Category Archives: KSS Student Body

Heritage Fair- Fête du patrimoine

Fête du patrimoine- today a PBL event was sponsored by teacher, Mademoiselle Bonnette.  This morning students defended their ‘innovations and inventions’ project.
Fête du patrimoine, aujourd’hui un événement PBL a été parrainé par l’enseignant, Mademoiselle Bonnette. Ce matin, les étudiants ont défendu leursinnovations et inventions’ projet.


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Teaching is more than a prescription or curricula

So, the BC Government just released a grocery list of Curriculum amendments. After last years’ BCEdPlan there remains very little consensus. About direction. Consultation was superficial and clouded by election campaign and a severed teacher’s negotiation. Education for a decade since contracts were torn up and policy, designed around Fraser Institute reports, has been in turmoil. Year2000 Royal Commission long forgotten. Despite this, BC public education has excelled. Our children have been served pretty well compared with other global jurisdiction. Spectacular special needs integration, economic crash, teacher relations upheaval and some major social change have all been adapted into schooling as best could be expected.

Perhaps the only trend now I’m sensing is a big disconnect between the stakeholders. Our students don’t follow all the hoopla and are essentially not informed or asked. Perhaps children shouldn’t be consulted either? They are children after all. Professionals and parents should be leading, guiding, parenting- the village should be raising them. Perhaps we have already gone too far already. Helicopter parenting and an enabling school system that is creating a generation of very anxious and neurotic youth. ( medical experts claim so) Some say our children are spoiled, other say they are neglected. I see both every day. I also see beauty and wonderful gifted youth.

Government and parents have a paradoxical love hate relationship. School boards and the Ministry try hard to make parents happy with policy tweaks yet major erosion of services and funding has caused grievances. I say funding because while budgets are large the 21stC has also seen private school underwritten with substantial monies and this has impacted the distribution of resources. A squeeze if you like. The recent CUPE contract to point. Costs have to come from current district budgets. Something in public school service to kids has to give. Duh.

The teacher stakeholder group is indifferent, frustrated if not disheartened. After decades if teaching, I have never seen teachers work so hard and tackle so many variables inside and outside the classroom but my real thesis today isn’t the hardships but the uniqueness of our plight. Teaching isn’t about curriculum or pedagogy or new prescriptive methods discovered in fain land or Louisiana( BC educators are already some of the most skilled and innovative already) it’s about relating to students as people.

I had a young woman drop by our KSS learning commons today and ask for Mr. Smith. :-) Our loyal on the job library assistant Mrs Kole naturally directed her so she could find me. As a hundred times a day, I expected some kind of inquiry about books or technology or whatever… Today was different. Today I was reminded about why teachers and direct relationship building is vital. Connected learning and blended learning is fine but education is greater than the sum of its technical pedagogical parts.

The young lady wanted to know about a few of my acrylic paintings I had recently displayed in the library. On a whim and encouragement from some art students I hung my own art projects in the library. She asked, “someone said you have paintings here, can I see them?” I felt honored if a little embarrassed. I’m not used to that kind of personal inquiry but we had a delightful talk about art, personal motivation and why we try new things.

You see I just started painting this spring because some grade 12 kids coaxed me. I was a quasi fine arts patron at KSS setting up a gallery in the library and trying to help out whenever I could, . visiting shows etc. This delightfully mature girl was on a mission of inquiry. She was seeking a spark of interest. She was reaching out for the human experience. Taking risk. Building personal relationships of exploration and trust such as this, big or small, are priceless investments in our youth. No curriculum or trendy political motivation or school of thought will change that. We need to invest in our people- in our children, not shiny new things. Years ago I liked the expression Hi-Touch over Hi-Tech. I think it still applies more than ever.





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A school library is many things…

We have many academically inspired moments or literary events that occupy our school day at the KSS Library. Our Learning Commons is often a hub of intensity for faculty, classes and always packed with teens intently completely projects, seeking materials or cramming for some exam. Our Commons is designed to tackle these scholarly pursuits but it also keenly functions as a safe social space. Occasionally, we just get teens seeking solitude or quiet reading. Our staff tries to protect this role, despite the bustling pace as a technology and creation hub. Example being our sunny reading lounge. Yes. And comfy chairs. :-)


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Culham Mashup- banned books project based learning

IMG_0006culhamMs. Culham English class project -collaboration with the KSS Library- a trailer mashup during Freedom to Read Week Canada. annotated posters of banned books read during project. displays. book talks….

