Okanagan College exploring new partnerships at Revelstoke campus

Notes from the Sept. 14, 2011 meeting of the Revelstoke Board of Education.

Okanagan College is exploring  new programs in Revelstoke that would see the school team up with the Canadian Avalanche Centre and/or Thompson Rivers University on new offerings.

Talks with the CAC revolved around setting up an applied research institute and offering other programs such as emergency mountain medicine, developing a new system for calling for help in emergencies and developing a training program.

The discussions with Thompson Rivers University are focused on setting up an Adventure Tourism program out of Revelstoke. TRU would offer up the outdoor training components while the college would offer the classroom-based courses (finance, English, geography). The latter would be open to members of the public.

The news came out in the minutes from the Okanagan College Advisory Committee meeting of May 25 that were included in the agenda for the Revelstoke Board of Education.

In a follow-up interview, Jim Barmby, the dean of the Shuswap-Revelstoke division of the college, said the talks were still preliminary and it was a long was from anything happening.

“The college is determined to play an important role in the Revelstoke community,” he said. “It’s not easy in a town of 8,000 people but we continue to work hard.”

District enrolment up

It’s not official yet, but early numbers indicate that enrolment in the Revelstoke School District is up for the first time in decades.

According to numbers presented to the Board of Education, there are 1,033 students registered in school to start the year. That’s up from 1,024 that were enrolled last year. It is also 20 students more than projected.

“Our enrolment is above projections for the first time in many, many years so that’s a good trend,” Anne Cooper told the Board of Education at its Sept. 14 meeting.

Breaking it down, kindergaten numbers are at 87, up from 79 last year; elementary school numbers are at 494 from 502; and Revelstoke Secondary School has 452 students, up from 443 last year.

“We have more primary students than anticipated so that’s also a pleasant surprise,” said Cooper.

Final numbers are submitted to the Ministry of Education on Sept. 30 and Cooper said she expects the numbers will remain the same. It won’t have an impact on the district’s funding since it already receives funding protection so the increase in students will be covered by those extra funds.

“The good and the bad of funding protection is that because we are funding protected we will be self-funding these students because they will be within the envelope we are already funding protected for,” said Cooper.

Six new teachers hired

The Revelstoke school district welcomed some new blood this year with six new teachers were hired to start the new school year.

At Revelstoke Secondary School, Maria Walsh and Jade Connor were brought on staff. At Arrow Heights Elementary, Tara Johnson will be teaching the grade 6/7 class, Amber Thompson the grade 4/5 class and Monica Embury the grade 2/3 class. At Mount Begbie Elementary Kristi Mortell-Leblanc was hired to teach the grade 1/2 class.