District seeks education ideas from public

NANAIMO – Public input sought in school district's strategic planning process.

Nanaimo school officials are looking for public input in the district’s strategic planning process.

Those who haven’t made it to a school-based consultation can participate online.

Senior managers and trustees are visiting every school in the district this month to talk with staff, parents and students about what they would like to see included in the district’s strategic plan.

The information gleaned from these meetings, as well as the online survey and meetings with stakeholder and employee groups, will help staff create a comprehensive blueprint for how educational programs and services will be delivered well into the future.

The online survey is available at www.sd68.bc.ca by following the link to strategic planning.

Online participants will be asked to give their thoughts on things the current system is doing well and areas the district needs to focus on and develop to support student learning and engagement.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said meetings at individual schools have not had big turnouts so far – the most was 28 people at Pauline Haarer Elementary School on Tuesday.

“We’re not getting huge numbers at individual schools, but the discussions are quite interesting, quite thoughtful,” he said.

Many people are surprised to learn that the district’s enrolment has dropped by more than 2,000 students in the past 10 years, from 16,000 students to less than 14,000, said Brennan.

Many are also surprised by the number of empty classrooms and buildings either vacant or used for other purposes, he added.

Brennan said thoughts expressed at the schools he’s attended include: concern from parents about consistent services for special needs students; concern about course availability for secondary students, as some schools do not have the critical mass needed to offer all senior academic courses; a suggestion that trustees sell buildings that are not being used for educational purposes; and praise about areas participants felt that the district excelled in, such as the French immersion programs and the academies offered at some high schools.

“That’s all going to fold into an action plan,” he said. “It will be in the hands of our staff to put together the draft report in the summer.”

In the fall, the draft presentation will go back out to schools and Brennan hopes to be implementing parts of the finished plan in November.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said all ideas are collected each meeting and entered into a software program that helps staff organize the information.

The information is then sent out on school mailing lists to collect further thoughts and people are asked to prioritize different ideas.

By the end of the process, trustees and staff should end up with a long list of unique, separate ideas and how they were prioritized, said Reimer.

Next month, trustees and staff are meeting with the different employee groups, the district student council and district parent advisory council.

A community meeting takes place June 14 at the Nanaimo Golf Club to gather feedback from local organizations.

Just Posted

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Small town residents Reed and Dusty, played by drama students Niya Irving and Cole Simpson, contemplate what brought them to a condemned park and what is keeping them there in the Dover Bay Secondary School production of ‘Bethel Park Falls.’ (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
High school drama students present outdoor performance at Nanaimo’s Dover Bay

Production to be staged in school courtyard with in-person audience

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Sarah Duguay so investigators can check on her well-being. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to find woman who called police for help but hasn’t been located

Sarah Duguay, 40, not reported missing, but police want to check on her well-being

Beef to the pet owner who brought his puppy into the cold beer and wine store, where it promptly peed on another customer’s ankle.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 9

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read