FAQ - Sun Peaks School

Sun Peaks K-9 School Community Engagement
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Important note: We did not provide answers to individual emails. We collected questions and answered them in this FAQ section.

To provide feedback on the plans, please email us: HERE

Q: It appears as though your only solution to any of this is suggesting busing 100 plus children to Heffley, or do nothing. Have you considered any other options?

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - Yes we have.  The options are we can have the students remain in the current multi campus configuration with any additional suggestions you may have.

Alternatively we can consider if you have an older child and you would like them to go to NorKam and a younger child stay at Sun Peaks.

There is a lot of room on this survey to provide exactly what you see as being the best alternative, and we will take all of those into consideration.

Q: The presentation mentioned Heffley Creek elementary is only at 15% capacity- has there been any thought of turning that into a K-12 school?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - That hasn’t been a consideration at this point as it was built as an Elementary school with a gym of an appropriate size.
Q: Given the timeline for a new school these questions should be presented to all parents of a child attending Sun Peaks school. A child in grade 1-2 right now will have multiple prospects, since we know delays can happen.
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - This should be sent to all parents of Sun Peaks children, and I believe was sent to all parents

Q: How much would it cost to have the 8/9 portable moved to P5?  It's 2 km. Also the kids there (including mine) have to use another portable's washrooms so what is the difference? I feel the 'washroom' portable is a deflection.

Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - Most recent portable move was about $110,000 within catchment.

Director McDonald - The 8/9 students are using the Academy washrooms and the layout of that portable is a little different where the students come in the back and go down a mini hallway to the washrooms whereas the P5 location they would have to walk through the classroom space to use the washrooms.

Q: Has the idea of the K/1 students going to P5 been explored?

Could the age of students that are going to the permanent location at P5  be re-looked?

With the new daycare opening tomorrow, many of the new 2024 K’s will be comfortable in that area anyhow, and possibly a library etc there. Speaking as a new Kindy parent of a December baby this also would be easier for parents (even with younger siblings/babies) to get their Kindy’s to and from school in all seasons, without the hike for the youngest kids of the school and also the stress of the littlest ones having to be a confident skier on the platter in Nov. Just an idea-although I’m sure it has been thought of before.

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - Yes, we can look at various configurations when we get the answers from the survey. 

Superintendent Nixon - Yes, the age of students can be looked at. We will have more information when we get the results of the survey.

Superintendent Nixon - These are good ideas and we have had some thoughts like that before. I appreciate the way you have explained it.

