Sun Peaks Consultation

Sun Peaks Elementary

The Board of Education of School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) is serving notice that a re-configuration of Sun Peaks Elementary School is being considered to integrate grade 8 and 9 students for Sept. 2020.

The commenting period regarding the re-configuration of Sun Peaks Elementary School is now closed. All comments received have been posted below and the transcript from the public consultation meeting held Jan. 20, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Hearthstone Lodge in Sun Peaks is available here. 

 

 

Discussion


The community consultation period is to obtain feedback on the proposed plan to re-configure Sun Peaks Elementary School to fully integrate grades 8 and 9 into the school for the 2020-2021 school year. This would lead to the implementation of a five-day per week school calendar to best accommodate hours of instruction. The community will also be consulted on the name change to Sun Peaks School from Sun Peaks Elementary.

The public consultation meeting is planned for Monday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Hearthstone Lodge in Sun Peaks. For more information, please read the Sun Peaks Reconfiguration memo, Dec. 12, 2019.

Background


In 2012, a K-7 school was established at Sun Peaks, and, as the enrolment grew, the District`s 2018 Capital Plan included a submission for a school at Sun Peaks. Currently, the Sun Peaks Education Society supports on-line programs for secondary students that are delivered through @KOOL School. Some staffing resources from @KOOL School are used to support secondary students accessing distributed learning course work.

On Oct. 29, 2019, Maria Cannon, President of the Sun Peaks Education Society, sent a letter requesting that the Board consider options to fully integrate the grade 8 and grade 9 students into Sun Peaks Elementary.

Staffing Considerations


With additional students in the school, increased staffing will also be needed in the form of an additional 1.0 FTE teacher. The cost of this additional position will be covered by the increased student enrolment. The levels of ancillary supports such a library, preparation coverage, learning assistance, certified educational assistant support and administrative time will need to be reviewed. Face-to-face traditional teaching and blended learning may need to be considered for the grade 8 and 9 students to cover the range of curricular areas students are expected to learn.

School Calendar


Another consideration is the school calendar. According to the Ministry of Education regulations a School Board is legislated to offer 853 hours of kindergarten, 878 hours for grades 1-7 and 952 hours for grades 8-12.  An additional 99 hours of instruction is therefore required to operate a secondary program. A five-day schedule will be required to accommodate the secondary program. 

Furthermore, teaching and learning in a school on two separate school calendars within one school is challenging. Similarly, parents who have children in both sites would be faced with this dual calendar model. Another consideration is the length of day for the youngest students on a four-day week. Students as young as 7 are expected to attend school for over 7 hours in a four-day week model. A five-day week is better for students and optimal for learning.   

Name Change


Finally, if the program expands to include grade 8 and 9 students, it would be worthwhile to consider changing the name of the school from Sun Peaks Elementary to Sun Peaks School to reflect the addition of middle school students.

The period for questions, comments and feedback is now closed. All submissions have been posted.

For additional information, please contact the office of the Superintendent of Schools, at 250-374-0679.

 

Questions

Jo-Ann Mc: 

Q: Since @Kool is a publicly funded part of SD73, why do the grade 8&9 students have to move away from @Kool and go back to a traditional school environment?  Why can’t the K-7’s stay with the current traditional school model and the 8-9’s stay with @Kool?  Since @Kool does not have a mandated number of classroom hours, there would be no concern about having to change the number of school days here in Sun Peaks. Everything here in Sun Peaks would stay the same other than then grade 8&9’s would be part of SD73 @Kool rather than SPES @Kool.

I think it is very important to consider the safety of the students, especially the elementary students with regards to a shortened school day and the huge potential of having unsupervised students going up the chairlift on there own.  How is that going to be managed?  With the current 4 day school week this becomes a non-issue, and our students stay safe.

SD73: The Sun Peaks Education Society has approached the Board of Education to integrate grades 8 and 9 into the Sun Peaks school. Currently, the Sun Peaks Education Society supports on-line programs for secondary students that are delivered through @KOOL School. Some staffing resources from @KOOL School are used to support secondary students accessing distributed learning course work. These students do not have SD73 staff on-site to support their educational needs. 

Comments 

 Tom R: 

I support the inclusion of Grades 8 and 9 in the SD 73 curriculum at Sun Peaks.  

When SD 73 inherited the Sun Peaks School, there was never a School Safety Zone included at the main entrance of the school on Sundance Dr. Teachers, students and Board consultants use this entrance.

The entrance is on the outside curve of a hairpin curve.  The existing crosswalk which is used by the students to enter the school is not designated as a School Crosswalk with the corresponding reduced speed zone. The students walk facing traffic and then use the unsafe crossing to enter the school.  No School Crossing Guard is present.

I believe that your Risk Management Officer should have a look at these safety concerns.  Sun Peaks Municipality has been aware of this situation for some time but chooses not to implement a permanent solution.

