‘It’s an epidemic’: vaping concerns raised at school board meeting

Next year’s school calendar, mental health, amended budget and new courses were also discussed

Highlights from the last School District 19 board meeting on Feb. 27.

Vaping concerns

Superintendent Mike Hooker says the increase in vaping and vape products at Revelstoke Secondary School is concerning. Revelstoke Secondary School is currently reviewing their policy concerning the products. Hooker says there is no quick and easy answer to the problem.

“It’s an epidemic at the high school,” says Hooker. However, the increase in vaping isn’t unique to Revelstoke. According to a study by the University of Waterloo last year, Canadian teenage vaping rates have substantially increased by roughly 80 per cent in one year.

“We’re fighting a powerful machine,” says Hooker in regards to vaping advertisements. If students are caught with vaping paraphernalia, the products are confiscated and consequences could include suspensions.

Hooker says self reported numbers on vaping in Revelstoke will be released later this year. Thus far, there have been no issues at the elementary schools.

The school district is trying to come up with solutions to educate and reduce the number of students vaping. Another concern is second hand smoke from vaping as some students are allergic.

Parents are encouraged to ensure that their children do not have access to vape paraphernalia.

Numeracy intervention program

There is an increase in learning support for the remember of the year to help facilitate a numeracy intervention program that will be led by Allison Just and Rita Tedesco. Numeracy refers to the ability to understand and work with numbers.

2019/2020 school calendar

The board approved next year’s school calendar. The three elementaries will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Revelstoke Secondary will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m. There will be 183 days of instruction.

Mental health dashboard

The B.C. government recently updated a provincial data base related to students health and well being. The board went over data collected from 2017/2018 grade 10 students in Revelstoke.

Some of the data includes:

  • Almost 63 per cent of grade 10 students in Revelstoke often/always feel they belong at school. Whereas, almost five per cent rarely/never feel they belong. Compared to the provincial average of 47 per cent feeling they belong at school and eight per cent saying they do not.
  • More than 75 per cent often/always feel welcomed at school in Revelstoke and less than two per cent feel they do not. For the provincial average, almost 62 per cent feel welcomed and less than four per cent do not.
  • More than 70 per cent of students in Revelstoke feel positive that adults care about their well-being. Whereas, less than five per cent do not. This is well above the provincial average of less than 50 per cent feeling that an adult cares and 17 per cent do not.

To see more data: https://studentsuccess.gov.bc.ca/

New Course

Strategic Analysis Through Games 10 will be offered next year at Revelstoke Secondary. The course focuses on applied probability, strategic thinking, analysis and entrepreneurship through table-top strategy games. Superintendent Mike Hooker says there is not a course like this currently offered in B.C. It’s expected there will be more than 20 enrolled.

Amended budget

Previously the expected budget for 2018/2019 was $14,602,987, however the new budget is $15,517,564. Some factors that impact the amended budget include: increased enrolment, more staff hiring, increased utility costs and adjustments in grants for special and aboriginal education.

Personal Information Directory

Each school district was required to develop a Personal Information Directory. Its purpose is to document the management of personal information and assist the public in identifying the location of personal information held by the district. To name a few, the directory will have have staff listings for seniority, leave of absence records and teachers on call. It will also include permanent student records, student suspension letters, scholarship applications, media consent, field trip consent, attendance records, library records, medical lists, and confidential files. The district says it will protect the information “by reasonable security measures”.

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