Youthful Connections

Discovery Centre makes the grade

 | June 17, 2011

The Discovery Centre for Balanced Education (DCBE), Sun Peaks’ fledgling school, has graduated from its first year. With the learning centre conceived in May 2010, its first 18 students successfully passed their grades this June with the hard work of the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) and support from the community.

The outlook for next year is bright.

“Right now the numbers are sitting at around 40 kids,” says Barb Kupferschmidt Linder, SPES board’s vice chair. “We have 39 registered with five serious inquiries.” A few students will be leaving the school as their families are moving. Roughly half of the registered students are in primary grades, kindergarten through Grade 2, and the other half are intermediate.
The increase in numbers will require more space, and more staff.

“We’re working together with the municipality on the second building,” says Maria Cannon, SPES president. “There will be a second space ready for students in September. We will continue to update the community.” The vision is to divide the one-room class into primary and intermediate groups, each with their own teacher and space. In regard to staffing, Cannon states, “We’ve been receiving job applications. It’s a very attractive environment (for teachers) with what we’ve set up.”

One exciting development in the upcoming school year is the new technology that’s coming.

“Intermediate students will be working off iPads and SmartBoards supplied by @KOOL. The iPads were chosen for (the students’) ability to draw, making student and teacher communication better,” says Linder.

SmartBoards allow the students in the classroom at Sun Peaks to see what their off-site teacher is writing on her board in Kamloops. She, in turn, can see what they write on theirs. Intermediate students will always have a teacher present with them in the classroom. SmartBoards and iPads give them more access to their @KOOL teacher when she is not on site at Sun Peaks.

This new learning model allows students to stay in their own community for school and, with assistance from the school district, benefit from the latest technology.

Primary students will continue to do their school work with in-class teachers.

The Discovery Centre’s growth will bring a need for more funds. To date, $100,000 has been raised, greatly exceeding the initial target of $75,000. Fundraising will continue to meet the centre’s increasing operating needs.

One such fundraising event is the upcoming Year End Spring Festival on Sunday, June 19 at the Delta Sun Peaks from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. A family friendly event, there’ll be a buffet dinner to satisfy any kid’s (and parent’s) appetite catered by the Delta Sun Peaks, a bouncy castle, and music and dancing to round out the evening. Tickets are $20 plus HST per person.

E-mail Kevin Miller [email protected] or Silvia Erler [email protected].

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