Q: What is the option of placing all of the students in portables in the P5 area?
Zoom answer: - Director McDonald - With the number of students that are currently at Sun Peaks, there wouldn’t be sufficient room. We only have room for 4 portables in that area.
Q: Sorry not the ideal format for a dialogue, but I thought the questions presented at the end of the presentation would only be for selected parents.
Answered after Zoom call: We have provided it to all parents and staff and because the individuals who take the survey identify themselves and the grades of their children, we will know who prefers which solution, so it will reflect responses of those most closely impacted.
Q: My understanding is that land (the school site) was transferred to SD73 from the Sun Peaks Municipality as an agreement that all classrooms would be located at the site until capital is received to build the full school.
Zoom answer: Director McDonald - That is not the agreement with Sun Peaks Municipality. When we got the land from them, it was 2 fold - one was to build a future school and one was to provide room for additional portables to allow for growth. This precluded that the portables on the hill were still a part of the school as the 8/9 portable.
Q: I'm wondering about the children being bussed to town. Is it a consideration to include those children within our numbers to reflect the students living in our catchment?
Zoom answer: Superintendent Nixon - Yes it is potentially the ability to include those numbers but at the present time, they are permitted to go to the schools they are going to. And we should add that students often attend non-catchment schools for various reasons and they are approved to do so.
Q: If we choose the option to have our children remain at SP multi campus, are we choosing things as they currently are with no changes, upgrades or improvements?
Zoom answer: Superintendent Nixon - In the comments you can state what you hope will happen and we can only then assess the cost and that is essentially what we will do and will present that to the Board with a request for budgets.
Q: Please note there is no hallway in the small portable with washrooms and the students walk through the classroom.
Zoom answer: In the Academy. Thank you.
Q: Why do we have to change anything? Other than keep up with the maintenance?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - We don’t and that is certainly what we are trying to figure out. We would like to know if you are happy with the current multi campus format and if the answer is yes then that means we need only maintenance.
Q: Apologies but how much to move the portable 2 kms? 100Km?
Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - As I mentioned the number I gave was based on the cost of a portable move within Kamloops this fall. It’s not necessarily the distance the portable is moved, it’s the take down, putting portables on a truck, moving them, setting them up and doing all the things like stairs and ramps and skirting that add up to the cost.
Q: A vote was made to move the portables or not by very few of the parents, majority was in favor of moving the portables yet you still decided against the vote. So how do our votes count in the new survey towards anything moving forward when nothing moves in the majority?
Zoom Answer: - Superintendent Nixon - There was a split vote with 13-10 and we have the maintenance costs that were very high. We had enrolment to review at the beginning of the year. We made a decision that because it was a split vote, to advise the Board to put the money that was slated for moving the portable to deal with the maintenance costs and now in the fall/winter and looking whether to move the portable is is important to us to see what the results of the responses. If it’s the will of the community to move the 8/9 portables and there is a strong will and the comments also indicate that, we will bring that back to the Board. It's important that we stop and make sure we are doing the right thing.  A split vote is split.  It is not a clear majority. It is not about counting the 1 or 2 extra people. The decisions we make are complex and multi factored and they involve a lot of moving parts.
Q: Why are we not using the Sunpeaks conference center for schooling anymore, its a huge waste of quality space.
Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - When we used the conference center it was a short term agreement between the SD73 and the Municipality as we needed the space due to some significant enrolment growth. That space bought us time to get the 2 new portables purchased and installed at the P5 location and the Municipality did not want us using that space any longer once we had the portables there.
Q: Would it be possible to see the breakdown of the costs to move the 8/9 portable to P5? Sorry I feel like this is being deflected.
Zoom Answer:  Director McDonald - It's not a per kilometer fee. It is based on all the work that they need to do so they have to mobilize to get to the portable. There is removing stairs ramps, disconnecting electrical, having the portables broken in half, loading the portables onto trucks; Which in some cases require a crane once they're on the trucks, all of the existing underneath the wood which is called cribbing is removed from the site. Then they have to set up the new site with all of the cribbing, the portables get placed again with the crane, then they have to rebuild the portables, join them together, reconnect electrical, add all the skirting, and everything else the stairs and ramps. So that's how you get to the approximate 100K cost. I hope that helps.
Q: Could the Grade 8/9 can somehow combine with the Academy of Grade 10-12?

Zoom Answer: Assistant Superintendent Hamblett - The request to have grade 8/9 join the sunpeaks school was requested by the community. That took some of the students out of the academy which was grade 10-12 and is the graduation program.

There are currently 25 students in the grade 8/9 classroom. There is a 1.0 full time equivalent teacher for this classroom.

There are 14 students in grades 10 to 12 learning online through @KOOL in conjunction with the Sun Peaks Education Society.  

In total, this would be 39 students and would still require two portable spaces. 

Q: It is not my desire to see my child or my communities children bussed to another community. The grass roots community fundraised to create a school which grew rapidly to have SD73 manage it and it has continued to grow. The population here is dependent upon real estate availability. It is very different growth compared to Kamloops suburbs. What we don’t have (ie gym), we make up for with other assets (ie ski, etc) I’m not sure why Heffley is even a point of discussion. 

Aren’t we here just to discuss moving 8/9 portable to P5 to reduce 3 campus to a more manageable 2 campus school? To move 8/9 or not? Isn’t that what we should be focussing on?

