FSA provides information

Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff clarifies to parents why SD83 supports use of FSA

From October 4 to November 12, 2021, our students in grade 4 and grade 7 will be participating in the Foundation Skills Assessment Test, also known as the “FSA”. This is a provincially mandated standardized test that uses broad metrics to determine whether students are meeting curricular expectations at grade level in literacy and numeracy.

Though it is a standardized test and subject to the same limitations as other standardized tests, we believe it provides important information on individual student learning. We use the FSA assessment results in conjunction with other forms of district and classroom assessments to provide a comprehensive picture as to how each student is doing, and to provide important feedback to school and district staff in regard to instruction. School District No. 83 has often used information from the FSA and Ministry Graduation Assessments in budget conversations to allocate additional staffing for the purpose of better supporting teachers with their instructional practice in our classrooms. 

The FSA assesses student learning up to and including the previous year’s grade.  Placing the assessment in early October allows our teachers to use each student’s results to inform their instruction over the balance of the school year and make sure student learning needs are being met. 

The time spent on the FSA testing cycle amounts to approximately six hours in grade four, and another six hours in grade seven, not including practice (with the secondary assessments adding just another six hours in total). This amounts to just over one-half of one per cent of their instructional time for that school year, with the two test cycles taking up just a tenth of a per cent of instructional time from kindergarten through grade twelve. We think that these assessments provide a tremendous amount of information given the time spent, and that it is an incredibly efficient way to collect that information. In fact, the need for this insight may be even greater, given the interruptions to learning that we have recently experienced. 

We do agree with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) perspective that the results have been misused by the Fraser Institute, and that it is both wrong and misleading to rank schools in this way. We do, however, believe the test is worthwhile is spite of this, and we would be in favour of using it even if it were not mandatory in our province’s schools. It should be noted that this light assessment regimen is a completely different experience than what student endure in some U.S. jurisdictions, who may issue general skill or even more curriculum-specific tests monthly instead of just a few times from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve as we do in British Columbia. 

If you remain unconvinced of the FSA’s importance and wish your grade four or grade seven student to be exempt from this month’s testing process, please ask your school principal for an FSA testing schedule, then keep your child at home during the testing times. While we are not permitted to excuse a student from the FSA because of a parent request, parents always have the right to keep their child at home, and this right will be respected during FSA testing, in the same way it would be in other circumstances. As a courtesy in this regard, please note that I have asked the principals not to have students make up the tests at a later time if they were kept at home by parents for the purpose of test exemption. Students participating in an online program may make arrangements to join an assessment session at their neighbourhood school in a separate setting, or at an alternate site. 

Fire Prevention Week and Contest

Fire Prevention Week will be taking place during the week of Oct 4-8. Thank you in advance to Salmon Arm firefighter and Hillcrest parent Tyler Stevenson who will be doing Fire Safety/Rescue Presentations will each of our 14 classes during this week!

Below is information on the Fire Prevention Poster & Video Costests if your child would like to participate. Deadline for submissions is October 22.

CHEQ (Childhood Experiences Questionnaire)

All SD83 Kindergarten families will be receiving an email from our school district today with a unique link to the CHEQ (Childhood Experiences Questionnaire).

The CHEQ is a questionnaire completed by parents and caregivers at the start of the Kindergarten school year. It helps teachers, school administrators, and community partners to provide and improve targeted supports for children and families.

The CHEQ is used to:

  • Develop district and community-wide programs and policies;
  • Better understand the early experiences of children and families; and
  • Improve classroom planning and school programming.

 The CHEQ includes questions about children’s experiences with language and numeracy, nutrition and sleep habits, activities at home and in the community, and access to and use of resources and services. Please reach out to Jennifer Findlay, District Principal – Early Learning, at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca if you have any questions. 

CHEQ Information Sheet

Hold and Secure ended

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83:

On behalf of SD83 I wish to thank you for your understanding regarding the “hold and secure” issued on Friday, September 17, 2021. Given the situation that unfolded at several schools in and around Salmon Arm, it was necessary to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Though the term “lockdown” has been reported by some media sources, this is inaccurate. The “hold and secure” we initiated was a means of preventing unauthorized individuals from entering our schools.

After much consultation, we feel confident that the “hold and secure” can be lifted as of tomorrow, September 21, 2021. We have encouraged schools to limit their number of entry points. Most schools will move toward having the main entries locked after the opening bell, the exception may be our Secondary Schools with open campuses. You may gain access to the school by calling the main office. Where possible, additional supervision will be added to playgrounds during recess and noon hours.

Once again, I’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding. The messaging you received on Friday was an attempt to keep you informed and was done in the spirit of transparency. If you have questions or concerns, I would welcome a thoughtful and respectful conversation.

