We are delighted to be preparing for Monday September 22 as the first day of school. Our thanks go out to our teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and community partners for getting us through some difficult times to a place where we can look forward with optimism to another great year in Saanich.
Our first few days will be as described below. For greater detail and clarity please check your school's website as well as the transportation link on the district website under District Information:
Elementary and Middle Schools:
- Monday, September 22 - Students in all grades except kindergarten will attend a partial day, from the usual start time to mid-morning (see bus schedule for details on bus routes and times).
- Tuesday, September 23 - Students in all grades except kindergarten will be in full attendance (final class lists will likely have to wait until Wednesday for elementary)
Kindergarten: No kindergarten students will attend on September 22. Gradual entry will occur as scheduled by the school from September 23 to 29, with the first regular day of class for kindergarten being Tuesday, September 30.
- Monday, September 22 - Grade 9 and 10 students only will attend a partial day for just the afternoon (see bus schedule for details on bus routes and times).
- Tuesday, September 23 - Grade 11 and 12 students only will attend a partial day for just the afternoon (see bus schedule for details on bus routes and times).
- Wednesday, September 24 - All students will be in full attendance and in classes (counsellors will continue to assist with timetable change).
There are other matters to consider at start-up, most of which are covered by schools on their websites, so please check the websites for more information. As well, from the district point of view, we can confirm the following:
- Pro-Rated Bus Fees: The Board of Education decided at its public meeting of September 17 to waive all bus fees for September 2014, effectively reducing the annual fee by 10%. Other fee reductions were considered, including for academies, international students and the local education agreement, but since those are for services that we will attempt to provide between now and the end of the school year the Board directed staff to bring a report back in May 2015 to see if and how that happened. Thus, no reductions in those areas at least at this time.
- The 2014/15 Calendar: No provisions are being made, either provincially or in Saanich, to make up the 14 days lost to the strike. Numerous provisions, both in provincial statute and in collective agreements, prevent us from doing that, and it is our contention that children will have their needs fully met between now and the end of June. This means that all scheduled non-instructional days will occur, as will all scheduled break times including the week of closure in March which creates a two week spring break for students.
- Secondary Semesters: The Ministry of Education is planning to schedule an alternate exam week in order to assist schools in balancing the semesters for secondary students. If the alternate week is January 26-29, 2015 we will likely extend the first semester by one week, with classes ending on January 23 rather than January 16 as is currently planned. That would result in semester two starting on February 2, yielding 78 days in semester one and 84 days in semester 2.
- Parent Teacher Meetings and Early Dismissals: Within the calendar are a number of evenings of afternoons that are for communication with parents. Most notable are parent nights and four early dismissal days where students are excused one hour early to facilitate teachers meeting with parents regarding student progress. Those priorities will remain, but the days may need to change. Please check school websites for more information.
Again, welcome back. We look forward to a strong and smooth transition, and to a year of all successes for all students.
Dr. Keven Elder
Superintendent of Schools