To North Okanagan-Shuswap School District Community Members:
I am pleased to share with you my final Staying Connected Bulletin as the Official Trustee for School District No. 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap. For me, the last 2 ½ years have gone by very quickly and productively as the district and its communities addressed many complex issues. I have appreciated the open and honest engagement with partner groups – through the Partner Group Table – as well as connections with our local MLA, representatives of local governments and parents and staff who have shared their perspectives.
There have been many individuals and groups contributing effort and skill to support an ambitious agenda. During my time as Official Trustee, we have acted on the recommendations of the Watson Report in all of its complexity. That focus has led to the development of a well laid out Strategic Plan, many new policy initiatives, greater transparency and collaboration in budgeting and resourcing decisions, and more effective communications tools and strategies.
I believe we can confidently say that the district’s “students first” commitment, as articulated in the Strategic Plan, has become a central touchstone in all our processes and decisions. Of course there is always more work to do, but the evidence of improved student achievement is encouraging. We are on the right track.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit South Canoe Elementary to see how the re-opening of that school has created an Outdoor Education Program that is already attracting positive attention provincially and beyond. I am thankful for the passion of the educators who developed such a compelling vision and then launched an equally impressive implementation plan. Across the district, there are many examples of programs and services meeting the needs of our diverse population. With increased student enrolment numbers and the related funding, there will be more opportunities in the future for other new initiatives to be resourced in a sustainable and responsible manner. These are exciting times!
My best wishes to the trustee candidates who will form the school district’s new Board of Education, as of November 15, when they are sworn into office. The new board and its senior staff will continue to shape the education narrative and actions throughout the school district. It is some of the most important work done in any society.
It has been my honour to serve the school district and its communities since 2016. Thank you for your support, your ideas and your challenges during my term in office. You have helped to shape better decisions as a result of your engagement and your trust.
Mike McKay, Official Trustee