School days will be lost

Parents of school-aged children in School District 72 (SD72) will have to find something for their kids to do during one extra day and two extra afternoons in the spring.

SD72 Superintendent Tom Longridge told the Board of Trustees at this week’s public meeting that on Sept. 28, Minister of Education Minister Mike Bernier and BC Teachers Federation President Jim Iker, “announced a three year support plan to help teachers deliver the new curriculum efficiently and effectively in the classroom.

“What was given at that time is that there were days expected to be added to the calendar but taken out of the instructional time for this year, in the amount of 10 hours, which is the potential equivalent of two days.”

Longridge said he consulted with the district’s Calendar Committee, which included district PAC members, students themselves, principals, vice-principals, support staff and senior management, and determined that those two days would be best split into one full day and two half days.

Feb. 22 is the full day of instruction that will be lost, followed by half-days on Friday, March 11 and Friday, April 22, which will see kids leave school at their lunch break to give teachers the afternoon for curriculum implementation work.

To make the professional development meaningful, Longridge said, it was determined to be best to separate it into one full day for instructors to fully immerse themselves in the curriculum work and then follow that day with two other opportunities to revisit the progress of the implementation.

A new school calendar for 2015/2016 reflecting these additional non-instructional days, as well as the bus pickup times for the half-days on March 11 and April 22 has been posted to the school district website as well as at each school’s website, and will also go out directly to all parents in the district, “to make sure they have ample planning time to accommodate what was probably a bit of a surprise,” Longridge said.