We look forward to moving ahead and focussing our attention on the wonderful achievements of our students.


Donna Kriger
Superintendent of Schools

Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is just around the corner! As Orange Shirt Day is now the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation there will actually be no school on this day. Consequently, we will be asking students to wear Orange on Monday September 27 as we begin our “Orange Shirt Week” activities and come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope!

As part of Orange Shirt Week we will also be kicking off our Secwepemc Flag Pole fundraising with a Coin Drive! The goal will be to collect enough coins as a school to stretch the length of the 30′ flag pole we plan to purchase and raise along side our BC and Canada flags in the front of the school. Thank you for helping your child participate in these important events.

Breakfast Club Open!

Our breakfast club is now open! We will be offering a “Grab and Go” style breakfast again this year. Students who are hungry can go to the exterior Multi-Purpose room door (near the North East corner of our parking lot) to pick up their breakfast. Students are asked to sanitize their hands before eating.

Below is our current menu:

  • Monday – Yogert, muffins, fruit and hardboiled eggs
  • Tuesday – Smoothies and bagels with fruit
  • Wednesday – Egg and cheese wraps with fruit
  • Thursday – Smoothies and bagels with fruit
  • Friday – Egg Mcmuffins with fruit

Thank you to all of our volunteers for ensuring this program can continue. A huge thank you as well to our Breakfast Program Coordinator, Kayla Vannieuwenhuizen, for organizing everything for us. We are still looking for some help on our spare list so if you think you might be able to fill in once in a while please contact Kayla at kaylavann88@gmail.com.

Apple Fundraiser

Our first PAC fundraiser of the year is on now!

Apple orders can be placed through our Hot Lunch and Fundraising program by following the instructions below. Orders must be placed by Sunday October 3, 2021.

Note: Every parent, new or old, must register their students and select their new classrooms for the year.


  1. Go to: http://hillcrest.schoollunchorders.net
  2. Select: “Click here to register” (Due to staff and class changes ALL students must register. ALL last year’s accounts have been deleted to ensure each student is assigned to their correct new class)
  3. Complete your (parent/caregiver) account information. Access code: HCHL
  4. Select “Students” then “Add New” and enter each student separately being sure to assign them to their correct class.
  5. Once all students have been added, return to the “Home” page and then select “Manage Orders”. Here is where you can place orders for students (or parents if you plan to volunteer and would like to order)

If you have any questions please contact kaylavann88@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Info for Kindy Families

School District No. 83 would like to extend a huge welcome to our Kindergarten families! During Gradual Entry, the Kindergarten team at each school is busy helping our K students learn about classroom routines and procedures, as well as helping them adjust to the new social and emotional realities of school. 

Here is some information for Kindergarten families about school health services provided by public health staff. Please contact Jennifer Findlay, District Principal – Early Learning, at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca if you have any questions about school health services or the Kindergarten program, in general.

Letter from Interior Health for families of kindergarten students

Message to the Superintendent

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83 Students: 

I want to extend my thanks to you for the patience and understanding you have demonstrated over the first few days of school start up. The accounts being shared from our schools speak to the excitement and hope which exists among the students and staff.  

As a district we are grateful that many of the restrictions imposed during the last school year have been removed. However, the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer have mandated masking among all Grade 4-12 students due to the prevalence of the Delta variant. The province has also requested that school districts cooperate with their local health regions to accommodate pop up vaccination clinics at some school sites for families and students who are 12 years of age and older.  

I would ask that you carefully read the documents we are sharing on behalf of Interior Health. As an educational organization we believe parents/guardians/caregivers play an important and necessary role in educating their child(ren). As a result, I ask that you take the time to discuss the topic of vaccination with your child(ren).  

We are grateful for you our stakeholders, as you are much needed partners in ensuring our schools remain open for face-to-face instruction.  We have high confidence in our school staffs along with members of the transportation, facilities and custodial team who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of your children while they are in our care.  

Wishing you and those you love health and wellness. 

Donna L. Kriger,
Superintendent of Schools

Letter from Interior Health

If the links don’t work in the letter please click on the following:

Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools

Interior Health Order

Clinic Dates and Times

To learn more about Mature Minor Consent

Class Placement Emails Sent

This is just a quick message to confirm that class placement emails for students in Grades 1-5 have now been sent. If the email did not arrive in your inbox please check your junk mail. If you still can’t find the class placement email there, please see one of our staff members on supervision in the morning as they will be able to help you and your child find their new class. See you in the morning!

Updated Safety Plan available

SD83’s Communicable Disease Safety Plan is now available. The purpose of this document is to provide School District No. 83 staff, parents, students, and visitors with important information that is required to help prevent communicable disease.

In meeting the Ministry of Education’s overarching principles for the COVID-19 response, School District No. 83 will be following these principles with respect to health and safety:

• All schools and facilities will adhere to the standards, guidelines, and direction from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and WorkSafeBC.

• In collaboration with education partners, the Ministry may develop additional health and safety requirements for all schools to ensure consistency across the K-12 system. These additions will enhance, not duplicate, PHO and WorkSafeBC requirements.

• Psychological safety measures and trauma-informed practice will be valued and implemented alongside physical health and safety measures.

• Effective communication with all community partners, parents, caregivers, students, unions, and employees is an essential aspect of successfully implementing these guidelines.

Read complete plan here

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome Back to School

Dear Hillcrest Families,

I hope this email finds you well and that you were all able to enjoy some quality family time this summer, despite the smoke and fires in our area. I was extremely proud of our students, staff, and entire community last year for ensuring that quality learning continued with minimal disruptions or distractions. I have no doubt that we will be just as successful this year. The staff at Hillcrest have been busy getting their classrooms set up and ensuring we are well prepared to welcome students back to school. We can’t wait to see all our students’ smiling faces again next week!!!

Below is some important information about our school start-up.

1. Year End Slide Show 2020-2021 – Below is a link to the year-end slide show that was shared with students on the last day of school in June. I thought I sent this link by email in July, but I have been told it was not received. Hopefully you will enjoy the opportunity to look back on some of the highlights from last year as you get ready for a new school year to begin!

LINK: https://youtu.be/fJ1k7lSg_5s

2. SD83 Return to School Plan – I know that we were all hoping COVID 19 would be in our rear-view mirror by now, however, that is not the case. Below is a link to a summary of the steps SD83 has taken to ensure safety and wellbeing remain a priority this school year. Please review this information thoroughly as a family to ensure everyone if familiar with our plan.

LINK: https://hil.sd83.bc.ca/2021/08/31/its-almost-time-for-school/

3. Health Checks and Masks – Last year our community did an amazing job of ensuring students and staff stayed home if they were sick. This is one of the most important strategies in keeping our community safe and ensuring school can continue as normal as possible.  Parents will be required to complete a daily Health Check with their child again this year. The easiest way to complete the Health Check and get answers to your questions is by using the K-12 Health Check Website or K-12 Health Check App. Masks will also be required again this year for all staff, visitors, and students in grades 4 and 5. Masks are encouraged for students in grades K-3.

4. First Day of School – Grade 1 – 5 students will start school on Tuesday, September 7.  When the Welcoming Bell rings at 8:08am, returning students will line-up at the exterior door of last year’s classroom and new students will report to the office for an orientation. Students will spend the first day in their last year’s classrooms, so we can determine who has moved away and who has recently registered. Students will be dismissed at 11:16 am on Tuesday, September 7. 

Assuming we are able to finalize our class placements on Tuesday September 7, Grade 1-5 students will be able to go to their new classrooms on Wednesday, September 8. Parents will be notified who their child’s new teacher is by email on Tuesday evening. Students will report to the outside door of their new classroom at 8:08am on Wednesday September 8.

Kindergarten students will begin their Gradual Entry on Wednesday, September 8.  Information about Kindergarten Gradual Entry was sent home in June at our Kindergarten Gift Bag event. If you did not receive this info please click on the link below. A follow up email will also be sent by the end of the week to inform parents which group their child is in on the first day.

LINK: Welcome to Kindergarten Letter – Sept 2021

5. New Bell Schedule – In order to meet the ministry required minutes of instruction this year we have had to extend our school day by 2min. As a result, classes will begin at 8:12am this year and students will be dismissed at 2:16pm.

LINK: Bell Schedule 2021-2022

6. School Supplies – Families do not need to go out and purchase school supplies for their children. The school has purchased school supplies for each classroom, and families are charged a School Supply Fee to cover the cost of the supplies used over the course of the year. In preparation for the first day, students will need to have a backpack and a clean pair of indoor runners (with non-marking soles). A School Supply Fee Letter will be sent home as part of a newsletter during the first week.

7. Breakfast Program and Safe Arrival VolunteersWe are excited to share that the Breakfast Program will be operating again this year with a “Grab and Go” style breakfast. Please email kaylavann88@gmail.com if you can help. We are also looking for volunteers for our Safe Arrival Program. Please email cspottoc@sd83.bc.ca if you can help.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the SD83 Newsline Welcome Back to School email that should have arrived in your inbox today. Have a wonderful long weekend with your families and please don’t hesitate to call the school at (250) 832-7195 if you have any questions or concerns.


Gord Ritchie

Principal – Hillcrest Elenmentary School