The COVID pandemic has taken some of the shine off celebrating milestones reached by long-time employees of the Central Okanagan School District.
Board of education chair Moyra Baxter said tradition called for the board to host a reception for school district staff achieving 10, 20, 30 and 40 year anniversaries of employment.
In lieu of the reception, the board sent certificates and pins to those employees at their worksites.
Baxter said 133 staff have reached the 10-year mark; 45 for 20 years; 26 for 30 years and one for 40 years.
The 40-year individual is deputy superintendent Terry Beaudry, who began in the school district as a teacher before advancing into the administrative side as a principal and then on to the school district head office.
Trustee Julia Fraser was also presented with a certificate at the board of education meeting on Dec. 15 for her 10 years of service as a trustee.
Trustees acknowledged three Central Okanagan educators for winning national awards this year.
On hand at the meeting were award recipients Chantelle Colthorp, recognized for excellence in early childhood education achievement, and James Strachan, honoured with a national certificate of achievement for the 2021 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Colthorp taught Indigenous early education programs for 20 years before branching out to create her own Awasisak Achakos Head Start program out of South Rutland Elementary, a licensed centre providing full-time childcare to 25 children.
She has since taken on a new position to help promote similar programs that she initiated in Kelowna across the province.
Strachan has been a science teacher at Kelowna Senior Secondary for more than 20 years, helping to establish one of only two dual credit engineering programs for high school students in B.C., in conjunction with UBC Okanagan.
Strachan said this year eight students are participating in the dual credit program, with six coming from KSS.
“They are at the top of their class and I am very proud of them,” Strachan said.
One other teacher, Okanagan Mission Secondary music teacher Megan Frederick was also recognized as a recipient of a teaching excellence award as she was unable to attend the school board meeting.
The GaGa Ball Court craze continues as two more schools will add the popular outdoor game to their school grounds – Ecole Peter Greer Elementary and Rutland Elementary.
The courts are provided largely through the fundraising of school parent advisory councils, with labour installation support from the school district.
Gaga is a form of dodgeball that originated in Israel in the 1970s and spread when Israeli counsellors brought the game to summer camps around the world.
Players start in a “pit”, an octagon-shaped court, hitting and rolling the ball with their hand to eliminate other players.
The initial enrollment application period for the 2022-23 school year will be from Jan. 31, 2022, to March 18, followed by the summer enrollment application period from Aug. 30, 2022, to Sept. 1.
School district student placement policy is for priority to be given to English and French Immersion catchment area students, which remains in effect until the closing date of Sept. 1, 2022.
After that date, schools may accept applications from English and French Immersion ‘out-of-catchment’ students, space permitting.
An online enrollment application process will also be made available to parents to avoid the need for them to line up at their school of choice for registration.
Trustee Julia Fraser will serve on the B.C. Public School Employers Association board as the Central Okanagan School District representative and trustee Norah Bowman has been appointed to the B.C. School Trustees Association provincial council.
The next two board of education meetings will be Wednesday, Jan. 12 and Jan. 26, at the school district administration office board room, 6 p.m.
The next planning and facilities committee meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 5, 4 p.m., in the board room. This meeting will bring forward recommendations from school district staff on catchment area and French Immersion program changes for Westside and Okanagan Mission schools.
The committee will ultimately bring forward adopted changes to the trustees at the Jan. 26 board of education meeting for final adoption.