Category Archives: KSS Student Body

Me2We Owls in Van

We are now halfway through the event and we have had appearances and performances by Selena Gomez, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Neverest, Victoria Duffield, Spencer West, Kreig and Marc Kielburger, Robin Wizawaty, and Mufasa the poet.















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Self Portrait Series by Kenzie

Kenzie Morgan is a photography student in the Class of 2014. We should remember Ms. Morgan, not just because she is a scholar and fine artist but Kenzie will be contributing vibrant thoughtful images for years to come. Check out her Self Portrait Series below.

The purpose of this digital photography project was to take twenty-four self-portraits, not necessarily all head shots, and to choose six of them, edit these, and add quotes that coincide with the photos to help demonstrate an aspect of the photographer, be it a hobby, personality trait, lifestyle, etc.  For example, of the photos I’ve attached, the Akubra hat photo demonstrates my Australian heritage, the books my love of reading, the eyes my continuous efforts to keep a good perspective, the beaker photo my perfectionism, and the blossoms how I change each year (the blossoms represent not only the changing of seasons but me, seeing as they tend to bloom on my birthday). 
   This project not only helped us (my Photography classmates and me) in continuing to improve in digital photography, but to become increasingly comfortable with photo editing programs…-Kenzie Morgan 
by Kenzie Morgan 2014

by Kenzie Morgan 2014






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Owls are Leaders that endure.. @bccancer

I think we all should hear about some positive school news because there isn’t to much lately.

BC Cancer Foundation (@bccancer) 2014-06-03, 3:02 PM @kelowna_owls have raised $300,000 for cancer research since 2001! So proud to have you as our partners in discovery! From Al Smith – @kssreads

I usually reserve this blog for library and learning concepts or issues but heck what is more important than building the sense of community service in students and social commitment than cancer campaigns and science research?

At KSS we lived it with cancer victims in our student body. We still live it with cancer survivors on our faculty. Students, fit wives of PE teachers, Fine Arts teachers- librarians; no one is untouched. At KSS, our Rec Leadership Program includes several classes of teens led by teachers Fane Triggs and Tony Sodaro. In addition to the instruction pieces they volunteer loads of energy and hundreds of extra hours each year to package projects like the KSS CANCER WEEK event. Not just one activity but a comprehensive multi-event/multi-day campaign. It’s not just a letter home. It’s a full scale real world exercise in community service and fundraising. Car washes, breakfasts, HEADSHAVING , Golf tournaments, rallies, …more.., The school has supported the event over the years, as they do so many other large KSS projects because we strive to provide our students with opportunities and experiential learning that includes people skills and learning by doing and sharing the experience as a team. These mostly extracurricular events cannot be easily run in small schools and they cannot be a success without many teachers ( and admin support) working voluntarily in the evenings and during weekends. Big projects mean many extra teachers need to be away from their own children in order to dedicate themselves to KSS students. They don’t do these talks for any extra money. They don’t do it for promotions. They don’t do it for for any other reason than a sense of professionalism and a bond to Owl culture and tradition.

The Cancer Week campaign is now part of our school culture. It’s part of our yearly planning and conversations. I’ve come to be proud of how so many teachers annually dedicate time and energy on various extracurricular projects at KSS that drive community partnerships. We’ve seen how our school can plan and execute large events with notable excellence. Teachers have worked with well with administration, district staff, patents, students and the wide community to build a school project like four decades of Western Canada Basketball, or the notable Encore Music or hosting Debate or BC Provincial tournaments or Student Leadership Conferences… Etc.

These events take heart. They take teachers with skills and volunteerism that very few people understand- especially the Government. Wondrous events like the KSS CANCER WEEK campaign that endure and built hope beyond the classroom walls exist because teachers like Triggs and Sodaro chose to be as resilient as any survivor and don’t lose hope.

Think of the positive impact to thousands students over a dozen years? Who may become future Foundation chairpersons?

Think of a school project that averages a donation of $25000 EACH year?

Share this with those who think ‘those who can’t -teach’ . Those of our community who may be the most gifted and dedicated to people and certainly children- are teachers. That’s worth something!

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Filed under Education, KSS Student Body, Reflective Learning

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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Filed under KSS Student Body, Library Events, Reflective Learning, Student Showcase

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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Filed under criticism, Education, KSS Student Body, Reflective Learning

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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Filed under KSS Student Body, Library Events, Library Update, Photos, School Library

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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