Futuristic Cities”. Ms. Gauley was playing the ukulele when we entered her Gr. 5-6 class who were creating a song in French about musical instruments.

SD73 Kamloops-Thompson School Board in partnership with the Aboriginal Education Council Signs the Fifth Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement

Thursday, February 22nd was an important moment when Aboriginal Education Council Chair, Diane Jules and Chair of the Kamloops-Thompson School Board, Heather Grieve signed the fifth Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. I was grateful to be part of the year-long process in which the Aboriginal Education Council co-created this agreement.  Read more.

McGowan- Preparing for Norman Foote’s Choral Concert

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, the Board is committed to developing students’ multi-modal (print, visual, digital, musical, drama) literacies through curricular and extracurricular activities. McGowan Park Elementary had been busy getting ready for Canadian Children’s Artist Norman Foote. Each week for the last month, around 50 students have committed their after-school time to rehearse with Jeanine Wourms and Jayne Latta to learn Norman’s music in preparation for a choral concert with him on stage. Read more.

SD73 Students Unplugged and Played More in January

Over 8,613 SD73 students accepted the challenge to reduce screen time and play more during Unplug and Play Week! In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, our mission is to provide learning opportunities that inspire students to thrive. An important part of thriving in today’s world is to know when and how to “unplug” from our technologies and play outside, inside, and with others or by ourselves. Read more.

Young Authors’ Conference: For the “Love of Writing” Virtual Launch 2024

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we are committed to supporting students to develop foundational literacy skills and to develop a passion for multi-literacies- reading, writing, speaking, listening, and composing in the fine arts. The "For the Love of Writing" Young Authors' Conference launch on February 14th was a great success. Over 70 classes attended virtual writing workshops with celebrated BC and Alberta writers. Students honed their craft and, hopefully, were inspired to consider attending the in-person conference on May 3rd at TRU! Read more.

Thank you for making our district departments and schools warm, welcoming, and inclusive spaces for everyone. Have a lovely weekend.


Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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