Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday September 15, 2023

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

As students, parents, and staff are settling into school routines, we are enjoying nurturing relationships/connections and focusing on academics and wellbeing, which are key priorities in the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan.

Aberdeen Elementary School

Principal Carol DeFehr and Vice Principal Kristen Crawford and I met to review the school learning plan and to visit classrooms. In the District Strategic Plan, every student is to become literate and numerate and to develop competencies that enable them to thrive in school and in life (Intellectual Development Priority). In Aberdeen, staff are dedicated to ensuring that students continually grow as readers and writers, and as problem solvers in mathematics.

In Ms. Clark’s Gr. 3-4 class, students were creating “mind maps” to show who they are inside while also drawing what they looked like on the outside. These drawings were “identity posters”. This exercise develops multi-literacies (communication in words and pictures), and it helps children to share who they are with others. Ms. Clark explained, “When children share these posters in their classroom, they will have a greater sense of belonging (Human and Social Development Priority).” As we continued on our visits, Mr. Michel (Aboriginal Education Worker) described how developing a sense of belonging in a school community is foundational. He shared, “The time getting to know the students is why they feel connected to me in my role as an Aboriginal Education Worker. It is so important.”

Ms. Hatch’s Kindergarten class was playing in stations (building, reading, listening, cooperating to solve puzzles). The children happily shared what they were doing as we walked and talked with them. Ms. Marican’s Montessori Year 1-2-3 students were engaged in self-directed, leveled activities (spelling, writing, problem solving). Ms. Marican shared, “We are preparing for the International Day of Peace on September 21st. This year, students selected European countries to study in order to gain a global understanding of certain regions and what they wished for with respect to each country.” We went outside and Mr. Hine’s Gr. 6 class was playing “seeker”, a game where they collaborate and use non-verbal symbols to communicate and move spots in a circle. The students said, “We decided to use clapping instead of talking. It is so fun!” Finally, Ms. Salewich’s Montessori Kindergarten class had been participating in “Dot Day”, which is based on a picture book by Peter H. Reynolds’, “The Dot”. Vashti learned the power of imagining how to work from a dot and to build pictures on the page.

Terry Fox Run

Terry Fox is known as someone whose persistence enabled him to overcome barriers and to succeed at achieving his dream of running across Canada to raise funds for cancer research. This week and next week, students are learning about Terry’s story and running “The Terry Fox Run”. On Friday, September 15, 2023, 422 Kindergarten to Grade 7 McGowan Park Elementary students participated in the annual Terry Fox Run. This week, students brought in toonies for Terry and were able to raise over $1,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation. Ms. Abraham's grade 3 class helped to organize this year's event, setting up the pylons for the route and promoting the fundraising initiatives in and around the school. All Kindergarten to Grade 7 students have been learning about Terry Fox and the significance of this annual run. This year's run began with the whole school assembling in the gym to hear Ms. Abraham's class sing a song about Terry and watch a short video in remembrance of this Canadian hero. They then lead the school in a warm-up before starting out on the run. The McGowan Park spirit shone this day as the students enjoyed running for a great cause.

Student and Family Affordability Fund

In the 2022-2023 school year, SD73 families benefitted from accessing $760,237 of the $1,656,000 Student and Family Affordability Fund provided by the Ministry of Education and Child Care for food and fees for courses, school supplies, activities, athletics, and field trips. This year, the School District carried forward $746,000 of the Student and Family Affordability Fund to support families with school fees. These remaining funds are available to assist students and families with school fees. Read more.

Feeding Futures Fund

On April 4, 2023, the Ministry of Education and Child Care announced the new Feeding Futures funding. This fund invests in building and expanding local school food programs and is meant to build on the progress made with the Student and Family Affordability Fund to address the immediate need of feeding students. The Feeding Futures Fund will increase food security for SD73 students through the expansion or creation of school snack and meal programs. Read more. To learn more about how to access this fund, if you are a parent or student, please see your school administration. If you are a community partner who would like to be involved at a district level, please contact Michelle Mattes at:

Drive-Thru Breakfast in Support of Starfish Backpacks - Kamloops Food Bank

Partnership is a goal that is woven throughout all priorities in the District Strategic Plan. Today was the “Drive-Thru Breakfast kick-off event” organized by the Kamloops Food Bank in partnership with the local community including SD73 staff. This event helps to raise money for the Starfish Backpack program, which helps to ensure that families who need food for the days that they are not at school are provided with food. Thank you to everyone who took part.

District Parent Advisory Council 

We value the important relationships that we have with parents in our school communities. This week, each school’s Parent Advisory Council will have received a letter to welcome parents back to school and to introduce you to DPAC (District Parent Advisory Council). This council represents the parent voice for 16,000+ students’ families. Read more.

We have had a wonderful beginning to the 2023-2024 school year, and we look forward to continuing to learn and work together to thrive. Enjoy your weekend!


Rhonda Nixon, PhD


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