-Project:    Research your book .You are looking to find 3 challenges for your book. Combine the title of your book with “censorship,” “banned,” “controversy,” “challenge” etc. Try to find challenges that have taken place in Canada. If you cannot find a sufficient number of challenges, you may need to switch books. Write down the date and location of the challenge, and a brief 3-4 sentence summary of the reasons and the results.

Read or skim through your book and find 3 direct quotations that could make your book controversial. Record the quote and page number.  Summarize your book in 5-7 sentences. Do not copy the summary on the back or inside cover of the novel, write your own.  Write a 6-7 sentence paragraph convincing me and your classmates why this book should or should not be censored or banned. Be prepared to discuss this in an informal setting.   Create a poster that displays a likeness of the cover of your book, or illustrates the theme and characters of the book. You will not necessarily have read the book, but through research and skimming you should know enough about it to envision related illustrations. The poster will be on large printer paper (provided), coloured with felt pens or pencil crayons. A poster that only contains computer pictures, internet pictures or clip art will not be acceptable. Artistic ability is not necessary, but creativity and effort are.

Banned Books annotated posters mashup…

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KSS Music Dept presents- Encore 2013

Music is good for your brain, your soul and your stress level.  This concert is guaranteed to raise your spirits and your endorphin levels .  Our bands play at a professional level.  I had the pleasure of listening to some of our students play with the Okanagan Symphony orchestra on Friday…they are that good!  Our choirs have also performed with the professionals and been recognized for their talent.  Take the time to support the bands and choirs and let music bring you to a better place.  See poster below for details. Tickets available in multipurpose room.

FEB  5, 6 th   7:00pm  KCT


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Pink Shirt Day Feb 27 in the Oknagan

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs are once again renewing our stand against bullying by marking
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 as this year’s Pink Shirt Day in the Okanagan.

We hope you will join us!
Pink Shirt Day 2013 will once again be an opportunity to increase public awareness in the Okanagan, and to demonstrate that we are all a part of the solution and won’t tolerate bullying any longer. The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs will be joining this National movement for the fifth year in our valley, and together in partnership with our schools, families and with other community partners we are working to create an environment of respect year- round to make our Clubs, schools, and streets safer.
Please join with us by purchasing your new 2013 designed Pink T-shirt and wear it to work, school, and out in the community to make your statement. (See order form attached.) All proceeds from T-shirts sold will help support anti-bullying initiatives throughout the year within the Okanagan
Boys and Girls Clubs.

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KSS Debates – tourney hosts Feb 2

This group of high school students are an amazing tribute to our teen population.  Not only are they bright and enthusiastic, they display the skills and output made possible by a strong public school education system. We so often hear the noise of sadness, disruption, bullying, evil even; however,  this noise is just that- media noise. Our kids are terrific and we, Canadians, should be proud of the many students who not only manage each and every day to work hard and learn but excel like these debate kids all over BC. I speak up for the silent majority who admire and dedicate support to these young men and women. Without out support, their hope and effort would be diminished. We should be grateful for teachers like Ms.Taylor and the hundreds of others around BC who work toward similar goals. Volunteer if you can and enjoy the intellectual expression of teens that debate offers! – Al Smith, KSS

On Saturday, February 2nd, from 9:00 – 4:00, the KSS Debate Team will be hosting the Southern Interior Regional Debate Tournament.

There will be teams from Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops attending.
This tournament is a qualifier for the Law Foundation Cup (Provincials) held March 1-2, in Trail.
For students needing volunteer hours, we are always looking for timekeepers and chairpersons.  We are also looking for judges if any teachers would like to volunteer (lunch and snacks provided).  we will be using the rooms in the math/English hall, MPR, and the theater.   Feel free to stop by and watch some very talented KSS students debate.  Debates are open to the public.
Any questions, please send them my way.
Joanne Taylor
Kelowna Secondary School
Communications 11 & 12, English 11, English 10 & Debate

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Debating Owls excel – again

The Owls Debate Team just got home from the Penticton tournament. Here is the rundown.
2nd Place Team:
Katie & Zoe
3rd Place Team:
Sam & Teaghan
3rd Place Individuals:

1st Place Team Seniors:
Travis & Aislinn
1st Place Individuals Seniors:
2nd Place Individuals Seniors:
3rd Place Individuals:

Coach: Joanne Taylor


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KSS Debaters climb to the top in Rossland

Terrific effort and achievement everyone! The resolution, That government bailouts are


Well, we are back from the Debate Tournament hosted in Rossland.