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - For some parents, that is exactly what the focus is, but we also have received a number of emails from parents initially requesting inclusive supports, which is why we have included Assistant Superintendent Mochikas here. Some parents want to know about supports and how they get them. Others were asking about maintenance, and they had concerns about various aspects of maintaining the current multi campus.  

It was proposed to us to talk about a number of things because of the questions coming in.

Q: Would it be correct to say that an easier option for SD73 is to bus students back down to Heffley Creek Elementary. The school that was reconfigured and planned for closure in 2009/10 despite an enrollment of 100 students? The growth of Sun Peaks and the school community is obvious. Community school is what all parents wanted.
Zoom Answer: - Superintendent Nixon - The Board makes decisions, and we (operations) make recommendations. There is no interest in having a predetermined solution. Whenever we’ve done a catchment change, it has always been challenging with difficult discussions but it is done because there is a need. If people, once they are done the survey, are happy with the multi campus format and they don’t want to move, we are fine with that. If we find out that there is a group that wishes they could have a single (brick and mortar) school, we would report that back to the board. This is an opportunity to hear from the community broadly because Sun Peaks is engaged. So the answer is no, there is not a predetermined solution or an idea that this (sending students to Heffley Creek Elementary) is ideal.

Q: Just thinking of creative solutions, are double stacked portables an option for space saving? Understanding costs and environment may not allow for this but I'm curious if there is potential for something along those lines.

Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - It has been considered. The biggest challenge with double stacked portables are the accessible ramps. 14 feet off the ground and ramps would need to be 100 feet long to adhere to accessibility requirements so we run out of space very quickly. We would also then have to remove the existing portables that are there because they do not allow for that configuration.

Q: In terms of students' ideal development (G8/9), what would be the ideal option academically speaking, to build more relationships with G 10-12 or to mix more with G4-7?

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - You would have different opinions in here according to the research. I would say that cross aged schools are common. We have a K-12 school in our district, we have an 8-12, and K-7. We don’t necessarily have a preference but we will find out if you do by reading the comments from the survey.

Q: I wonder if our lack of growth is due to the district paying to bus students out of the catchment area. Why doesn’t a bus bring students to Sun Peaks?

Zoom answer: Superintendent Nixon - We do not bus kids to a non catchment school. So we wouldn’t bring them into a non-catchment school. The kids that are going out are going to NorKam, which is their designated school and for any of the other kids you saw in the initial slides that are busing out, like all students, parents have an option if there is room in the school to ask for a transfer. So it would mean making a commitment not to do that or there may be a reason that you or I are not aware of. That’s where it gets tricky. because any school we look at in our district there are non catchment students attending for various reasons.

Q: Thank you to you all for making this time and space for our school community! Should all remain as is (and the existing 8/9 portables not be moved), what is the likelihood that a new portable will be allocated for our school for the 2024/25 school year?

Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - For the 2024/25 school year, as we do for all of our schools, in the spring as part of the long range plan, we look at potential enrollment growth in the enrollment forecast for the following year and that determines whether or not we look at placing additional portables at schools.

Q: I would like to chime in with the idea to have the 8/9 join the academy next door. I wonder if it would be possible to visit the schedules of the two campuses to allow for overlapping breaks to let kids mingle and to give the teachers at that location the opportunity to collaborate. So rather than combining the two campuses, just create an environment for the two groups to mingle.