Darby O:

Hello my name is Darby O'Toole, unfortunately I couldn't be here tonight as I am currently away with my family. My family has a long history with Sun Peaks. My parents lived here in the late 90's and got married here in 2000. After leaving the mountain and eventually settling in Rayleigh, we made the decision to move back to Sun Peaks in 2012. For my family this decision meant a better lifestyle and more family time. Moving from a traditional elementary to Sun Peaks Elementary wasn't easy at the start. It took me a couple weeks to adjust to the four day week, and the longer days. But once I did, I never looked back. I enjoyed the longer school days and shorter week and found myself working hard throughout the day and not even realizing when it was time for PE. In September of 2012, I started grade 5 at the Sun Peaks Elementary and later moved up to the high school in grade 7. Sun Peaks' resort culture quite often meant that my parents worked over the weekends. Only going to school four days a week, gave our family the opportunity to spend quality time together, whether it be out nordic skiing or just hanging around the house. This opportunity has lead me to create strong and healthy relationships with both my parents and my younger brother. These strong family values have shaped me into the person I am today and have solidified my plans for the future. The four day school week also provided my family with the opportunity to take vacations over the weekends if needed. As my parents both work full time jobs, it is hard for them to take time off over Christmas and Spring Break. Having a four day week allowed us to take time off over the weekend during slow times at the mountain. I recently graduated from the Sun Peaks Secondary Academy a year early and I am currently taking a gap year before heading to university. Both having a four day school week and doing my schooling through @kool fostered an environment where I could thrive. I was able to focus on my education through school during the week, and on my many different activities on the weekends. Over the years, I have been able to pursue my many passions while still continuing to work ahead in school. Sun Peaks' unique model provided me with the opportunity to take part in a performance class through Western Canada Theatre, a first year Psychology course at TRU, Encounters with Canada's Science and Technology week, four Young Artists Conferences, Friday Ski Lessons, five WE Days, and a YLCC conference in Kelowna. Sun Peaks' unique model not only helped me pursue my passions but also further my education. I was able to take part in numerous chemistry and biology labs both at high schools and TRU in Kamloops. This is extremely important as Sun Peaks doesn't have the equipment or infrastructure to support certain types of labs. This environment not only helped me to further my high school education, but also prepared me for university. I personally experienced this, when I started my psychology course through TRU Start in September 2018. Sun Peaks' longer days, and independent learning model, gave me the opportunity to jump into my first university class with ease. I later finished this course with an A at the age of 16, largely due to the way the Sun Peaks schools both prepared me. This environment also strengthened my community involvement and volunteering, because of the four day school week I have been able to spend more time volunteering in both the Sun Peaks and Kamloops communities. Through the WE Movement I have taken Part in and lead many fundraisers, such as WE Shred Hate, Bluebird Ski-A-Thon, WE Scare Hunger, Sox Box, WE Are Silent, and WE Bake for Change. I have also been able to volunteer at the Coldest Night of the Year walk in Kamloops for multiple years. I have also been involved in the Sun Peaks Rotary Interact for the last three years, and have been President for the last two.

Through Rotary I have helped raise $1,800 for an AED, $2,000 for a laryngoscope for the Sun Peaks Health Clinic, built a peace garden, and raised $200 for the Guatemala Literacy  Project. This volunteering and community involvement was possible for me because I was able to do projects on Fridays if needed. I was also able to use my Friday off as a day to  work  on any courses I had missed during  the week,  due to activities in Kamloops.  This guaranteed  that I never fell behind in my courses and was still able to pursue my passions outside of school. The Sun Peaks Elementary and Secondary Academy's many opportunities have lead me to become who I am today and have helped me decide what .I  want  to  do  in the future. Learning  in  a unique environment allowed me to graduate a year ahead, which has allowed me to take a gap year before heading to university. During my gap year, I have been working full time, have taken on the role of President of the Rotary Interact, continued to volunteer at many school events, and am planning to head out on a Developing World Connections volunteer trip to Guatemala in the next couple of months. I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without the amazing model of the Sun Peaks schools. The Sun Peaks Secondary Academy has always fostered an environment where people care for one another. Due to the small class sizes, our students and teachers are more like a family than a class. This was extremely important for me as I always knew that my teachers cared. This created a safe environment where students could learn both from their textbooks and from their life experiences. This has spurred on my lifelong passion of wanting to help others, and has lead me to plan on going into the medical field.

Thank you for your consideration, Should you have any further questions I'd be happy to make myself available.

Sun Peaks Elementary PAC:

link to (PDF) Sun Peaks Elementary Consultation Report, Jan. 20, 2020

Sun Peaks Education Society:

Theresa M. and Paul F:

I am in full support of the proposal presented by the Sun Peaks PAC to maintain the 4 day a week schedule, every week. 

