The Quesnel School Board met virtually instead of inside their offices on Feb. 17. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

The Quesnel School Board met virtually instead of inside their offices on Feb. 17. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer file photo)

Quesnel school board meets online for the first time

The district refused to say which organization did not support Quesnel’s BC Winter Games bid

The Quesnel School District is remaining tight-lipped on what happened to the City of Quesnel’s BC Winter Games bid.

Quesnel City council announced the bid would no longer be moving forward on Feb. 16, after an organization related to the school district failed to provide a letter of support. There was no discussion around Quesnel’s 2024 BC Winter Games bid failing at the district’s meeting on Feb. 17.

While the district itself supported the bid, city manager Byron Johnson didn’t say which organization failed to supply a letter.

When questioned which organization did not support the bid, superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller said the board won’t comment on any issue not directly on the agenda.

The school board and city did not respond to multiple requests to confirm which letter was missing from the bid.

The resolution Quesnel council passed was to send thank-yous to all organizations who supported the bid. Not named in the staff report were the Teachers’ Association and CUPE. The Teachers’ Association and union also did not return calls asking if they supported the bid.

Despite the BC Winter Games bid failing, there was plenty to celebrate during the district’s Feb. 17 board meeting, which was the first one conducted remotely. Previous meetings had all members of the board inside district offices, with members of the public tuning in online. Now all participants are connecting from home bases.

Aboriginal student completion rates have reached an all-time high at 80 per cent over the last six years. The six-year completion rate for all students was 81 per cent.

While our completion rates are not yet at the level we are striving for, we are pleased with the growth,” board chair Tony Goulet said. “We will all continue to work to improve graduation and completion rates for all students in the Quesnel School District.”

Miller shared the news with the board at the end of the district’s Wednesday, Feb. 17 board meeting.

“We’ve had some steady climbing over the past five years, but really over the last 15 years we’ve had a leap forward in the success of our Aboriginal students,” she said.

30 per cent of the district’s student’s are First Nations, non-status, Métis or Inuit.

READ MORE: Quesnel School District making reconciliation a priority

It was Quesnel’s first school board meeting over zoom. Previous meetings allowed members of the public to tune in online, but the February meeting had most all board members connecting from outside district offices.

Also worthy of celebration is the district’s student teacher rates.

The district’s director of human resources, Perry Lofstrom, said it has been their best year ever. Eleven student teachers who are working in Quesnel will graduate this year.

“Despite all of the obvious challenges we have had, staff in our district have really stepped up to support student teachers, morso than other districts in our province.” Lofstrom said. “We should be really proud of the efforts of our schools and our teachers.”

He added educational assistant and support staff placements are also up in the district, and will share the numbers at the next board meeting.

The district has already started recruiting for the next school year. They will be hosting at least six University of Calgary students, and the district will be meeting with the University of BC and University of Northern BC to expand the number.

West Fraser has donated $25,000 to help prepare Quesnel students for a career in the trades. Correlieu Secondary School’s belt sander had finally broken and Quesnel Junior School’s planer was on it’s last legs. The money from West Fraser allowed the district to replace both pieces of equipment.

The district has also begun planning for next year’s budget. Preliminary provincial funding will be announced on March 12, with budget adoption scheduled for the May 19 regular board meeting.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s 2024 BC Winter Games bid falls through

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