FSA provides information

Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff clarifies to parents why SD83 supports use of FSA

From October 4 to November 12, 2021, our students in grade 4 and grade 7 will be participating in the Foundation Skills Assessment Test, also known as the “FSA”. This is a provincially mandated standardized test that uses broad metrics to determine whether students are meeting curricular expectations at grade level in literacy and numeracy.

Though it is a standardized test and subject to the same limitations as other standardized tests, we believe it provides important information on individual student learning. We use the FSA assessment results in conjunction with other forms of district and classroom assessments to provide a comprehensive picture as to how each student is doing, and to provide important feedback to school and district staff in regard to instruction. School District No. 83 has often used information from the FSA and Ministry Graduation Assessments in budget conversations to allocate additional staffing for the purpose of better supporting teachers with their instructional practice in our classrooms. 

The FSA assesses student learning up to and including the previous year’s grade.  Placing the assessment in early October allows our teachers to use each student’s results to inform their instruction over the balance of the school year and make sure student learning needs are being met. 

The time spent on the FSA testing cycle amounts to approximately six hours in grade four, and another six hours in grade seven, not including practice (with the secondary assessments adding just another six hours in total). This amounts to just over one-half of one per cent of their instructional time for that school year, with the two test cycles taking up just a tenth of a per cent of instructional time from kindergarten through grade twelve. We think that these assessments provide a tremendous amount of information given the time spent, and that it is an incredibly efficient way to collect that information. In fact, the need for this insight may be even greater, given the interruptions to learning that we have recently experienced. 

We do agree with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) perspective that the results have been misused by the Fraser Institute, and that it is both wrong and misleading to rank schools in this way. We do, however, believe the test is worthwhile is spite of this, and we would be in favour of using it even if it were not mandatory in our province’s schools. It should be noted that this light assessment regimen is a completely different experience than what student endure in some U.S. jurisdictions, who may issue general skill or even more curriculum-specific tests monthly instead of just a few times from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve as we do in British Columbia. 

If you remain unconvinced of the FSA’s importance and wish your grade four or grade seven student to be exempt from this month’s testing process, please ask your school principal for an FSA testing schedule, then keep your child at home during the testing times. While we are not permitted to excuse a student from the FSA because of a parent request, parents always have the right to keep their child at home, and this right will be respected during FSA testing, in the same way it would be in other circumstances. As a courtesy in this regard, please note that I have asked the principals not to have students make up the tests at a later time if they were kept at home by parents for the purpose of test exemption. Students participating in an online program may make arrangements to join an assessment session at their neighbourhood school in a separate setting, or at an alternate site. 

CHEQ (Childhood Experiences Questionnaire)

All SD83 Kindergarten families will be receiving an email from our school district today with a unique link to the CHEQ (Childhood Experiences Questionnaire).

The CHEQ is a questionnaire completed by parents and caregivers at the start of the Kindergarten school year. It helps teachers, school administrators, and community partners to provide and improve targeted supports for children and families.

The CHEQ is used to:

  • Develop district and community-wide programs and policies;
  • Better understand the early experiences of children and families; and
  • Improve classroom planning and school programming.

 The CHEQ includes questions about children’s experiences with language and numeracy, nutrition and sleep habits, activities at home and in the community, and access to and use of resources and services. Please reach out to Jennifer Findlay, District Principal – Early Learning, at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca if you have any questions. 

CHEQ Information Sheet

Hold and Secure ended

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83:

On behalf of SD83 I wish to thank you for your understanding regarding the “hold and secure” issued on Friday, September 17, 2021. Given the situation that unfolded at several schools in and around Salmon Arm, it was necessary to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Though the term “lockdown” has been reported by some media sources, this is inaccurate. The “hold and secure” we initiated was a means of preventing unauthorized individuals from entering our schools.

After much consultation, we feel confident that the “hold and secure” can be lifted as of tomorrow, September 21, 2021. We have encouraged schools to limit their number of entry points. Most schools will move toward having the main entries locked after the opening bell, the exception may be our Secondary Schools with open campuses. You may gain access to the school by calling the main office. Where possible, additional supervision will be added to playgrounds during recess and noon hours.

Once again, I’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding. The messaging you received on Friday was an attempt to keep you informed and was done in the spirit of transparency. If you have questions or concerns, I would welcome a thoughtful and respectful conversation.

We look forward to moving ahead and focussing our attention on the wonderful achievements of our students.

Sincerely,

Donna Kriger
Superintendent of Schools

Info for Kindy Families

School District No. 83 would like to extend a huge welcome to our Kindergarten families! During Gradual Entry, the Kindergarten team at each school is busy helping our K students learn about classroom routines and procedures, as well as helping them adjust to the new social and emotional realities of school. 

Here is some information for Kindergarten families about school health services provided by public health staff. Please contact Jennifer Findlay, District Principal – Early Learning, at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca if you have any questions about school health services or the Kindergarten program, in general.

Letter from Interior Health for families of kindergarten students

Message from Superintendent

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83 Students: 

I want to extend my thanks to you for the patience and understanding you have demonstrated over the first few days of school start up. The accounts being shared from our schools speak to the excitement and hope which exists among the students and staff.  

As a district we are grateful that many of the restrictions imposed during the last school year have been removed. However, the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer have mandated masking among all Grade 4-12 students due to the prevalence of the Delta variant. The province has also requested that school districts cooperate with their local health regions to accommodate pop up vaccination clinics at some school sites for families and students who are 12 years of age and older.  

I would ask that you carefully read the documents we are sharing on behalf of Interior Health. As an educational organization we believe parents/guardians/caregivers play an important and necessary role in educating their child(ren). As a result, I ask that you take the time to discuss the topic of vaccination with your child(ren).  

We are grateful for you our stakeholders, as you are much needed partners in ensuring our schools remain open for face-to-face instruction.  We have high confidence in our school staffs along with members of the transportation, facilities and custodial team who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of your children while they are in our care.  

Wishing you and those you love health and wellness. 

Donna L. Kriger,
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Interior Health

If the links don’t work in the letter please click on the following:

Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools

Interior Health Order

Clinic Dates and Times

To learn more about Mature Minor Consent