We strongly feel that the four day week for our elementary school students should be maintained, for several reasons. Having Fridays off allows our students to participate in programs (e.g. Friday ski, or other programs in Kamloops such as swimming) that would not otherwise be available to them. As our school has no science lab, gym, and other learning facilities that other schools have, we strongly feel that having the Friday available to supplement their education with other extra-curricular programs is imperative. Living in Sun Peaks, getting the kids down to attend extra-curricular activities available in Kamloops on weeknights is not practicable. 

In addition to this, switching to a Mon-Fri week with shorter days would mean, for our family, that additional after-school care would be required for those 5 days per week, where it is not at this time. As you may know, after school care spaces in Sun Peaks are extremely limited, and by switching to the 5 day week, I think more families would be requiring after school care, placing an even bigger demand on already limited resources. 

I understand that by incorporating grades 8 and 9 into the school, extra classroom time is required for grade 8 and 9 students. As these grades will require a separate teacher, and teaching space, I don't see a reason why grade 8 and 9 can't do the Monday - Friday week, with maintaining the Monday - Thursday week for the younger grades. One of the reasons touted was an inconvenience for after school care for families with kids in different grades. Presumably, most children in grades 8 and 9 are old enough that they are capable of self care for one hour after school. 

Please keep the four day week for the grades K-7 students at Sun Peaks.
 Candice B:
We have lived in Sun Peaks for 2.5 years and our kids have been going to SP elementary since 2017. We can’t say enough about our amazing school! We pulled the kids out of St. Ann’s in Kamloops to experience a different, rural, outdoor school experience. Our plan was to live up here for one year. We fell in love with the school and the community and within a few months our Kamloops house was on the market and we made Sun Peaks our permanent home.

Our kids, Cooper in grade 4 and Quinn in grade 3 , are thriving! They have great marks, they are happy and healthy and even though the days are a little longer, we take advantage of our Fridays off. I have organized swimming lessons for over 40 kids in the spring and fall. They take trampoline during both seasons as well. We visit family and friends in Kamloops, attend dental, and eye appointments, go to parks and movies.

During the week, Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, they are in Taekwando and are never too tired to do their homework, play and  ski both downhill and nordic all weekend long. And we still have time for playdates.

I can’t imagine going back to a 5 day week. I am not interested in braving the winter and nighttime conditions driving into town on school nights. My kids would miss out on their activities that make them so healthy, happy and overall successful academically.

I am the One To One Reading coordinator for the school. I often read with the kids in the afternoons(2:30-3:30) and unless they have eaten too much Halloween candy😂, even the K’s are alert and ready to learn.

The families up here have built their lives and schedules around the 4 day school week and we all love it! Please let us continue to succeed in what we know and cherish.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!
 Brenda M: 

After attending the Public Consultation at Sun Peaks last night I wanted to write and express my appreciation for the process for the evolving changes for the Sun Peaks School. I am a retired school teacher from SD 73, SHUSWAP Environmental Educator, and now a Wild BC Schools Facilitator. I promote Outdoor Learning and give ProD Workshops to teachers with resources available through Wild BC. 

Our family has spent the last 25 years at Sun Peaks during every school holiday, Christmas and Spring Break and since retiring my husband and I are at Sun Peaks for most of the winter. We have seen Sun Peaks Resort and community grow from Tod Mountain. We all love Sun Peaks and as made evident by many emotional responses last night many people love living here, too. School Board Trustee Jules described how Sun Peaks is a special place to her and her family, too.

What better place for today's Place Based Curriculum to be explored than right here on the mountain for the Middle School aged students and then later at the High School level. 

Many compelling reasons were given for the school to continue to be time tabled into a 4 day week. This is a unique school created by the community and the 4 day week works well for the families and the resort. The new idea of 4 days every week is a good idea, too! I hope that the school can continue to grow and develop within the  community as they need it to work for them. 
Sun Peaks students excel academically with the access they have to outdoor activities at their doorstep. Students love school here and hopefully will continue to thrive as the school continues to grow! 
Caroline T: 
My name is Caroline Thompson, and I am a parent of two children in the Sun Peaks Community. My daughter is currently in Grade 4, while my son will be entering Kindergarten next year.

The community has been grateful for the opportunity to have had the Board in Sun Peaks this week for the community consultation session. I wanted to voice my support of the proposal presented by the Sun Peaks Elementary PAC to maintain the 4 day a week schedule, every week.

Many of the families here, such as my own, have spouses that work out of the area for stretches at a time, and myself, I commute into Kamloops 2-3 times a week for work. For my family, keeping a longer day 4 days a week will assist me in being able to work a fuller day four days out fo the 5, especially on days when my husband is away. Two days out of that week my daughter attends Tae Kwon Do, which she is able to go to right after school. My son is at a home daycare provider and in care until 4:30. 

Next year when my son enters kindergarten, he will not yet be old enough to participate in the Tae Kwon Do program, and my ability to sustain my employment will be compromised should we move to a 5 day/week school week. On the days that I commute to Kamloops for work, I arrive in the city earliest at 9:30, and I would have to leave at 1:30 everyday to collect my children should we move to 5 days/week school weeks. I do not think my employer will allow me to work 4 hours a day.

Moreover, the 5 day/week school week is problematic for several reasons and unique to the community in Sun Peaks:
1) We do not have any extra curricular after school activities/ space for activities where children can be cared for until parents finish work (such as programs that exist in Kamloops)
2) We do not have a community daycare centre that can accommodate after school care - the Sun Peaks daycare facility has in recent months begun to revert back to a child minding “service” - one that gives priority to tourists and their children.
3) The ski/snowboard programs that kids take part in on Fridays are the only sport programs available to us on the mountain. These Friday programs  assist all of us parents in being able to work a full day, as many of the programs run half day- full day depending on age. And so its is much easier for us to find local community friends/ parents to lean on one day a week (Friday) to assist in watching kids when parents are still at work. In the off-season months, we have come together as a community and arranged very intricate and complex carpooling to ensure our kids are able to take part in dryland activities (for skiing) in venues such as the TCC. We also have in the past booked group swimming lessons at the YMCA so that our children are able to access the same resources as children in town. 

To add to the last point, there ample research that shows the tremendous benefit of outdoor activities on children’s academic successes (please see the email attached here). Isabelle Hamptonstone trains Olympic Athletes, and also happens to live on the mountain. She is very vocal about the importance of outdoor activity on brain function - which is the core of her specialization. While Sun Peaks does not have nearly a comparable amount of resources for children that may be in need of additional learning/teaching supports (whether activity based in the community, or resource-based at school) , what we do know as parents a full day devoted to outdoor activities has had a positive impact on families who chose to move here because their children were struggling in regular school settings. 

And so, to summarize moving to a 5 day/ week school week will not only impact many families in their ability to maintain employment, families do not have after school resources to lean on such as in Kamloops, families do not have a daycare that can accommodate after school children, and lastly, because of the limited amount of sport groups/ activities on mountain, all parents are keen to have their children maintain their commitments to ski/snowboard/ nordic programs as they are all we have. Many of us have made huge sacrifices to live and build this community, and so we simply ask for consideration of all factors before changing the school schedule.
Thank you,
 Ryan O:

Thanks for meeting with our school/parental community at Sun Peaks. It says a lot.

We’ve lived in Sun Peaks for 12 years, moved here to raise our family. We were part of the original planning committee for the school here 10 years ago and we have loved and enjoyed our children’s upbringing in such a special environment.

We welcome SD73’s incorporation of 8/9 grades and the renaming of the school. It also sounds like the additional hours required for these grades can be accommodated within the 4 day school week with cooperation of the board. We hope that’s the case.

For our family being fully immersed in the local economy and tourism work sector, Fridays off means a treasured day I get to spend with my kids. I work evenings and weekends to afford our lifestyle here. A 5 day school week would mean I wouldn’t see them as much, and being in their teen years this would be a tremendous loss. Also any dental/doctor/weekday appointments would mean missing more school (we currently do those on Fridays when we can).

In addition to being heavily involved with the school community I also teach martial arts classes twice a week after school. A good chunk of the kids participate (aged 6-18). For what it’s worth, there is no shortage of energy in these kids after a longer school day. Fridays, naturally are travel days when there are competitions, as they are for most sporting events.

Hopefully these thoughts will resonate with the board and lead to the decision to keep the 4 day school week. We can handle the small details of longer days and missing out on 3 day pro D or holiday weeks. 4 days of school in a week suits our unique community perfectly and has been a principle draw for families that have moved here.  

Thanks for listening. We look forward to your decision March 9.

 Sun Peaks Elementary Staff: 
 Notes from Staff, Jan. 22. 2020
Brennan T: 
I am writing to express my absolute support of the proposal presented by the Sun Peaks Elementary PAC to maintain the 4 day/week schedule.

I currently have one child that attends Sun Peaks Elementary, and will have a second child attending next year.

Thank you,
Craig and Christine V:
My family and I (with 2 kids aged 8 & 10) are moving to Sun Peaks for the 2020-2021 school year and the 4 day a week schedule is one of the main factors in the change (we have already purchased a townhome in Sun Peaks).

I wanted to provide input that the 5 day a week proposed schedule is not what we want.
 Maria D. and Elias O:
Firstly I would like to thank you for your continued support of Sun Peaks.  It is a rapidly growing community that is attracting families globally which in turn makes for a very unique community and school.  I fully support the integration of grades 8 and 9 and the school name change.   However, I do not support the need to change to a 5 day week, as I believe the 4 day week is successful for the students and meets the needs of our family in particular. I believe we can be creative with the calendar as the PAC presented, and find a way for the grade 8 & 9s to adopt a 4 day calendar and keep the K-gr 7 4 day calendar.

