Flag Half-Masting - In Recognition of the Kamloops Tragedy

In recognition of the discovery of at least 215 Indigenous children buried at a former residential school near Kamloops, all Canada and BC flags will be lowered to half-mast until Mon July 12, 2021.

Saanich Schools Virtual Graduation Ceremonies 2021

The Saanich School District, in association with Roll Focus, and Shaw Cable, is proud to announce the viewing dates for the upcoming Virtual Graduation Ceremonies, celebrating the achievements of our Class of 2021.   To acknowledge this important milestone, Saanich Schools will be hosting the release of the video ceremonies... please click through to find the dates and times.

From the Superintendent – Year-end Message to Parents/Guardians (June 23, 2021)

Dear Parents/Guardians,

First and foremost I want to say THANK YOU.  We are so fortunate here in Saanich to have a supportive parent and guardian community.  We have traversed the pandemic in large part due to the teamwork between home and school.   Thank you for your collaboration, patience and understanding as we worked through the challenges of the pandemic together.  I have heard from many schools about the support from their PAC, the spirit of generosity from parents in general and the feeling that we are together in this journey.  So, thank you.

THE PANDEMIC AND NEXT YEAR

There hasn’t been a year like this in my 33-year public education career.  Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has been both an enormous challenge, but also a time of celebration for how we forged creative new ideas in meeting the needs of students and families.  I am proud of our teachers, administrators, support staff and district office staff for their individual and collective efforts to meet this year’s challenges -- finding solutions to unique situations that popped up over these past 16 months.

On June 17th the provincial government announced that we can expect to return to full-time in-class learning in September.  And while specifics around health protocols will be confirmed later in the summer, they did announce that students will no longer be grouped into cohorts which will allow for normal timetabling in our schools.  We expect that things like assemblies, extracurricular activities and school sports will return this fall.  Specifics on things like mask-wearing, community gatherings and other health-related items will be confirmed sometime in late August.  The June 17th provincial media release can be found here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EDUC0044-001180.  Island Health has asked us to remind families of the opportunity to have youth between the ages of 12-17 vaccinated this summer.  You can find more information on the Island Health COVID-19 Vaccine website

The Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, Education Minister, has written a year-end letter to all parents/guardians which you can find here: Minister Whiteside letter

Keep an eye on your email for any additional announcements about school opening from the district as we approach the end of August.

A TIME TO REMEMBER

As we head towards a summer of relaxing and recharging I also feel it is important for me to take a few moments on another topic.

As a society, we have had recent reminders of our collective need to battle intolerance and racism – to find a path forward where there is respect for everyone regardless of the colour of their skin, how they worship, their gender identity or whom they love.  We have seen a number of social movements rise up this past year against bigotry – things like Black Lives Matter and the Anti-Asian Hate campaigns.  Most recently there has been an outcry against the deaths of 4 people in Ontario who were struck down on a street corner simply because they were Muslim.  As a country, we still have much work to do to combat these intolerances and injustices.

215 – Kamloops Indian Residential School

The discovery of at least 215 children’s graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School has been a stark reminder to all of us that our entire country has a past that is shameful and fraught with pain and suffering.   As a school district, we have a moral responsibility to not only remember this tragedy but to continue to find ways to teach about its history and its effects on Indigenous peoples across this land.  Our schools have held a number of ceremonies, tributes and actions in the days and weeks since the revelation that have been tremendously emotional and moving.  I recently posted a blog on my thoughts about the national tragedy of residential schools -- if you are interested in reading it, you can find it here: THE SHAMEFUL HISTORY OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

Our collective, moral responsibility as an educational organization is to leverage these tragic reminders into actions that make a difference in our schools, our community and beyond.  Here in Saanich, we will continue in our efforts to bring awareness and action on the topics of intolerance and racism in the months and years ahead.