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - that is very lovely and I'm not saying we can't do it. I think Assistant Superintendent Hamlett earlier indicated that that might be possible.
Q: The new Sun Peaks daycare is a beautiful new facility. Is there any possibility of a new facility like that being built in the P5 location to house all our students until a new school is built. Is something like that in the budget?
Zoom Answer: Director McDonald - That was similar to a previous question that was asked about relocating students there but there is not sufficient space in the P5 location for all the students knowing that we can only fit 4 portables.
Q: What would be the guarantee that SP school would not be taken off the capital list altogether?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - I do not believe that the board at this time has made any indication that I'm aware of that they would take Sun Peaks off the list. There is a deep seeded community love of a new school in Sun Peaks and the Board has demonstrated commitment since 2012 to honoring the passion and commitment of this unique campus. This is community engagement and we are calling it to come up with the best solutions while waiting for a new school. The board has made that commitment so it's not for me or anyone else to say that they would take that commitment lightly and change their capital plan although they reserve the right to do, so there's been no indication of that.
Q: Is there an opportunity for the grade 8/9 to get a new portable on P5? As mentioned the current one doesn’t have running water which is not ideal. I find the idea of the students going into another classroom to use the washroom would be a distraction for all staff and students.
After Zoom meeting: There is the potential for a new portable at P5, but it is not currently in the plan.
Q: What will the deadline be for the survey? I feel that many families will want to discuss with other families and need such time prior to completing the survey.

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - in a perfect world what I would love I'd love for you to have a deadline of Friday and the reason is we could make it Monday but the reason is I'd love to be able to look at the data over the weekend come back with a preliminary report for the board but I think we make it Friday see how many responses we get if we don't have a really high response rate we'll extend it to Monday.

After the Zoom meeting: We decided to extend it to Monday immediately based on this question.

Q: In the past basic discussions have taken place with the SD73 Administration about the idea of the Sun Peaks School becoming a school of choice, a mountain academy or similar. Students outside the catchment could also attend.  Is this school of choice option something that SD73 would consider?

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - Yes, we would consider it because we always consider any of these options when raised, but I do look at one of my colleagues who seems to have a lot of ideas so just one moment.

Assistant Superintendent Reilly - it's definitely something we could consider but it's important to recognize that schools of choice are not provided busing so students who are outside of the catchment or would be able to attend but they are responsible for getting to the some peak school on their own.

Q: If the choice to move the portable is made, would the move happen during the school year or would it happen at the end of the school year?
Zoom Answer Director McDonald - I believe it would be at the end of the school year.  The portable moving companies are booked up quite solidly and they're usually three to four months lead time. There's also the disruption to the students as the portable will be down for a period of at least two to three weeks and then we also have the environmental conditions up at Sun Peaks once the snow really gets going.
Q: Will the survey results and comments be made public?
Zoom answer: Superintendent Nixon - I can put questions and answers from parents on the website without putting personal identifiers on them.
Q: There are many community members with a background in construction/contracting and who own flat-bed trailers. If we were able to gain assistance from our Sun Peaks community, would that bring the price to move the portables down?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - We have employee contracts to consider and union requirements, and we have to  abide by them, so we cannot create contracts outside of that.  We have liability issues as well and our insurance will only allow us to use 3rd party companies.
Q: SD73 does not provide any bussing to any of the Sun Peaks campuses so how is it different from a school of choice?
After Zoom Answer: The Sun Peaks School is not a school of choice but is a catchment school. The District adheres to Board Policy 17 - Transportation of Students to determine transportation needs of students.
Q: In the line of questioning on the survey, it seems to be that we either like the current setup, or would rather move to Heffley Creek. Is it possible to change the layout of the survey to allow people to dislike the multi campus layout, but to have that as preference to moving to Heffley?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - I can actually clarify that I don't think we've been clear about how the survey was set up. It actually does enable you to choose multiple answers so I think you're going to find that you could choose what you're asking. You can achieve this by saying you dislike a multi campus layout but you have that as the preference instead of moving to Heffley Creek. The survey is flexible.
Q: Has anyone measured the distance from Burfield drive to P5?

Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - It hasn't been measured  but we can certainly answer this later in the Q&A.