My husband is a mountain ski guide in Blue River from September to May. We moved from Blue River to Kamloops specifically to ensure my daughter could have the best educational and social opportunities available. We bought a house in downtown Kamloops so we’d be walking distance from Lloyd George Elementary because we felt this school was the best.  We stood in line from midnight to 8am to register here 5 years ago.  Then the reality of our family living apart really hit home and proved difficult.  The weekend off was not enough time for us to travel back and forth in the winter to be together.  

Because both my husband and I work in the ski industry, we’d meet in Sun Peaks periodically and pulled out daughter out of school on either Friday or Monday so that we’d have family time.  That is when I learnt of Sun Peaks Elementary and it’s 4 day calendar. It was perfect for our needs.  

Consequently, we packed up and moved to Sun Peaks and registered our daughter for grade 1.  She is now in grade 4 and I am proud and happy to say that she is a straight A student.  The long days in grade 1 and 2 were not a problem at all.  She is so energized in the outdoor setting here. Now on the Fridays off, we periodically travel to Blue River to spend time together as a complete family.  For the past 3 years, we have also had regularly scheduled piano lessons Friday mornings for an hour. Since the school didn’t have a music program like Lloyd George did, it was important to us to incorporate music lessons in our life and having Friday available to do this as proven to be perfect for us.  In the spring and fall, we also have swim lessons on Friday afternoons.  This is because regular group lessons at YMCA or TTC are at 3pm weekdays, and there is no way we would make the trip to town in time, so we book private group lessons for Friday afternoons.  That left the weekend available for skiing - and she is in her 2nd year of the accelerated U10 ski racing team that trains on Sat & Sun.  Next year she will be on the U12 team which also has land training on Fridays.  In addition, the Friday gave us extra time to work on any academics that needed attention - for example last year she needed help with math and worked on it every week religiously on Fridays.  The fact that she had straight A’s this year proved our extra work last year on the Fridays worked. Also having 3 days off, it gives us more flexibility to travel and experience more.  Often in September and June, we begin our family camping trips.  It allows us to have more enriching adventures with an extra day - for example, we have had the opportunity to do many backcountry trips in the Wells Gray Park area and the Monashee and Cariboo Mountain ranges.  

The day off on Friday has allowed my daughter to participate in music, travel and other sport that is not available at Sun Peaks and also allows for our family to be together 1-2 times a month since my husband works out of town 10 months of the year.  We really value this schedule highly and feel it actually helps our daughter be a better student overall.

Thank you kindly for reviewing my input and I hope you are able to support our request to keep a 4 day week.

Maria Davis & Elias Ortner

Mayor Al Raine, SPMRM:
Letter to Trustees
Kady R:
I would like to offer my opinion on SD73 attempting to alter the traditional four day school week at Sun Peaks Elementary School to a five day school week. Though we do not currently have children in school at Sun Peaks Elementary School, our son is two years of age and we have another child on the way this spring. Both of our children will attend the school when the time comes. We would not support the change from four days a week to five days a week, as Fridays would be our family day and a day to visit Kamloops if needed for appointments etc. The main reason that we moved our family to Sun Peaks was to take advantage of the four day school week and family centric community.
Jody O:
Feb. 4, 2020 Letter
Silvia & Mario E:

I have been living in Sun Peaks for 15 years now and have been a founding member of SPES, the school in Sun Peaks and still a current member of SPES.

We welcome the support from SD73, however we are a bit concerned for students currently in grade 8 with @kool and SPSA, one of them our daughter.

She is so used to the @kool program and we think it would not be beneficial for her to go back to regular schooling for grade 9, especially with going back to @kool for grade 10.

She has made so many new friends in SPSA in the older grades and works very well together with them. Taking her out of this would not be good for her, as she is the only girl in the current grade 8 and would probably be the only girl later on in grade 9 with SD73.

Our ask is, that Grade 8 students, currently enrolled in @kool and SPSA can stay in that program and SPSA, if they wish to do so.

In the past, SD73 took on one grade, and please don’t get me wrong, we need SD73 taking on grades and we appreciate it, but it would be great, if a solution can be found for the current grade 8s, going in to grade 9. Thank you for your time. 

