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Superintendent's Year End Message

Dear Parents / Guardians,

It is difficult to close out this school year with the usual year in review and acknowledgments. “These are challenging times” has been heard over and over again in the media and in day to day conversations. Regardless, these times have indeed been challenging -  hardly a usual year. Every student has faced a significant shift and interruptions to their last three months of learning. Important celebrations and rites of passage marking key transitions in our system, and the typical gatherings and social connections that we make through these events, have been marred. Many students, families, and staff have also faced very challenging personal circumstances through this time. For all of these interruptions and impacts, I am sorry for each of you. 

The usual acknowledgments are also not adequate under these conditions. Though the last few months have looked very different for all in our educational family, I would like to acknowledge just how amazingly well everyone has adapted and responded. Our school district was among the first to respond to the needs of Essential Service Workers by providing daily care for their children despite being in Stage 4 of the provincial K to 12 Plan where all in-class instruction was suspended. As well, with the support of many generous community partners, we were able to support community food security by providing hundreds of meals per day and thousands over the course of the past three months. Over 1200 chromebooks and other wifi enabled devices were set up and lent out to SD48 students for use at home. Over 800 employees turned on a dime to learn new job duties and expectations and to create and shape a new way of being for our students and families, and for each other. And, all of you, the 5000 students and families of SD48 navigated these new conditions and rose to the learning and scheduling challenges in front of you. Important graduation ceremonies were organized and will remain as historical symbols of this time.  I am deeply proud to be a part of this community and school district who rise to every occasion to pull together and support each other through adversity. Thank you everyone.

Other notable changes over this school year include the full implementation of BC’s revised K to 12 curriculum. Provincial exams are now a thing of the past, replaced by graduation assessments in literacy and numeracy. Our refreshed SD48 Pathways to Learning Education Plan was launched and the work is moving forward to unpack diversity as a strength in every setting, inclusion as a right of all people and children, and personalization as our way forward in a socially just and academically excellent manner. SD48 district and school websites have a fresh new look and layout and we trust that you will find it easier to find the important information that you need. New student digital portfolios - the MAP (My Action Plan) - were launched this year. Our students will reflect over time on their learning and use their MAP as a tool to demonstrate growth in and self-assessment of the core competencies.

As the summer proceeds, please take some time to reflect on the accomplishments of your student and how far they have come in such a short time. The SD48 Online Learning Menu will remain open during the summer months in case your K-9 student is looking for some learning activities in Literacy, Numeracy, or a project. This site was created by teachers so that students can engage in additional evidence based learning opportunities and is optional for students.
 
Over the summer, we will continue working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer to ensure a safe return to school following the K-12 Education Restart Plan. The Plan includes a five-stage return to full in-class instruction in K-12 schools, guided by strict health and safety standards. The five-stage approach supports school districts in providing ongoing learning opportunities while lowering the risk of transmission of COVID-19. We expect to see some minor adjustments to the outline of these stages over the next month. The strategies and actions within the staged plan:
•        are supported by COVID-19 research and evidence;
•        are informed by practices in other jurisdictions planning and returning to in-class instruction;
•        can expand and contract to align with government pandemic management measures and orders; and,
•        can be applied provincially, regionally and/or locally.

Whether the plan expands or contracts, SD48 Staff will prepare over the summer to ensure that we are ready for your student’s return. At present, we have been asked to prepare for Stage One which is a complete return to in-class instruction for all students. We have also been advised of the possibility of a Stage Two or Stage Three start up. Regardless of the stage at which we return in September, it is expected that all students will attend school in the fall and that all students and families should make plans to be ready for that return. The Ministry of Education intends to have clear information outlined by mid-August. At that time, I will reach out to each of you with the new information to help you know what to expect.

In the meantime, I would again like to extend gratitude for all you have done to support our community over this time. Everyone has made an important difference in their own way. Congratulations once again to our graduating Class of 2020! And, parents, thank you for sharing your amazing, fun, and resilient children with us. They are the light in our community and will continue to lead us into a bright future.

I wish you all a safe and restful summer break and we look forward to welcoming your student back to a new year of learning in all School District No.48 schools in September.
 
Sincerely,
Lisa McCullough
Superintendent of Schools