Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday September 29, 2023

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

Thank you for making September a wonderful school start up. We have focused on routines, making friends, studying, learning, and well-being activities. Our mission is to provide learning opportunities and environments that inspire students to thrive, and we saw many examples as we started this school year.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In SD73, we acknowledged this past week as Truth and Reconciliation week (September 25-29). On Monday, September 25 at the Regular Public Board Meeting, Assistant Superintendent Mochikas, District Principal Bowden, and NorKam Senior Secondary Student Dakota Kelm, co-presented on the importance of learning about Indigenous ways and knowing and being from students who came together from multiple districts at the Indigenous Student Summit (Student Summit video). District Principal Bowden shared a wooden sign with the land acknowledgement that will be made for every school and district facility. As I visited schools this week, each one shared how students and staff engaged in learning about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which honours the children who never returned home, and survivors of residential school, day schools, and the 60s scoop and those impacted. Read more.

National Ribbon Skirt Day

On September 29, 2023, in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, students at Haldane Elementary and Chase Secondary Schools were wearing their orange shirts to signify their knowledge of Phyllis Webstad’s story of being made to change her new orange shirt because the shirt represented her Aboriginal history and cultural background. Also on this day, staff and students had the pleasure of meeting the Kulak family from Saskatchewan and hearing their inspiring journey which has led to National Ribbon Skirt Day. Read more.

Parkcrest Elementary School

Principal Gorman and I walked class to class and enjoyed the rich learning. Ms. Stuckey’s K-1 class was learning about each other (pets, interests) and then clapped words in sentences and counted words. Ms. Whitmore’s Gr. 1 class was sorting letters and Ms. Girodat’s students were engaged in “dancing” and “rapping” letters and students looked forward to their first  lunchtime art class. Ms. Quast’s Gr. 2 students were reading “Interrupting Chicken” and shared their experiences of the Terry Fox run while Ms. Whalen’s Gr. 3-4 class brainstormed powerful words about Terry Fox. Ms. Tondevold’s students studied fractions and other classes (Ms. Kicia’s Gr. 4-5s, Ms. McDaniel’s Gr. 5-6s) also focused on learning about Terry Fox. Ms. Erichuk’s Gr. 5-6 students were making squares as collaborative team building and problem solving. Ms. Shantz’s Gr. 6 class were playing crib to learn about addition and completing the Non-fiction reading assessment.

Arthur Stevenson Elementary

Principal Farquhar and Vice Principal Clare started our conversation by seeing how the children were using their newly developed posters to teach the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which are central to the District Strategic Plan. The posters have images that were taken by Ms. Clare of areas in the Kamloops-Thompson area, and each teaching is defined in kid-friendly language. We visited Mr. Kicia’s Gr. 6-7 classroom, where they were reviewing steps for a lockdown drill, and Mr. Roszmann’s Gr. 6-7 class was reviewing non-traditional games. Ms. Horne’s Gr. 5-6 class was reading “mentor sentences” and identifying the punctuation, upper and lower case letters, and spellings of words to explain why they were correct or incorrect and then they corrected them. Ms. Cruz’s Gr. 4-5 class was engaged in a read aloud, “Every Child Matters”. As we turned to go down the primary wing, we stopped to admire the staff pictures with staff names to make it easy for students and parents to know who they are, and they had an inviting title – We’re Glad You’re Here. As we continued, Mr. Dhaliwal’s Gr. 3 class was writing and conferencing with him, and Ms. McLean’s Gr. 2 class was preparing to go to the library. Ms. Zelisko’s Gr. 1-2 class was playing with lego mazes and making sand castles. When we left, the whole class said, “Kukwstsém” or “Thank you” in Secwepemctsín. Ms. Hawking’s and Ms. Head’s K-1 classes were both preparing for the end of the day and some were putting together puzzles.

United Way Campaign Kickoff Sunrise Breakfast - September 26, 2023

SD73 Board of Trustees and staff had two tables to support the United Way kick-off breakfast. The donations from the breakfast went to BC Wildfire recovery, a very worthy cause to support our families and those in surrounding communities who have been struggling with the tragic losses in the recent wildfires.

Leadership Development Program - September 26, 2023

We had a wonderful first night with Leadership Development candidates, some who are in their first year and others in their second year. They met and introduced each other, and Assistant Superintendent Hamblett, Mochikas, Reilly, and I enjoyed sharing introductions about our inspirations for starting leadership journeys in education.

CUPE Open House - September 27, 2023

Secretary Treasurer Cassidy and I visited the new location for CUPE Local 3500. We enjoyed meeting staff and seeing their new space where they can hold meetings and serve employees’ needs. Thank you for inviting us, President Dawn Armstrong.

Street School Open House - September 28, 2023

Thank you to Principal Johnson, Mr. Karpuk, Ms. Dabner, Ms. Holmes, Ms. Hilton, and Ms. Kennedy for supporting the students and hosting staff to see the programming in action. We appreciate that you make the atmosphere inviting and that you offer flexibility in programming with a variety of options for students 18 years and older to complete their schooling.

It has been a vibrant September, with so much to be proud of for the start up of the school year. Thank you for your investment in our students and each other, which has highlighted how relationships/connections, wellbeing, equity, and sustainability were lived core value commitments in our district.

Enjoy your long weekend with your family, friends, and pets.


Rhonda Nixon, PhD



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