Trustee reports on the end of another school year

The school district passed its 2011- 2012 budget with no fanfare or opposition mainly due to the fact a balance budget was easy to obtain because of the school board making all those difficult decisions last year with reconfiguration

It’s been a while since I last reported to Barriere/Little Fort and area, so here’s an update.

Again, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Barriere grads as well as all the 2011 grads from across the school district. I wish everyone great success in their future endeavours.

The school district passed its 2011- 2012 budget with no fanfare or opposition mainly due to the fact a balance budget was easy to obtain because of the school board making all those difficult decisions last year with reconfiguration. Very few people attended the public budget meeting across the district. A few layoffs may take place if the numbers of students are still down in September, but usually families arrive over the summer and then we need to hire those people back.

Coming up in the school district is all of the Graduation Ceremonies, the District Honours Reception, the KTTA retirement banquet, the KTPVPA retirement banquet, the First Nations Grad, and year-end assemblies, fun days, awards days at all the schools in the district. I will be attending most of these events like I do every year.

This school year was a busy one for me, because I am on many school district committees and I volunteer as well.

Policy Committee and Technology Policy Committee, Finance and Planning Committee, District Social Responsibility Committee, District School Planning Committee, Conference Planning Committee, First Nations Education Council, and First Nations Advisory Committee. As well I have four schools at seven different sites to visit, and three grads to attend. I attend all of the employee retirement banquets. I attend PAC meetings, assemblies, plays, concerts and any other school functions that I am invited to at schools. I attend the BCSTA Academy in December and the BCSTA AGM in April every year. I attend the Thompson Okanagan Branch meetings twice a year with my fellow trustees; these meetings are hosted by the different school districts in the Thompson Okanagan region. Also the Board of Education meets with our local MLAs and MP and our partner groups; TRU, City of Kamloops, KTPVPA, KTTA, CUPE, District or Town Councils, TNRD, DPAC and others. As trustee I’m invited at attend many other school district functions as well as community functions.

In Barriere, I am on these committees; Aboriginal Success by 6 Community Table, the Barriere Early Years Community Table (known as Success by 6), Barriere Community Consultant Group, and Lower North Thompson Valley Learning and Literacy Task Force Committee.

Our board meets twice a month and travels away from the board office in Kamloops four times a year to hold meetings in each of the rural areas, Clearwater, Barriere, Chase and Logan Lake. We do this so that PACs and other community members can attend a school board meeting in their own community. One of the highlights for me was holding our board meeting at the Brennan Creek School. For some trustees this was the first time seeing this unique school in one of the most beautiful areas of our Province.

Every board meeting we have a section on the agenda called Education Topic. This is when we invite a school to present what they are doing in their school or students, who have participated in things like Young Artists, Heritage Fair, District Strings, etc, to present to the board. For me this is one of the most enjoyable parts of trusteeship, to see the students presenting what they are doing in their schools as part of the curriculum or as an enhancement to their school education.

All in all, over the almost nine years of being Barriere’s trustee I have enjoyed my time and have learned so much about the education system and trusteeship in our province. As one member of a nine-member board I have learn to work with my fellow trustees to make educational sound decisions on behalf of students. All my positive experiences have over shadowed the few negative times or people that I have had to deal with. I am so grateful that most everyone is content and happy with our education system, which is one of the best in the world with the Kamloops/Thompson School District one of the best districts in the province. I can honestly say that our district has the best superintendent in B.C., the best EOC staff, trustees, board office staff, district staff, principals, vice principals, teachers and support staff in the BC. We have great parents and community volunteers who partner with us in our schools on PACs, Grad committees, coaching or refereeing or doing all the other volunteering that benefits our schools. But most of all, we have wonderful and talented students across this district to help nurture and educate for our future.

To those staff members who may be leaving Barriere schools, thank you for your years of teaching here and good luck at your new assignments. I wish everyone a fun and relaxing summer.

– Submitted by Joanne Stokes, school trustee for Barriere/Little Fort Area.