Students lose two additional school days

Additional days to be used by teachers for instruction related to new curriculum.

It’s an extra two days off school for Shuswap students, but parents might not be so thrilled at having to cover child care for the additional two non-instructional days that have been added to the School District #83 calendar in 2016.

This change reduces the amount of instructional time to students across the region below the previously set ministry standards for instructional time.

Due to a provincial requirement for teachers to learn the new curriculum, the school board opted to pull students from school for two additional days to allow teachers to fulfill the required 10-hours of instruction. The Ministry of Education allocated no new funds to the school district to cover the costs of the teachers’ instructional time, so there was no money in the school district’s budget to pay for substitute teachers to cover classes while classroom teachers took training.

The two days where students will not be in session are Feb. 22 and April 15. These days will link with the already assigned Pro-D days set for Feb. 19 and April 18 and create four-day weekends for students.

After consultation with teachers groups and the District Parent Advisory Council, the school district decided these dates would attempt to make them more convenient for parents, especially those who might want to take advantage of a four-day weekend.

The Ministry of Education is mandating that teachers receive 10 hours of instruction on the new curriculum in this school year, plus one more additional day in each of the following two years. This will allow teachers to familiarize themselves with the new curriculum and plan for its implementation.

“We believe it is important for our teachers to have time to work with and have a full understanding of the renewed curriculum so they can fully and capably support our students,” says Carl Cooper, director of instruction for the school district.