SD73 adds new education assistant positions, approves school learning plans

SD73 approves new staff

The Kamloops-Thompson board of education approved the addition of six new full-time staff positions — a learning assistance teacher and five education assistants — as the school district has experienced increased enrolment.

The board voted on the matter during its meeting on Monday night.

SD73 Supt. Rhonda Nixon said the approved funding for new staff positions will allow the district to address the diverse needs of its students.

“If you have more staff who can connect with students, then you have more support,” Nixon said.

“It's not the only answer, to add staffing, but it's part of the answer. For some students, it is about having some additional help in the classroom with a combined teacher and support staff member.”

Vessy Mochikas, assistant superintendent, told the board that SD73 is up 68 students by funding designation levels.

“At level two we are up 64 students and at level three we are up 4 students,” Mochikas said.

Nixon said the additional staff positions will be dispersed throughout the district and classrooms based on need.

The board of education also approved 48 new learning plans on Monday — one for every school in the district.

The ministry requires the board to participate in a continuous improvement review program. As a result, the board reviews school learning plans each year to ensure they follow priorities laid out in its strategic plan.

Nixon said the school plans are subject to change as staff, students and parents provide feedback throughout the year so adjustments can be made.

“I want to emphasize these are living documents, they are not finished,” Nixon told the board on Monday.

“At this point in time, we post them knowing that our staff are interested in parent feedback, student feedback to shape these plans.”

Nixon told Castanet Kamloops one of the district’s priorities is creating a sense of belonging among students, but is also focusing on literacy and numeracy needs.

“We know that we have had steady increases, and in particular primary,” Nixon said.

“But we do have more work to do with students who have diverse needs and students who are Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal students.”

The current school plans are shaped by district administrative feedback from the previous year and the District Learning Plan.

The board said it expects to engage in mid-year feedback and budget consultations to ensure continuous improvements are being made.

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