YEAR-END REFLECTIONS

My year-end reflections on this most tumultuous year can be found in my last blog post – I hope that you can find a few minutes to read it.  I have penned this one around my favourite theme of Star Wars as well as including something quite personal at the end: 2021 YEAR-END REFLECTIONS: THE SCHOOL YEAR, STAR WARS & MY DAD

Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer filled with relaxation and rejuvenation,

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

Spare Room? Become a Homestay Family!

Saanich International Student Program (SISP) is in need of host families for international students joining our district in September 2021. Make life-long friendships, receive a generous allowance of $975 per month to offset expenses and share the beauty of your home and community. 

*SISP is following all guidelines and requirements set by the Federal and Provincial Government regarding COVID-19.  Extensive safety protocols are in place.* 

Registration for September 2021

Starting February 1st, 2021 Registration for Middle (Grades 6-8) and Secondary (Grades 9-12) levels will take place at the schools.  Please visit the  Registration page for information on how to register students in Kindergarten to Grade 5.  

We look forward to welcoming you to Saanich!

Annual General Meetings

The Annual General Meetings for the School District 63 Business Company and its two subsidiary companies, Saanich International Student Recruiting Services Inc. and Saanich International Distributed Learning Services Inc., will be held on Wednesday, August 25th, 2021 at 4:00 pm at School District 63 School Board Office, 2125 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton, B.C.

Message to Parents/Guardians - Unseasonably Warm Temperatures (June 27 2021)

Good afternoon parents and guardians,

We know that this unseasonable ‘heat dome’ in BC has created some concern about school temperatures as we head into the last 2 days of school.  I want to take a few minutes to share with you what we are doing so that you can make an informed decision about whether you will be sending your children to school on Monday.

All of our schools have HVAC systems which circulate the air in the buildings, however, they do not have chilling capabilities.  In anticipation of this heat we are utilizing this air circulation to have a complete exchange of air to bring early morning air into our buildings.  To keep the air temperature as low as possible we are reminding staff to keep windows and blinds closed so that the warmer exterior air is not drawn into the building.  This should allow for the interior to be several degrees cooler than outside, however, it will definitely be warmer than usual in our schools.  Activities may be adjusted to ensure that children stay as cool as possible. 

Please consider packing a water bottle for your children and snacks that have a liquid component (e.g. oranges).  It is important that they stay hydrated.  The BCCDC has additional information on warm weather safety during the pandemic – you can find this information HERE.

However, if you feel that it is best for you to keep your children at home on Monday due to the anticipated warm temperatures please do so. 

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this most unusual school year.

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

Family Communication System Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We believe timely and clear communication is an important part of our relationship with families.  To date, district communication home has been through the provincial student information database emails, however, we are beginning the process of transitioning to a new tool that will be more effective in communicating with you.  The new platform is called School Messenger.   School Messenger is used by many school districts across BC to effectively communicate with parents and guardians – especially for critical announcements such as weather closures or school lockdowns.  One of its advantages is its ability to use text, email or phone calls to contact parents.

To ensure that the rollout of this new platform is as smooth as possible, we are looking to confirm your contact information – in particular, your email and phone numbers. 

Your child(ren) will be bringing home access codes to a demographic confirmation we will be sending out shortly.  These secure ‘tokens’ will allow you to log into an online Saanich Schools tool to view, confirm or update your contact information.  Please note, the provincial student information system stores more than one record if you have multiple children in the district.  Please sign in with the token for each child to confirm your information.

In addition to the secure token, you will be asked two ‘challenge questions’ to confirm your identity and relationship to the student which will permit you to access the demographic information.  These questions may include asking for the student’s Personal Health Number which we may have on file.  Information collected through these challenge questions is not being stored but only being used for comparison to the information we have on file.

Thank you for helping ensure that your contact information is accurate so that we can move forward with the implementation of the School Messenger communication tool.  We hope to send our first message through the system by the end of the school year, in anticipation of using it more fully throughout the 2021/2022 school year.

 

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent