School District board members discuss business at a regular board meeting prior to the pandemic. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune file photo)

Ministry of Education gives special shout out to School District 27 at start of Education Week

District board and administration recognized for creating outdoor learning spaces

School District 27 board trustees are getting provincial recognition by the Ministry of Education for thinking outside the box during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In central B.C., the Cariboo-Chilcotin School Board has shown outstanding creativity and vision as it planned and built 20 unique, outdoor log classrooms for students to learn and grow,” noted the ministry in a news release Sunday, April 11, 2021 recognizing staff, students and families during Education Week.

“The new log classrooms will benefit not only students learning throughout the pandemic, but also in the future. Community trades workers also benefited from this project, as the board insisted on hiring local.”

Work has been underway this spring in the Cariboo-Chilcotin to provide the approximately 700-square-foot inviting, outdoor learning spaces for 20 schools throughout School District 27 at the direction of the board and superintendent Chris van der Mark.

Van der Mark has said it “just made sense” to use extra funding provided during the pandemic for something tangible and long-lasting for students and staff, who have shown incredible resiliency through difficult times.

On Sunday, the ministry went on to praise Cariboo-Chilcotin teachers and teaching assistants for “leading the way in B.C.’s outdoor learning programs.”

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“They’ve successfully adapted to new, dynamic learning environments and are finding students are engaged and excited to be learning outside.”

Education Week begins Sunday and the Ministry of Education stated is wanted to acknowledge that, in spite of stresses and anxiety around the pandemic, teachers, support staff, administrators and trustees across the province have shown incredible dedication and compassion. The ministry also recognized that students and families are going above and beyond to support their school communities.

“For more than a year, education staff, parents, students and partners have rallied to create a sense of normalcy for B.C.’s more than 600,000 students in kindergarten to Grade 12. From creating and adapting mental health programs and services during the pandemic, to leading the way with outdoor classrooms, education professionals and student leaders are making meaningful contributions.”

The SD27 board of education is made up of an all-female roster which include Mary Forbes, Angie Delainey, Alexis Forseille, Anne Kohut, Willow MacDonald, Linda Martens and board chair Ciel Patenaude.


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