Salmon Arm  

Get outside, get educated

Students in the North Okanagan Shuswap School District could be kicked out of class to get an education.

Official Trustee Mike McKay approved in principle a Kindergarten to Grade 6 Outdoor Learning Program at the former South Canoe School in Salmon Arm for the next school year.

"I want to get behind this and make it happen," said McKay, adding a high-quality, nature-based program can make a profound difference for students.

"We are wired to be out there."

However, McKay said in order for South Canoe School to re-open, the district requires permission from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

That request has gone in and the district is asking that it be expedited.

McKay also noted the reopening of South Canoe and the establishment of a program of choice must occur as part of an overall strategic approach to effective management of school capacities and student enrolment trends.

“We know several of our Salmon Arm schools are reaching full capacity and we also know it is not likely that we will qualify for a major capital project in the near future. Adding to our available capacity by including South Canoe may require the district to re-draw some catchment boundaries so that the school may serve a regular catchment of students, as well as those enrolling in the outdoor education program,” he said.

Director of Instruction Carl Cooper said although the outdoor learning program stands on its own merits, the establishment of the program at South Canoe could also help with the space crunch issues at Salmon Arm schools.

The 10-year enrolment projections indicate a cumulative increase of 139 students in three years, 176 students in ve years and 204 students in 10 years.

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