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General News · 20th May 2021
Cortes Island School - Brent
Dear Cortes Families,

Thank you to all who participated in the Cortes Ilsand School questionnaire sent out in April. What respondents found works well is the connection staff have with students, the nature-based play and outdoor activities, the gardens, and the sense of community. What we could do better, is to reduce the class grade splits, increase access to arts programming and outdoor education, host more community involvement, and communicate more regularly.

Though we are unable to act on every suggestion and request, by summarizing the responses of the majority, and with district support, we have come up with a program we hope will meet many of the articulated concerns.

Beginning in the fall of 2021 we will run the Nature as Teacher (NAT) program. Dayna Davis will head this cross-curricular outdoor program, meeting many of the BC Science curriculum competencies, as well as integrating nature study, art, storytelling, movement, music, and writing. Some areas of study will be First People’s plant knowledge and uses, life cycles of flora and fauna, tree friend program, garden and seed saving, ocean life study, and forest and wetland ecology. This program will follow an inquiry-based approach focussing on projects and hands-on learning . There will also be a call-out for local community expertise and involvement.

The program will run two days a week – one day each in the primary and intermediate classes for now. Each class will be divided into two groups, giving classroom teachers the opportunity to work on core academics with half the class at a time.

At Cortes Island School we are deeply committed to supporting students in literacy and numeracy, and ensuring they are well prepared for whatever lies ahead when they leave here. Academic, social, and emotional growth is, and will continue to be, our priority. We will endeavour to improve our communication in the coming year, making sure families are informed and up to date on student progress and any changes to routine. With the likelihood that COVID-19 protocols restricting parent and community access to the building will be relaxed next year, we are ever hopeful to have more direct involvement and support from our outstanding parent body and community at large. We have missed you!

Please contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming new program or anything else. I am always happy and available to discuss individual concerns and programming requests.

Brent Wilken
Principal, Cortes Island School
(250) 935-6313