BY ANDREA SINCLAIR
BC Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC)
WE are just a few weeks into 2020 but already halfway through our school year. We are past the trepidation and excitement of school start-up yet too soon to be thinking about year-end. For me it brings to mind the great many innovative initiatives and examples of student leadership which deserve more attention.
Big Lake Elementary in Williams Lake (SD27) is a Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation wild school. Outdoor education is an intricate part of the teaching; staff and students can be seen outdoors snowshoeing and writing in nature journals. During the winter, students learn how animals use the snow for protection from the harsh elements and what we can learn from them.
In Cowichan Valley (SD79) students were asked to design their own physical space, and direct the learning throughout the year. It’s part of their Challenged Based Classrooms which extend inquiry learning and ground it in real-world problems.
At Canyon List Elementary in Creston (SD8) they host “Community Helpers at Breakfast” where guests visit during the breakfast program time; guests sit with students and have informal conversations about their role and how they help people.
In Mission (SD75) more than 120 students from 12 schools are determined to save the Halq’eméylem language from extinction; the language of the Sto:lo people has only one fluent speaker. K-12 students hold a contest challenging participants to tell stories using Halq’emeylem words and phrases.
Leadership 11-12 students from Gleneagle Secondary (SD43) organized a Green Fair — 500+ students attended — to raise awareness of climate change and encourage participation in sustainability projects. Similar activities are taking place at the annual White Sturgeon Release Day. Over 400 students from the Nechko Lakes (SD91) placed 500 young sturgeon into the river to help re-establish a fish currently on the endangered list.
Prince Rupert Middle School students (SD52) worked with the Northern Adapted Sports Association to promote the participation of people with disabilities in sports; students spent time in a wheelchair to learn more about adaptive sports. Similarly students from Duncan Cran Elementary and North Peace Secondary (SD60) participated in a Light Touch Switch build-a-thon in Fort St. John. The district is partnering with Makers Making Change to help build assistive technologies for people with disabilities.
At Walter Lee Elementary in Richmond (SD38) students contacted armed forces members who are serving our country during the holiday season to tell them how much their service is appreciated while also practising communication skills.
These are just a few of the many wonderful initiatives occurring in public education across the province. I believe the students at Walter Lee have demonstrated that we need to thank those who are doing exemplary work on a daily basis for the education and benefit of our children. We should be extremely proud and should celebrate the innovation and opportunities for enhanced student success in public schools.
Therefore, I want to thank each and every teacher, support staff member and administrator for all their efforts. You are the reason why parents/guardians are so willing to support and get involved in school and district Parent Advisory Committees which are a vital component of public education.
We know that due to the efforts of all who work with our children we are graduating students who are showing success in their integrity, in their conduct, and in their academics. To all who teach or support our children, please know you are truly appreciated.
Andrea Sinclair is a mom of two high school children in Vancouver and is President of the BC Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC)