SD78 board meeting: Careers program grows

Also: Board to track their attendance for transparency, CE Barry running track goes ahead

Highlights from Fraser-Cascade School District (SD78) board meeting Jan. 16 at the district office in Hope

Careers in Transition growing apace

Students across SD78 get the chance to try out coding, cooking, oil and gas operations and more before they graduate from high school.

The careers in transition program has grown since it began two years ago, district vice-principal Karl Koslowsky told the school board.

Since 2015, 48 high school students from Agassiz, Hope and Boston Bar have gone through the programs; 42 in trades and six in trades-related fields. Trades programs are the first step towards red-seal trades like welding. Trades-related include architectural drafting, hospitality and event planning.

The students in these programs get both high school and university credits and their tuition is sponsored.

Koslowsky said there are a number of try-a-trades field trips and programs to help students decide whether they want to enter these streams. Upcoming try-a-trades include culinary, coding, a heavy metal rocks camp and a tour to northern B.C.

“Two from Agassiz, their decision to be a part of the program actually solidified when they came up North with me last year,” he said.

“So that’s where some of these try-a-trades, or actually all of these try-a-trades, help to open up that conversation, that understanding and that vision of where do I see myself, where can I go and what risks should I take and put myself a little bit outside of my comfort zone.”

Koslowsky said new partnerships were in the works: Kwantlen Polytechnic University trades programs, Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek for specialized trades including wind turbine technician and the University of the Fraser Valley in both health and human services and community support worker programs.

“They (KPU) also offer one in farriery, equestrian, which is a unique one. But with Langley being the horse capital of Canada, and there’s a number of riding stables around here as well, could be something that someone is interested in.”

Board seeks transparency

The board moved one step closer to adopting a bylaw to track trustee attendance and post it publicly.

Trustee Ron Johnstone said the idea came from a report on School District 83, North Okanagan Shuswap. The entire SD83 board was fired in 2016 after public concerns around board spending and loss of public confidence.

Tracking trustee attendance was a measure recommended in the report.

“They came up with recommendations to try to help future boards. One of the recommendations was transparency and I hear that brought up a lot around this table,” Johnstone said.

Trustee Rose Tustian asked why this recommendation specifically was being brought forward. She was asked by board chair Linda Kerr to curtail her remarks.

Johnstone recommended to add into the bylaw that attendance for each trustee be tracked and posted on the school district website.

The board voted unanimously to include the addition and the bylaw will go forward for a third reading before being passed.

Hope running track going forward

Trustees voted in favour of moving ahead with the building of a track at CE Barry School grounds.

Doug Templeton, director of facilities and transportation, said the track will cost between $20,000 to $30,000. The board decided to go with a four metre track, to be made from a form of pressure dust.

“It’s not an official track, but it’s the kind of stuff that I’ve been putting in for years that seems to meet the need and runners seem to be quite happy with this type of track,” Templeton said.

Adding benches and power and concrete curbs would not be included. Washroom facilities will be in the space which used to house the school’s music room.

“I thought it was dead in the water when the grant didn’t go through,” trustee Heather Stewin said, after a $100,000 grant application by community members was unsuccessful.

Trustee John Koopman noted the project could pay for itself, as the location has been used for a film shoot twice already.

 

Grade 10 to 12 students from Agassiz and Hope check out an oil pumping platform at the Northern Lights College campus in Fort St. John, part of the Northern Opportunities tour. (Karl Koslowsky photo)

Rendering of a running track to be constructed at the CE Barry grounds. The track construction was approved by the SD78 school board Jan. 14, the board voted to make the track four metres not three as indicated on the image. (SD78 image)

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