The kids were AMAZING and we had AMAZING results!!!

We swept  the senior division.

Individuals – Senior (Grade 11/12)

First Place: Travis

Second Place: Aislinn

Third Place: Kyle


First Place: Travis  & Aislinn

Second Place: Kyle & Daniel

Third Place: Hanna & Kevin J

First Place to Tenth Place we took in the senior division (individuals).

Junior: Grade 10  Shaun  & Jeffrey  placed 4th with my next 3 junior teams placing 5th, 6th and 7th.  Only Shaun  had debated before.  The other 7 debaters – this was their very first tournament.

-J. Taylor



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Me 2 We

Frequent patrons to our Learning Commons were off to the Me2We event at the coast. Ms. Culham, one of the sponsor teachers wrote a brief below:


Hello Everyone!

We returned from our field trip to Vancouver late Thursday night, and I wanted to tell you all about it!
We left for Vancouver Wednesday afternoon, and arrived at Dr. Charles Best Secondary School in Coquitlam, the school that hosts SD23 teachers and students every year. Approximately 700 students from grades 6-12, and probably 60 teachers gathered to get to know each other as well as possible, and listen to some terrific student speakers. Our own Abby Jones was one of 6 students who led the events for the evening, getting kids pumped for social change, globally and locally. This is especially cool because there are representatives for social justice from all of the schools in our district, and they have a chance to hear each other’s ideas. There was a great presentation from Aboriginal students from Kelowna and West Kelowna, who sang and drummed, and announced that they will have a 24 hour drum-athon in the spring to raise awareness for bullying. In the end the individual school groups got together to plan for the rest of the year, and we at KSS have goals to finish our fundraiser for our school in Ecuador, but to do as much as we possibly can for our school, and our local community.
The next morning we headed to Rogers Arena, where we listened to some amazing speakers and entertainers. Along with the message of improving the living situations for those in need, there was also a big focus on bullying. A lot of the presenters spoke about what they faced in their youth, and stressed the notion that we can all change the climate in our schools, and in our lives.
(Don’t read any further if you are waiting for the TV Broadcast Sunday night).
The first presenter was Magic Johnson, who explained what it was like facing teams who didn’t want to play against him after it came out that he was HIV Positive, and encouraged the audience to love others without prejudice, and treat everyone with dignity, no matter what. We also heard from Christie Clark, Mark and Craig Kielburger, the founders of Free the Children and Me to We. We heard from Justice Sinclair, the first Aboriginal Judge in Manitoba, and the second in Canada. He talked about the mistreatment of Aboriginal people throughout Canada’s history, and particularly the after-effects of the treatment of Aboriginal children in Residential schools, and how that has caused irreparable damage for the families of those children. He will be working to bring to light these issues, and keep them from being shoved into the dark recesses of our collective conscience.
We had performances from One Republic, Shawn Desman, My Name is Kay, and an absolutely inspiring speech and performance from Demi Lovato, for whom the crowd went absolutely wild. There was a surprise performance from Cody Simpson (who I was not familiar with :D but i’ve heard the Family Channel), who talked about the bullying he faced when he began sharing his passion for music and dancing with his peers.
At the beginning of the event, each member of the audience was given a necklace with a plastic raindrop, and we were given instructions to activate it at a certain time. We were surprised by a solo Cirque du Soleil performance called One Drop, part of Free the Children’s Water Initiative, and in the middle all 20,000 + water drop necklaces lit up, and then the illumination revolved in a wave throughout the audience, It was absolutely awesome.
We heard from Spencer West, a Free the Children Ambassador who had both legs removed when he was five years old, and who was told by his Doctors that he would “never be a productive member of society,” but has been proving them wrong for decades, and who has just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on his hands in an effort to raise money to bring clean water to communities in Africa who are without.
The highlight for me was an interview between Craig Kielburger and the Nobel Peace Laureate and social rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is most widely known for his efforts in ending apartheid in South Africa. He is an amazing character, with a lovely sense of humour and a passion for peace and acceptance. I recorded his interview with my iPhone from the third tier of seats, and I apologize for the poor quality and shakiness, but it is worth it to hear him speak. Around the middle of the second video, you can see the water drop necklaces light up again.
Part 1- 10 Minutes:
Part 2- 6 Minutes:
If you have any students who went on this trip, please ask them about it!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Dayna Culham

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