Sept 17th Newsletter

This years first District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) meeting was held on Thursday, September 17.  Here are the highlights:

School Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman welcomed everyone back for the new school year and briefly touched on some topics that she’ll expand on throughout the year.  This includes the new  curriculum, which focuses on core competencies rather than learning outcomes.  Links to the new curriculum are available on the schools website.  The curriculum for grades K-9 will be in place for September of 2016 and for grades 10-12 in September of 2017.  In addition to the new curriculum, there will be new reporting guidelines.  These are currently in early developmental stages so we don’t really know what that will look like yet.  It is hoped that these will be developed and implemented in the fall of 2017 for grades K-9 and in the fall of 2018 for grades 10-12.

The Superintendent also ran through a few facts for us such as summer school enrollment being way up from 2013.  Last year 2131 Middle and Elementary school students enrolled in summer school programs (up 600), most taking enrichment programs. Finally the school board had a surplus last year, adding $945,000 in unrestricted surplus and adding to the current restricted surplus value of 6.9 million dollars.

Clair Guy, assistant Superintendent discussed changes being made to the application process for choice programs (currently called alternative programs) including French Immersion, Fine Arts and Montessori.  This process was last revised in 2001.  Some of the proposed changes include only being able to request 2 programs per student and the addition of online applications.   Applications will also be accepted only 11 months in advance of program start, with the exception of Fine Arts which will be 23 months in advance with students accepted into the FA program being required to go to Kindergarten in their catchment schools.  Consequently wait lists will be only one year.  Lastly intake priority is being changed to accommodate Langley residents first.  Proposed changes are set to be taken before the board in Dec with new applications to come out in 2016/2017 for the 2017/2018 school year.

This months Trustee Report included an invitation to check out the new district website!  https://www.sd35.bc.ca  Trustees are currently working on a 4 year plan for the district which will be presented in the spring.  There is still no word on when work will begin for the new building at LSS.

The final speaker of the night was former trustee Cecelia Reekie who discussed Orange Shirt Day which is coming up on September 30.  For those of you who don’t know, Orange Shirt Day was started in 2013 in support of Residential School Survivors.

Cecelia shared her some of her fathers story with us and was an engaging and moving speaker.

The first Residential Schools in Canada were opened in 1830.  Their purpose was to remove Aboriginal children from the influences of their parents and culture in order to “civilize” them.  The last residential school in Canada didn’t close its doors until 1996!  That was less that 20 years ago! Over 150,000 children were taken to Residential Schools.  6000 never made it home.  80,000 Residential School Survivors are still alive today.

Your children may come home and mention Orange Shirt Day, or the Truth and Reconciliation process in the next little while. We encourage you to participate and have your child participate in this awesome healing process.  #everychildmatters

Last but not least please check out the Langley DPAC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LangleyDPAC and “like” it to keep up to date on whats happening in the district!

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to email either of us at hdsms.dpac@gmail.com and we will do our best to get you answers or direct you to the people who can.

Hope to see you on October 14 at our next HDSMS PAC meeting!

Thanks for reading!

Rebecca Smith and Jennifer Parsons

your DPAC Reps