For Immediate Release
June 4, 2012
Ministry of Education
Gulf Island partnerships support community and learning
SALT SPRING ISLAND – Education Minister George Abbott is in the Gulf Islands school district (SD 64) today to celebrate the district’s innovative community partnerships and see some of the personalized learning programs being offered to students.
While on Salt Spring, Abbott provided final land disposal approval to enable local government and community partners to build a new library building at Galiano Community school. An earlier approval by the minister will enable the construction of affordable housing on surplus lands at another SD 64 site.
The Capital Regional District has agreed to the long-term lease of a 300-square-metre portion of the Galiano Community school site on Galiano Island for the construction of a new public library building.
The district will also transfer a 3.25-hectare portion of the five-hectare Phoenix Alternative Elementary school site on Salt Spring Island to the Capital Regional District for the development of an affordable housing project. The housing project is supported by the Islands Trust, Capital Region Housing Corporation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Victoria Real Estate Board and local housing advocates.
Current school operations will not be affected by the transfer of the surplus lands. The remaining properties will be retained by the district for educational purposes.
The Gulf Islands school district is one of B.C.’s most innovative districts and provides personalized learning opportunities to its students through various community partnerships.
Highlights of Abbott’s tour of SD 64 include a visit to the Gulf Islands School of Performing Arts and a meeting with participants in the Connecting Generations Program, where students learn from adults and seniors in their own community through face-to-face conversations about shared interests, skills and life experiences. Connecting Generations is funded by a grant from the Growing Innovation program, a partnership between the Province and the University of British Columbia to support innovative learning opportunities in rural communities.
During his visit, Abbott will also meet with students and community mentors at the Saturna Ecological Education Centre (SEEC). The place-based ecological learning centre offers a multi-disciplinary, hands-on approach to earth education that incorporates community education while offering connections to B.C.’s senior secondary (grades 11 and 12) curriculum.
The SEEC program is run by teachers and local volunteers. Student participants live and learn on Saturna Island for a semester and are housed in residential cabins. The cabins, funded through community and district contributions, are ecologically friendly and boast a recently installed run-of-river micro-hydro generating system that runs the lighting and a water pump for heating.
The SEEC will be included in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s next report on Innovative Learning Environments.
George Abbott, Minister of Education –
“The Gulf Islands school district has championed the kind of collaborative innovation that is so important to BC’s Education Plan for learning in the 21st century. The district’s community partnerships and student-centred programming strengthen communities and families and provide students with unique opportunities to pursue their interests and achieve success.”
Murray Coell, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands –
“I applaud the staff and trustees at SD 64 for their work with the Capital Regional District and other partners to turn surplus school lands into much-needed social infrastructure that will support the long-term health and growth of our island communities.”
Jeff Hopkins, Gulf Islands school district superintendent –
“Blurring the lines between school and the greater community is a major component of our district’s vision of education. Not only do these partnerships offer greater efficiencies and build community capacity, but they also demonstrate through real action that people need not feel restricted or isolated by the artificial boxes in which we sometimes find ourselves. We believe it is a form of creative leadership.”
· SD 64 serves the island communities of Salt Spring, Pender, Galiano, Mayne and Saturna, as well as Windsor House in North Vancouver. Roughly 1,700 K-12 students attend the district’s 11 schools.
· Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $7.6 million in the Gulf Islands school district for an addition at Pender Island Elementary/Secondary and seismic upgrades to Salt Spring Island Middle. Our government has also invested $30,000 for two classroom conversions to support full day kindergarten.
Gulf Islands School District (SD 64): http://www.sd64.bc.ca/
Gulf Islands School of Performing Arts: http://web.mac.com/gispa/iWeb/gispa/Home.html
Connecting Generations Program: http://www.sd64.bc.ca/connecting.html
Saturna Ecological Education Centre: http://seec64.ca/index.php?/about/seec
School building closure and disposal policy: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/policy/policies/school_closure.htm
BC’s Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect