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Project Pickle Ramps up for another year!

By BYCOOP admin - Posted on 15 September 2013

Project Pickle Ramps up for another year!

The Delta School District will see its students getting their hands dirty again. From the Delta Optimist.......


BY: Sandor Gyarmati / Delta Optimist 
August 30, 2013

Delta students will be getting their hands on more high-tech gear, but will also get their hands dirty as a new school year begins next Tuesday.

In an interview this week with the Optimist, district superintendent Dianne Turner talked about some of the new programs and expanding initiatives for Delta students and teachers for the 2013/14 school year.

"We have a significant amount of our technology plan rolling out with iPads and so on, and lots of teacher training that goes along with that," said Turner. "In fact, during the summertime our district principal of innovation and inquiry put on a boot camp on

iPads for teachers. There's a lot of enthusiasm for more technology use in the classroom."

The district already has a Laptop for Learning project for grades 4 to 7, while a new iPad project will begin for kids from kindergarten to Grade 3. Some high school classrooms will also have them.

Not every student will have their own iPad, though, so the devices will be shared in classrooms.

Since there's no provincial funding for the new tools, the district has managed to come up with the funds with the help of parent advisory councils.

Meanwhile, the district has partnered with an innovative urban farming business to launch a first-of-its-kind agricultural program in B.C. The district will begin farming some of its underutilized properties to grow an array of artisan quality fruits and vegetables, using some of the products in school cafeterias, while donating other produce to the local food bank. Students will be directly involved, having a hands-on role in the evolving new urban farming education program.

The district consulted with Kwantlen Polytechnic University to help shape the classroom component, but when it comes to the growing, it has teamed up with SOLEFood Street Farms, co-founded by farmer, author and advocate Michael Ableman, who has made news for his unique urban farms, including one next to B.C. Place Stadium.

Even before that arrangement, a large garden project took shape at Seaquam Secondary, while other sites are also being considered, including a vacant district-owned property on Highway 10 near the 96th Street interchange.

Last year saw a garden project in which students grew vegetables on 55 raised garden beds at 15 school mini-farms. That project saw hundreds of cucumbers planted and cared for over the summer by senior secondary students as well as those from Kwantlen. Called Project Pickle, the cucumbers were harvested and stored for pickling that will soon commence.

Parent advisory councils will be able to sell the pickles to help raise money for projects. Project Pickle will continue this year.

"Apparently, the pickling cucumbers harvest was huge. We should all be looking forward to some delicious dill pickles," Turner said.

The district isn't planning to launch any more specialty academies, the superintendent noted, but that might change as there has been interest in establishing one for the agricultural sector.

As far as the other new initiatives in Delta, one of the most compelling is a Strive program at South Delta Secondary, which is unique to the district.

Already fully booked, it's is a cross-curricular course where students study English, math, physical education and science by exploring the natural settings of South Delta. Taken a couple of days a week in one solid block, unlike regular courses which are split into different set times with no integration, the cross-curricular connections, according to the district, will emphasize holistic activities.

Some of the other changes in Delta include a reworked aboriginal curriculum and more student involvement in a district blog, while a new in-house website called Delta Learns has been established for teachers, administrators and, eventually, students.

A major seismic upgrade and renovation is underway at SDSS.

Seeing a steady decline over the years, the Delta school district had 15,346 students enrolled last year. Projections have that number at 15,129 for 2013/2014, a drop that will have obvious budget implications, unless new money comes from the province. Most of that decline is in Ladner and Tsawwassen.

Meanwhile, as a new school year begins, there's new trouble on the labour front, this time from unionized custodial and other support staff.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 27,000 support staff, including CUPE Local 1091 in Delta, continues to threaten a walkout this fall unless a collective deal is reached. Support staff hasn't had a wage increase in four years.

Turner confirmed that school boards have been told they'll have to cover any wage increase to support staff, which would also have budget implications.

© Copyright 2013


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