Central Okanagan School Briefs: FSA test draws alert from teachers

BCTF advises parents of option to to withdraw students from Foundation Skills Assessment

Central Okanagan School District students will soon be taking the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA), an annual test for Grade 4-7 students. (Black Press file photo)

Central Okanagan School District students will soon be taking the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA), an annual test for Grade 4-7 students. (Black Press file photo)

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is continuing its opposition to provincewide testing of Grade 4-7 students administered the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) in the coming weeks.

BCTF president Teri Mooring reminds parents the FSA is not a required part of the B.C. curriculum, and parents can withdraw their child from taking the test in the case of a family emergency, lengthy illness or other extenuating circumstances.

“B.C. teachers oppose the FSA for two main reasons: It’s not helpful to students, teachers, or families; and it’s making existing inequities worse,” said Mooring in a press release issued Oct. 14.

“Teachers believe the FSA is unreliable, unhelpful, and a distraction from the important learning and authentic individualized assessment happening in your child’s classroom.”

Another controversial aspect of the FSA results is the information is used by the Fraser Institute to post annual rankings on the performance of schools across the province.

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has been supportive of the FSA initiative but questioned why the information is released to the Fraser Institute, where the statistical data is subject to misrepresentation, and not retained as an in-house analysis tool for the ministry of education and school districts.

Last year, the ministry of education also adopted the Framework for Enhanced Student Learning policy, a formalized approach to the planning and expectations for schools with a focus on enhanced student learning and success.

It combines accountability with evidence-informed decision-making and system-wide continuous improvement to support equity of outcomes for all students in the provincial K-12 public system.

At the board of education meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 13, the trustees approved the first annual Enhanced Student Learning Report, presented by assistant superintendent Jon Rever.

The report’s requirements will now replace the annual superintendent’s report to the board of education in June of each school year on student achievement.

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The new slate of district student council representatives for the 2021-22 school year are:

George Elliot Secondary – Rowan Murdain (co-president), Danielle Nielson, Shannon Rowe, Haylie Duff, Amely Wolf

Central School – Issy Bergman

Rutland Secondary – Grace Mallette (co-president), Mehak Parihar, Ramneek Parihar

Kelowna Secondary – Isabella Harmel, Tor Broughton, Zachary Johnson

Mt. Boucherie Secondary – Jaden Ringrose, Taytynm Roffey, Monica Hoffman

Okanagan Mission Secondary – Kera Dail, Selina Kong, Max Steinberg (secretary), Bowen Tan, Winnie-Mingzhi Jian

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Kate Cook is the new human resources manager for Central Okanagan Public Schools.

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Trustee Chantelle Desrosiers was the subject of an interview for a story in the Capital Planner newsletter, which explores perspectives on business and financial management.

Desrosiers spoke to a variety of education-related issues – unique challenges, advantages, operating budget and ministry funding, trends in education and school district response to COVID-19.

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The Administrative Implementation Day held Friday, Oct. 8, offered a strong focus on truth and reconciliation for administrators and school staff teams.

Guest presenters were Kevin Lamoureux, associate vice-president of Indigenous Affairs at the University of Winnipeg, and Anona Fawn Kampe, member of the Penticton Indian Band.

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There will be a professional development day on Friday, Oct. 22, which will see students excused from class.

The theme of this pro-d day for teachers and staff will be Balance: Personal and Professional Equilibrium, with the keynote speaker to be Mary Gordon, an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author and child advocate.

Gordon has created an international children’s charity, Roots of Empathy.

Organized with the assistance of the Central Okanagan Teachers Association, the pro-d day will include 39 different instructional sessions covering a broad range of areas and self-care offerings.

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Upcoming meetings: Wednesday, Oct. 20, finance and audit committee, 4 p.m., and education and student services committee, 6 p.m.; board of education meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.

All meetings will be at the Central Okanagan Public Schools administration office, 1040 Hollywood Rd. South.