After Zoom Answer: Burfield Drive to the P5 location is 3.4 kms based on google.com

Q: Could the grade configurations of different campuses be k-7 & 8-12?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - Absolutely. If you have a different configuration that you can suggest, you can suggest it in the Survey.
Q: Could the schedules for the 8/9 and the academy aline so the students can mingle and work together on some subjects?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon: That's very smart. Sure. We can look into that. I don't have an answer as to yes or no but we can certainly examine it.
Q: Would it be possible to utilize Heffley school on a hybrid model? Example - utilizing the school on the off seasons. Sept-Nov and April - June? Or a few days a week instead of full time. Therefore getting some of the benefits that Heffley Creek has to offer + the benefits of what SP has to offer.
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - Yes. That's a smart suggestion, and we can consider it.
Q: could we have 20 minutes more as we were delayed by technical difficulties that long?
Zoom Answer: Superintendent Nixon - In my world, yes but in many of your worlds with children and all the other things you're balancing out there, you might say “No”, so we'll stick to being respectful to our timeline.

Q: With an 8-12 Sun Peaks campus would SD73 then fully fund and operate all of these grades?

The District funds the educational operations of a school which includes staffing, classroom and student supplies, repairs and maintenance, custodial, grounds and information technology to name a few of the departments that support a school.

Q: I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you very much everyone at SBO.

Thank you for taking part in this webinar.
 Q: So these are not “approved” and happening. These are just “approved” to be considered…
A: Superintendent Nixon: Yes, they are approved to be considered in the budget process, which is a necessary process. The board goes through that happens now, so between January to April.
Q: Not a question, but I appreciate the hard work, and well thought out proposed options. It is clear that you have listened to the parents. Thank you.
A: Superintendent Nixon: Thank you. We just want to thank you
Q: I think this will greatly benefit the school to have a full time Principal. Will this include secretarial staff as well at the mountain?

A: Superintendent Nixon: Usually we consider whatever we do for support staff at the time that enrollments come in.

Assistant Superintendent Reilly: It's a really good question. So thank you for sharing that one out loud to everyone. We would be looking at doing our best to have secretarial staff up at the mountain. We do have some questions around, where would that person be situated and what would that look like.  We have some work on our end to figure that out, but it would be a hope of ours to have somebody up in the mountain.

Q: What would the change to the principals designation solely to Sun Peaks mean for support staff within the office that currently do both schools?
A: Superintendent Nixon:  There's another question that was exactly the same as the last one. So thank you for that question. It was very important.
Q: Well done, very thorough, thank you.
A: Superintendent Nixon: That's very lovely. Thank you.
Q: Would the Principal position include the grade 8/9 Friday or would it only be 4 days a week on the longer days?
A: Superintendent Nixon: It would be a 5 day, a week position. Thank you.
Q: Thank you for the time and effort to have this portion completed. We are excited for the potential additional space. I believe the current assembly and (whole school) gatherings are donated space. Can you confirm?
A: Superintendent Nixon: We do pay for it. It is not donated. Thank you.
Q: Donated by the Municipality I believe?
A: Please refer to the response above.
Q: We appreciate all the work that went into this community survey. As the future school is planned to be a K-12 school, did you receive responses from the Sun Peaks grade 10-12 students?
A: Superintendent Nixon: We did not receive any responses from grade 10-12 students as at this time  the survey was geared towards the questions that were framed in the survey and those were with respect to the grade levels that were named. And the second is that at present we are always open to do additional surveys on other questions as they may arise. We will always consider all of the points of view when they are needed at that time, and in this case it wasn't relevant to talk to grade 10 to 12 students about a move of the portable. Thank you.
Q: We appreciate that you have listened to our concerns and highlighted the responses thoroughly. We are looking forward to the future.
A: Superintendent Nixon: Thank you, and so are we. We are really looking forward to anything we can do to work with the Sun Peaks community.
Q: Can you suggest ways on how we can further this discussion onto Victoria?
A: Superintendent Nixon: Any political advocacy would be done with the Board of Education, and they would be delighted to hear your suggestions, as the Board is always open to advocacy. Thank you.

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