Our school board is making tough choices as they deal with declining enrolments as demographic changes force policy decisions.
We now see the impact on healthcare as the widest point of the global baby boom that turns 60 this year. Hospitals get built while schools close. It is a reality faced by nearly every developed nation.
Hospital administrators will be in the same situation school boards are in now as boomers triggered a huge growth in infrastructure construction to deal with their numbers (and voting power).
In 30 years, hospitals will be closing as elementary schools are today.
The decisions to close schools will generate emotions, but we have amazing school board management and a strong board, so I think we should let them do their job without the great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The Rotary Club of Penticton has been in partnership with School District 67 to deliver Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to the students throughout the district through the Rotary Youth Mental Wellness Initiative. I cannot say enough about the quality of professionalism of Superintendent Wendy Hyer, director of instruction Don MacIntyre and liaison Jenny Mitchell.
If this program is executed properly, it has the power to attract families to move here to expose their children to this method of learning and life skills. Forty teachers are incorporating in their classrooms this year and we see that growing over the next few years. If I had school age children and could work anywhere, I would move here and get my kids into SEL in a heartbeat.
The premise is simple. We as adults know we don’t function well if we are stressed and anxious, so why would children and youth be any different?
By teaching students how the brain works and giving “brain breaks” through the day, the environment of the classroom can become positive and optimistic.
Between 15 and 20 per cent of our student body suffers from diagnosable mental illnesses. The hope is Social Emotional Learning gives the students skills so hopefully they will not need pills.
So let’s all relax, pour a cup of tea and enjoy the fall and let the school board make incredibly difficult decisions. After all, we elected the board so we don’t have to be on the firing line.
We have a strong team at SD67 to take us through these times.