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Board Highlights - April 9, 2024

An overview of discussion items and major decisions of the Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake). For meeting agendas/minutes and a schedule of upcoming board meetings visit

Cultural and Identity Development Continuous Learning Report

District Principal Gail Higginbottom, District Principal Kent Tamblyn, and District Indigenization and Diversity Coordinator presented the Cultural and Identity Development Continuous Learning Report to the Board. Highlights from the report include that the five-year completion rate for Indigenous learners has continued to grow over the past 5 years, increasing in parity with non-Indigenous learners.

As of 2022-2023 school year, the five-year school completion rates for Indigenous learners are at 81%, the highest rate to date. Similarly, the six-year school completion rate for Indigenous learners has also continued to grow. As of the 2022-2023 school year, the six-year school completion rate for Indigenous learners grew to 88%, while non-Indigenous learners were at 90%. This surpasses the provincial six-year completion rate for Indigenous students in public schools, which was 74.3 % in 2022-2023 compared to 94.5 % for non-Indigenous students.

We are clearly seeing a narrowing of the historical gap in the school completion rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners in SD8. What this means is that while more Indigenous students are graduating in SD8 than on average across B.C., we still have work to do to ensure 100% of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students complete their high school education.

The report highlights the commitment of SD8 to promoting a positive sense of identity in culturally safe and responsive communities of learning, with a focus on Aboriginal education and diversity. Over the next three years, SD8 will strengthen the supports for Indigenous learners, 2SLGBTQIA+, and Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Colour (BIPOC) learners by continuing a focus on improving results and striving for equity for all learners.

National Day of Mourning

Superintendent Trish Smillie shared plans for observing the National Day of Mourning on April 28, with flags to be lowered at schools and worksites. This observance honours lives lost and workers injured due to workplace incidents and renews commitment to workplace health and safety. 

Preliminary Budget Report 2024-2025

Secretary-Treasurer Cathy MacArthur presented the draft budget to the Board. School district revenues are projected as $66,629,150 for the 2024-2025 school year, an increase of 0.7% compared to a total revenue of $66,186,084 for the 2023-2024 school year. The district projects a balanced budget, with a continuing high ratio of teachers to students across the district’s six families of schools. Additionally, the district will maintain the same number of educational assistants despite a projected drop in student enrolment by 70 students from 4,772 to 4,702 for the coming year. 

The Board of Education approves a budget by June 30th of each year. The budget focuses on educational resources for student achievement and success outlined in the strategic plan priorities as required by the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning.

School Fees

Secretary-Treasurer MacArthur presented proposed school fees for the 2024-2025 school year, with most fees remaining the same. All students have equitable access to enhancement activities and optional goods and services regardless of their ability to pay fees, in accordance with Policy 430: Fees, Deposits and Financial Hardships. The Board approved the 2024-2025 school fees as proposed.

Capital Bylaw Approved – Allows Improvements to School Plumbing, HVAC and Kitchens

After three consecutive readings, the Board approved School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) Capital Bylaw No. 2024/25-CPSD8-01. Minor capital projects approved under the bylaw fall under the School Enhancement Program (SEP), Food Infrastructure Program (FIP), and Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP). These projects include plumbing and sprinkler upgrades at Trafalgar Middle School, HVAC upgrades at Mount Sentinel and L.V. Rogers secondary schools, and school kitchen upgrades at Kootenay River and J.V. Humphries secondary schools as well as at Redfish and Salmo elementary schools totaling $1,687,900.

Student Trustee Reports

Student Trustee Popoff – Mount Sentinel Secondary reported that coming events include Earth Day on April 22 which will include a school-wide garbage cleanup. Student council is also putting on a “30-hour Famine” event, which will raise funds for local organizations to address food insecurity. Over the past month, eight Trades and Training students competed in and came first in a regional skills competition in Cranbrook and Castlegar and as a result have been invited to attend the provincial skills competition in Abbotsford where they will compete against teams from across B.C.

Student Trustee Parsons – Kootenay River Secondary School sports teams have been busy, with the girls soccer team playing outside at the first tournament this weekend. A badminton team and a golf team has also started up. In addition, the student council is organizing a dance in May.

Student Trustee Luchetta – The J.V.H. kindergarten class will perform for families this April, showcasing their singing while other primary grades play the ukulele. The school will also hold a “Celebration of Learning’ day on which presentations, posters, and projects made by all grades are shared and showcased to everyone in the school to admire and acknowledge all the hard work JVH students have completed this year.

Student Trustee Lamoureux – J.V. Humphries elementary students will participate in organized mandatory swimming lessons for four consecutive weeks at the Nelson and District Community Complex, free of charge to families. The school community feels it is important that youth learn to swim growing up, seeing as Kaslo area students live beside a lake.

Presenters are coming to J.V. Humphries in mid-April to provide information about important emergency health services available to the community. The faculty of UBC will also engage students in workshops about different healthcare fields to deepen student understanding of health career options open to them upon graduation and further education. 

Policies Approved

The Board approved amendments to Policy 130: Code of Conduct. 

All policies and administrative procedures are available on the SD8 policy page

These highlights exclude confidential information such as business negotiations, personnel issues and legal matters. For other information or to provide feedback, please contact our Public Engagement Manager at 250-352-6681 or

About School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake): Our mission is to inspire and support each learner to thrive in a caring learning environment. We are located in the southern Interior of British Columbia and serve numerous diverse communities in the Kootenays including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel, and Yahk. We also serve students across B.C. through our provincial online learning school, Elev8. Our dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 4,700 students and their families.