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School briefs: New grad credit requirement for Central Okanagan students

Indigenous-focused courses in place for 2023-24 school year

Parents are starting to receive notice from secondary schools alerting them to the change in graduation requirements for students in the 2023-24 year.

Starting next fall, all B.C. students working towards their Dogwood graduation diploma will be required to complete a four-credit Indigenous-focus course option.

Central Okanagan Public Schools says there will be multiple courses offered to ensure that all Grade 12 students have the class scheduling opportunity to meet this graduation requirement.

This new course requirement fulfills a Ministry of Education and childcare mandate as part of the provincial government’s commitment to the BC Tripartite Education Agreement.

There is no increase to the number of Dogwood graduation credits, which remain at 80, but the new Indigenous courses also can serve a double purpose to satisfy either English Language Arts 12 or Social Studies 12 (two credits each) requirements.

While the ministry has adopted this new initiative, Central Okanagan Public Schools has been offering Indigenous-related courses already for some time, beginning at Mount Boucherie Secondary and since expanding to other high schools.


The Central Okanagan Board of Education’s introduction to the learning technology services team at its Jan. 11 meeting was timely, given at the same time Okanagan College was in the midst of dealing with a cyber attack that affected students and college services.

Troy White, district principal of learning technology services, said the Okanagan College situation is a reminder of the school system’s dependence on technology, while also praising the commitment of his staff to meet those demands in a secure and equitable fashion.

The department’s visionary goals address deeper learning, digital wellness, privacy and security, intelligent network infrastructure, mobility, and business continuity and sustainability.

Trustees were also introduced to Dave Swystun, manager of learning technology service; Sharon Cairney, digital training and application coordinator for digital support; Grant Hughes, field services coordinator; and Tobias Blaskovits and Tess Perry, teacher technology consultants.


The school board has declared the week of Jan. 22-29 as Family Literacy Week in Central Okanagan public schools.


Sportsmanship and achievement were celebrated with the success of Ecole Okanagan Mission Secondary and Mount Boucherie Secondary senior girls’ volleyball teams at the recent provincial championships hosted by our school district.

OKM won the gold medal in the tournament, while Mount Boucherie won silver after losing a tight match to their cross-district rivals in the final.

On hand for OKM at the board meeting were coaches Rob Steciuk and Paul Berisoff, and players Shea Berisoff, Anna Von Krosigk, Brooke Tombs, Jersey Graves, Kylie Taylor, Mahala Umeris and Tasha Valeriote.

Representing the Mount Boucherie team were coaches Shauna King and Jason Elder, along with team members Marija Josipovic, Sarah Henriksen and Hannah Gray.

Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan Public Schools superintendent/CEO, acknowledged cheering for two local schools in the final was challenging, but he noted the level of sportsmanship and leadership in a competitive event was exemplary.

“I was proud of all who were involved. This is what sports is supposed to be like,” Kaardal said.

He also credited the efforts of Rob Steciuk, who along with coaching OKM also was the lead organizer for the tournament, which resulted in the first championship banner for the school.

The players from both teams expressed similar sentiments about the fun of playing, the camaraderie of their teammates and how the coaches helped create a family atmosphere and support for each other.


The trustees welcomed several new staff recently hired to administrative positions: Vince Hunter, principal of Ecole Okanagan Mission Secondary; Bobbi Hunter, principal, Ecole Glenrosa Middle; Johanne Martinez, program delivery manager, welcome centre; Scott Kocil, homestay coordinator, International Education program; Kirsten Nugent, business process management; and Jason Groetchen, maintenance manager, operations.


Online registration for Kindergarten and new students opens at 7 a.m., Monday, Jan. 30.

Further information on the registration process can be found on the school district website (


For families wanting to learn more about the French Immersion Kindergarten Program, the school district will host an information session via Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m.

The link to the session is located on the school district website under News - French Immersion Kindergarten info.

Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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