 Daniel L:

Hello, Sun Peaks is a sacred place. It’s has been for centuries for the peoples that came before us. They hunted, forged, and educated their children here. They passed down knowledge and traditions not inside a building but in the wilds, the outdoors.
Today we enjoy a truncated version of this with our 4 day school week. Each Friday you will find our family outdoors together. We pass our family traditions and knowledge to our children as we are blessed with this added time together our children continue to thrive in this place.  Most of the families we have spoken to have shared the same reasons why they love SPE and the 4 day school schedule as a major consideration in moving here  I strongly believe  that the changing of the school schedule to a five day week will affect our family negatively. I also believe the incredible growth of our school and community will slow as a result of such a change. Please allow us to retain our 4 day week, at least for the K-7 kids.
Thank you,

Jenna A: 

As parents and educators, we are constantly encouraging our children to think outside the box and look for creative solutions to solve a problem.
We understand the constraints the board faces in regards to ensuring the correct number of instructional hours are met, or respecting the hard work the teachers put in and meeting the requirements or their contracts. 
But surely, there must be a way for us to find creative solutions to ensure that Sun Peaks Elementary does not loose its 4 day school week. It is truly important to the students and parents of the community. I am hoping that with a little bit of outside the box thinking we should be able to make this request come together. 
Thank you so much! 
Jenna A, mother to a grade 2 student, a kindergarten student and a third entering the system for the 21/22 school year.
 Adrien W. & Genevieve A:

We hope that this email finds you well.  Seeing as our daughter is in grade 2 at Sun Peaks Elementary School and that we have a 2-year-old son, we are writing to you in regard to its reconfiguration.

First, let’s begin by mentioning that we totally agree with the proposal presented by the PAC to maintain a 4-day schedule, every week.  We would also like to add a bit of background to better inform our opinion about the PAC’s proposal. Last August, we moved to Sun Peaks from Montreal. In our decision to move across the country, the school and what it had to offer to our child was the main factor. We fell in love with the idea of having a 4 day week for our child, and to provide her with a super active and outdoorsy lifestyle. So far, that decision to move to Sun Peaks has been really rewarding for our family. In fact since the beginning of the school year, our daughter has been blooming. This is in sharp contrast with what we experienced in Montreal. Indeed our daughter went to school five days a week in Montreal, and she was having a lot of difficulties. Although she did fine in school, she refused to go to school every morning, threw huge tantrums about going to school, and it was a constant struggle. To put it plainly, it was a nightmare. She was a very unhappy and anxious child, to the point that we decided to homeschool her for most of grade 1. Then we moved to Sun Peaks, and she really has been thriving in this new environment.  It is also worth mentioning that our daughter was way behind in readings when she started grade 2 last August at Sun Peaks. Her progress has been exceptional so far, and she will most likely catch up by the end of this school year. To put it shortly, the 4-day schedule at Sun Peaks Elementary is not in any way impeding on her learning. It is quite the contrary, and we strongly believe that this schedule helps our child learn in a more effective manner, while allowing her to have a more balanced life. The 4-day schedule has made a tremendous difference in our daughter’s life, and in our family life as well. We can’t imagine going back to a 5-day schedule.

We really hope that the PAC’s proposal will be put forward by the School District.

 Jennifer W:
 

I’ve contemplated wether or not to send this email. You see I was at the board meeting and though there were manny compelling arguments for keeping the 4 days week for Sun Peaks students. I can’t help but feel the decision has already been made. 

 

There is no doubt that the collective Sun Peaks community of parents have a passion for their children’s education. We  can all agree we are both working towards the best possible educational experience. As a parent I’m also working towards the best possible life experience. Yes, reading, writing, math...these skills will aid them in life, but so will nature, activities, learning work/life balance, and practicing techniques to deal with all emotions. My husband and choose this school, this life style as it complements the values we want to instilled in our girls. 

 

I’m a middle class working mother of two girls...one in grade 1, the other 2 years from kindergarten. My husband works as well. We somehow made our dream become reality moving to Sun Peaks, almost 2 years ago. We use this Friday day off for activities or extra days together as a family. With the increasing cases of youth anxiety and depression, we are immersing our girls in nature, creating family experiences and teaching them about work/life balance. I understand there is a school curriculum and hours required. All I ask is that you consider keeping the 4 day week and work with the community of parents at sun peaks in providing the best possible educational experience for our children.

 

Please know I am extremely grateful that the 8 & 9 will be part of school district 73, I just hope it is not at the expense of the 4 day week that clearly are enjoyed by all...students, teachers and parents. 

 Rayne M.

I am 100% for the school adding grade 8 and 9 but I do not like shorter days and school ok Friday.   We love the 4 days and it is why we chose to be up here.  

There is currently only 2 spaces for daycare after school and if school ends at an earlier hour, many students will need care waiting for parents to end work at 4pm.   And there will be no legal choice here on mountain for that many students.   On top of the Friday lessons my kids have come to look forward to and love on fridays would not be possible. I hope that we can keep 4 days a week here at Sun Peaks and that it is seen that 5 days is not easily adapted for here on the mountain.
 Nancy GR:

