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Letter to Parents: School Opening September 22

September 19, 2014

​September 19, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,
We are pleased to share that, following ratification of the new collective agreement between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association, the first day of school for most students will be Monday, September 22. There are some exceptions depending on the student’s grade level.
We have well established school opening routines and we will still be following the usual school opening procedures that would normally occur when school starts at the beginning of September.
These first days provide an opportunity for students to revisit school codes of conduct and settle into school routines. They also allow us to finalize class lists and course timetables, set preliminary enrolment and prepare for the year ahead. School start-up is always a complex process, compounded this year by the delayed opening – your patience and understanding is appreciated.
Opening Day
Elementary students in grades 1 to 5, students from our outlying schools (Cortes, Sayward, and Surge), grade 6 students at the middle schools and grade 9 students at the secondary schools will attend school for a half day on Monday, September 22.
All students, except kindergarten students, will attend for a full day on Tuesday, September 23. For middle school students in grades 7 and 8 and secondary students in grades 10, 11 and 12, Tuesday will be their first day of school.
Any grade 10, 11, and 12 students who need to make timetable changes or need to be assigned a locker are welcome to come to school on Monday, September 22. However, priority will be placed on grade 12 timetable changes.
All school opening details are posted to our district website at www.sd72.bc.ca/backtoschool. Please check the website for exact start and dismissal times, bus schedule, and additional information.
Gradual Entry for Kindergarten
For our youngest learners, gradual entry includes a phasing in of small groups and shortened attendance time. The gradual start allows children to adjust to a new school environment and allows time for the family to meet with teachers and develop relationships. All kindergarten students will come to school with their parents for at least one hour on Monday, September 22.
Based on a schedule, developed by the teacher, kindergarten students will come to school after the first day in small groups. Kindergarten teachers will be able to effectively gather important information about each student (interests, readiness levels, and learning styles) to help inform their instructional plan for their classrooms. This information is gathered from parents in a variety of ways and is gathered from students through conversations and observations as they interact with one another.
Your child’s school will provide more information on what time kindergarten students attend on the first day of school and when they will be in full attendance, please check your school website.
Instructional Time/Provincial Exams
We know that there has been some speculation as to whether the school calendar will be adjusted or the instructional day lengthened to make up for time lost during the teacher strike. We recognize that when we publish the school calendar, people make plans counting on this schedule. At this point, the province has no plans to lengthen the school year or school day. We do anticipate that we will receive information from the Ministry of Education about possible adjustments to the school calendar as it applies to semesters at the secondary schools. These semesters are scheduled around provincial exams at the end of January and June and semesters will need to be divided equally to ensure equity for students who take a course in first semester to those who take the same course in second semester.
We will do everything possible to ensure that all students gain understanding for each curricular area and skills will be developed, practiced and reinforced.

There is still a lot of work to be done to get schools up and running as normal. Understandably, parents have many questions about student schedules, report cards and more. We will deal with these questions at the school and district level as we return to school, begin to work with our teachers, and gather more information.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to welcoming children and families back to school on Monday!
Thomas G.S. Longridge
Superintendent of Schools