View From SD73: Reviewing a remarkable 2019 in the Kamloops-Thompson school district

For many of us in the district, 2019 will be remembered for the fire that destroyed the Parkcrest elementary school in early September.

We will also remember many milestones and achievements of students and staff. Looking back over the nearly 200 stories posted on our website (, we know these capture only a small sampling of the amazing things that were happening in our district.

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In particular, we note opportunities that have been created for our learners through consultation, expansion and completion rates. Decisions made to re-open Westsyde elementary and keep Westwold school open were made following consultation processes with our communities.


• A consultation process was initiated to re-draw the David Thompson elementary catchment area and re-open Westsyde elementary for September. 


• Kamloops School of the Arts students helped Foreigner rock the crowd at Sandman Centre. 


• The Vancouver Foundation awarded a $246,000 Systems Change Grant to Four Directions secondary.

• The SD73 Business Company began to pay dividends to support schools and community with a $100,000 cheque to the board of education.

• The board voted unanimously to reorganize the catchment area for David Thompson elementary and to re-open Westsyde elementary for the 2019-2020 school year.


• Education Minister Rob Fleming announced the province will fund $32.7 million of the expansion to Valleyview secondary.

• Clearwater’s shrinking Sikh community donated part of the proceeds from the sale of its temple to Raft River elementary ($10,000) and Clearwater secondary ($30,000). 


• CHP Architects was chosen to design Valleyview secondary’s expansion.


• Repairs were announced for the Sagebrush Theatre roof.

• The Tsutswecw Park Story Trail, featuring Chase secondary student and teacher voices, opened.

• Brock middle school students launched a traditional Secwépemc canoe.


• A formal agreement with the Kamloops Music Collective will benefit Kamloops youth and SD73 students through music programs. 


• The SD73 banner carried by district staff during the Kamloops Pride Parade says it all.


• When the Parkcrest elementary building was destroyed by fire, the SD73 team moved quickly to restore the school year for displaced students and staff. Within 11 days, all displaced students and staff were accommodated.

• SD73 was named Organization with Most Impact by the United Way.


• Kamloops teacher Jordan Smith wins the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education.

• Sa-Hali secondary achieved international status as a UNESCO-designated school — one of only three schools in B.C. and 90 in Canada to achieve the designation.


• The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3500 voted 85 per cent in favour to ratify a collective agreement with SD73.

• Completion rates for students in the district reached 90 per cent, an all-time high in the district.


• Community partners sign a specialized Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) Protocol, agreeing to a multi-disciplinary approach to potential threats in schools and communities.

• Robert Hogeveen, a long-standing advocate for music education, was recognized with the Owl Award for Excellence in Public Education for his contributions to learning throughout the region.

Alison Sidow is superintendent of SD73 and can be reached by email at SD73 columns appear monthly in the print edition of KTW and online at To comment on this column, email

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