 Letter: Reconfiguration of Sun Peaks School

 Karen M. 
I have a son in Grade 4 and a daughter entering kindergarten in the fall.
I attended the school board meeting and after listening to the presentation I fully support the name change and addition of the extra grades. Also understand the extra classroom would be suitable down next to the current high school. I support the idea of 4 days a week EVERY WEEK-this would work very well for my family as my husband has to travel for work out of province and can usually only make it home for Friday-Sunday this allows my kids to have quality family time and keep a good balance between school and family. This Friday off also allows my kids to attend extra curricular activities that are not offered on a Saturday or Sunday, also extra time to do extra learning.
 Janna B.
As a parent of two boys in Sun Peaks age 12 and 13 I would like to deeply express my concern with the potential of switching to 5 days a week.  We moved here 4 years ago from Kamloops.  My boys were 8 and 9 at the time and both of them were apprehensive to move to a new community.  Within a few weeks my boys were so happy being here and said "we are never moving!"  to myself and my husband.  In Kamloops my boys liked school but I think with the 5 day a week schedule they would get more exhausted.  Since moving here they have been getting better grades and I notice they are way more engaged in the assignments and what they are learning.  I feel because of the unique outdoor lifestyle and focus on work play balance they are learning better.  Living up here has many challenges when it comes to activities that you would easily have access to if you lived in Kamloops.  Having Fridays off is crucial for my kids to have that access.  We use Fridays to travel to Kamloops for various activities or appointments.  As they will both be in high school as of next school year they are also getting more involved in competing in their snow sports.  With that comes travel through the winter.  Instead of them missing many days of school they don't miss any for their sports.  We are able to attend competitions leaving Thursday after school to be on snow for training Friday.  I worry if it gets switched to 5 days how it would reflect poorly on not only my kids attendance but a huge percentage of the students here as there are so many that compete in snow sports. 
With this unique community comes a unique schedule.  What we have here right now is perfect and reflects our communities needs.  Changing that will be devastating. 
 Janice N.

I am writing to express my support for SD73 to take over the Grade 8 & 9's. 

I am also writing to express my opinion on the school week and how many days it should run. I am sure my situation is quite similar to much of the feedback you have received. A 5 day week would be extremely difficult for my family. We have no access to after school care, there are simply no options for us up here, and after already making a change in career late last year to ensure I could have the flexibility to make a 4 day work week work for our family, making yet another change for us would be less than ideal. 
Please keep the school week to Mon - Thu
Regards,
Dana H. & Janice N.
Parents of a student thriving in Kindergarten at Sun Peaks Elementary (and another child entering school in 2yrs)
 Thomas G:
Since @Kool is a publicly funded part of SD73, why do the grade 8&9 students have to move away from @Kool and go back to a traditional school environment?
Why can’t the K-7’s stay with the current traditional school model and the 8-9’s stay with @Kool?  Since @Kool does not have a mandated number of classroom hours, there would be no concern about having to change the number of school days here in Sun Peaks. Everything here in Sun Peaks would stay the same other than then grade 8&9’s would be part of SD73 @Kool rather than SPES @Kool.
There was a response on the website to this comment that is in accurate stating that:
 
Some staffing resources from @KOOL School are used to support secondary students accessing distributed learning course work. These students do not have SD73 staff on-site to support their educational needs. 
This is not accurate as the 8-12’s do have staffing on site supplied by SD73 as part of our current model.  You currently supply a teacher and the SPES fundraising efforts pays for another.  It appears that the costs to simply assume the current expenses that the SPES fundraises for to cover expense would be of little difference in the costs of taking on the 8-9’s in the traditional model.  It would include taking over the cost of another teacher which will have to happen if the 8 and 9’s become a part of the current Elementary and like wise the cost of another portable.   I also feel the current 2 model system supports our community better as we do not currently have the facilities such as science labs, art rooms etc to support the 8’s and 9’s in the traditional curriculum.  In the current @KOOL model we are able to have more freedom to support the students in a variety of creative ways due to this lack of current facilities and also gear the curriculum towards the interests and lifestyle of the students.  For example the Avalanche Awareness course, going down to other schools and TRU to use science labs , etc.  I fear that we would lose some of these aspects if we go to the traditional model at this time without having adequate facilities.  I also believe the current model provides a good transition to a different way of learning to better prepare students who will be choosing to continue their education in a post secondary setting.
 
I am still in support of SD73 in taking over the upper grades but don’t see why it can’t be done with the 2 current successful models.  We could maintain the current schedule, you could still share staffing resources between the two (and we currently do as we have one teacher who works in both settings).  Then perhaps once we have facilities, an actual brick and mortar building, it may be worth  looking at the traditional model at that time.  I also don’t believe the costs to take over the @KOOL operating costs would be much different then the current proposal.
 
I am in strong support of the 4 day week and felt that the PAC and the Education Society provided a very viable schedule to keep that 4 day week.  If the board decides otherwise then I encourage them to look at the above as a back up option.  The 4 day week is integral for many of us who own our own businesses and those who may work weekends and evenings to be able to have time with our families still.   As well, living in a rural setting we rely on Kamloops for many services to be able to access them and having the Friday off helps us do that with minimal missed school time. It also supports many of the children’s extra curricular activities for a more balanced life whether it is accessing activities in town or travel for competitions.   I also agree that the early dismissal puts the younger kids at risk as they are then able to access the chair lifts still, thus is a huge safety risk in our community.
 
I hope that the board is able to take into considerations everyone’s concerns and that we can find a way to move forward in a positive manner that continues to support the needs of this unique community.
 
Thank you
 
 Maria C:

As full time residents of Sun Peaks for 16 and 22 years, our family would like to thank SD73 for the consideration of incorporating grades 8 and 9 into the Sun Peaks School, and for continuing the special partnership with the Sun Peaks community in supporting the vision of our unique mountain community school. 

 

As founding president of the Sun Peaks Education Society in 2010, It is exciting to see the vision first formed by our original board members, parents and the community to provide a unique community-based education program continue to flourish under the partnership with SD73 and our community.   We believe that our mountain school provides a holistic educational experience for our children , offering a flexible learning environment which embraces academic excellence, a healthy active outdoor lifestyle, community, social responsibility, diversity, and environmental stewardship.

 

Our son, now in grade 10 has thrived in the Sun Peaks school from grade 1 through to the senior grades.  The flexible calendar and programming have allowed us to provide our child with lots of opportunities for a great all round educational and life experience. The healthy outdoor active lifestyle that this school community promotes has been hugely beneficial in the development of our child. 

 

For the high school grades 8-12, a blended learning model using the SD73 @Kool DL program provides students the opportunity of learning through a combination of face to face classroom instruction as well as online learning.  The opportunities for cross enrollment with the major resources that SD73 provides also allows our high school students important access to programs including the trades, music and the arts as well as science labs.  With the proposed plan for SD73 to fully integrate the grades 8/9 into the school in a partially blended classroom program, we are optimistic that the opportunity exists for a flexible calendar and schedule which ensures that all the required instructional time is covered.   

 

When first researching the 4-day school week opportunity back in 2009 by visiting the Big White Community School, the information provided by the Superintendent helped us recognise the benefits of a 4-day calendar which was first adopted by the Sun Peaks school in 2010.  The 4-day vs 5 day a week calendar provides opportunities for more family time, additional activities, music, arts, sports and educational opportunities for our children.  For our son, the slightly longer days were never a concern from grade 1 onwards and he always had lots of energy which we believe is due to the amount of time spent outdoors. 


We believe that Sun Peaks provides the unique opportunity for SD73 to incorporate a Mountain Academy program into the school, incorporating both summer and winter mountain sports and abundant opportunities for outdoor education.   Our family moved to Sun Peaks for the amazing outdoor mountain lifestyle this community offers, and we are happy to see so many other families move here to give their children the opportunity to thrive in this school and our mountain community. 

Regards,

 

Maria Cannon

 Jenel & Clayton M:
I’m writing to voice my families love of our four day school week and what it means to my family. We moved to Sun Peaks over two years ago from the lower mainland to find a work/family  balance with a healthy lifestyle, this is not easily acquired. We fell in love with the community, school and outdoor exercise this small town provides. But it has also provided a balanced lifestyle, teaching our children about mental health and how to create a balance in time between work and personal health is our primary reason for moving here. If you know anyone with a mental illness you will understand what a profound impact positive downtime can create for not only the individual person but for all family members affected by this illness. My family moved here to make this lifestyle a reality but it did not come easily, may personal sacrifices had to be made in order to carry this forward. Please consider my families plea for the four day school week so that we can continue to provide a healthy lifestyle for our children. 

 

 Sun Peaks Resort LLP:
 Letter: Re: Sun Peaks Reconfiguration Consultation
 Sasha and Jason D:

Dear Superintendent

 

We are a family of 5 currently living in Sydney, Australia planning to move to Sun Peaks in July 2021 to commence the 2021/2022 school year. We have 3 school aged children with current ages 8, 7 and 5. Jason is a Canadian citizen, our children are dual citizens of Australia and Canada and, as an Australian, Sasha will enter Canada as a Permanent Resident.  

 

We have become aware of the proposed changes to Sun Peaks Elementary whereby grades 8-9 will be introduced and that to accommodate the change it has been proposed to change from a 4-day school week to a 5-day week. We understand from feedback from the recent school council meeting that 95% of parents are in support of retaining the 4-day school week, as it currently is.

 

We also strongly support a 4-day school week with longer hours, as the school-free Friday enables children to engage in ex-curricular developmental activities such as ski school, and activities they will need to travel to Kamloops to access, such as music (our children play cello and bass guitar) swimming lessons, art classes, gymnastics, and so on. These activities support the development of children’s brain function, social skills, and can encourage confidence, resilience, and self-esteem.

 

May we respectfully suggest that the proposed change from 4 days to 5 be reconsidered and that the School Board find a way to support the additional learning hours for grades 8-9 while also retaining a 4-day week for all students.

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