welcome to bring your students down to the MPR so that they can check out local post-secondary opportunities. 

P1 and 2 (or all of your classes) to see what is offered by visiting the MPR during the lunch break. Thank you Career Centre

 KSS Opportunity Fair Thursday May 28, 2015

10:30am to 1:30pm MPR Day One P1,2,3,4

Annual KSS dance show, entitled “Flow” – collaboration with GESS

Hello Friends!
Please accept our cordial invitation to the annual KSS dance show, entitled “Flow”. We are collaborating with George Elliot; performing at the Creekside Theatre, Thursday May 21st.  16 numbers, a variety of dance styles!!
Tickets are only $5 for students/seniors, and $7 for adults. Seating is limited

Kss Cancer Campaign 

Hi Everyone, 

The Leadership students and the B.C Cancer Foundation have developed a website to make it easier for student that are shaving their heads to collect money.

If students are asking or you hear that a student is interested in shaving their head to raise money please point them in the direction of the website below.


Also check out various activities created by student leadership for this traditional KSS service event. 

Thank you for your help



Canada Reads encourages critical thinking… 

It’s another CanadaReads season. The roots of ‘KSSreads’, our school library blog, can be found in the pioneer years of CanadaReads. Some of our Lit a Circle projects in our classrooms borrow elements of the CanadaReads model. 

Celebrate literature, critical thinking and the book club by visiting one of the program’s platforms. The web site has previews, author bios, celebrity defenders pieces , previous nominees and winners and more… The concept of people across a huge nation like Canada, sharing a dialogue about good books is such a testimony to a healthy culture. Radio, TV, Web, social media all at once, Canadians are talking books… Browse and consider reading one of the titles and join the conversation. 🙂 Thank you CBC for sponsoring. The world is watching in shock. 🙂 Crazy Canucks! 

What is the one book to break barriers? That’s the question host Wab Kinew will be asking for the 14th edition of CBC’s battle of the books.

Canada Reads 2015 is all about books that can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues. The debates take place March 16-19.(CBC)

Canada Reads takes place March 16-19, 2015. Here’s how you can tune in:


10 a.m. ET. video livesteam on CBCbooks.ca
On-demand video will be available each afternoon

11 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. in NFLD) on CBC Radio One
8 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. in NFLD) on CBC Radio One
A podcast will be available to download each afternoon

4 p.m. local time on CBC Television
7 p.m. ET on documentary Channel
9 p.m. PT on documentary Channel

Film – What Makes Us Tic showing…

KSS Video Production and Bella Thompson will be hosting a viewing of Bella’s re-filmed and edited “What Makes Us Tic”, a labour of love that has taken three years to complete. Come join us for a select viewing of her work on Tuesday, January 27th, at lunchtime in Room 185. We will begin at 12pm sharp. We hope to see you there! What Makes Us Different? If you don’t have time, please feel free to watch it here:


What Makes Us Tic is a documentary film that aims to inspire and raise awareness about Tourette Syndrome; a commonly misunderstood disorder. With interviews from students, doctors and teachers, the film gives a wide perspective of what it is like to live with Tourette Syndrome. But ultimately, the film is meant to make you ask “what is it that makes us different?” This documentary is designed to be a free resource that can be used by anyone to educate others about Tourette Syndrome! If you would like to hold a screening of the documentary, or would be interested in other teaching materials to compliment the documentary, please email me at tic@bellamaria.ca! You can also visit the website for the film:

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that is characterized by tics; which are like an action or a sound that you have to do. Motor tics can be as simple as eye blinking to head jerking, and vocal tics can range from squeaks to barks. To keep it simple, ticcing is like sneezing. You can only hold in your tics for so long before they explode out of you! Tourette Syndrome typically occurs between five and twelve years old, and while there is no known cure for the disorder, it will quite often diminish and almost disappear after puberty. But really, Tourette Syndrome is different for every single person with it, so it is hard to pinpoint “normalities” within the disorder.

Christmas in the Library

Planning our 13th Annual winter Staff Reception. A social event hosted by the Library to give admin, faculty and staff a chance to browse new resources, reading selections and select some vacation reading; in a social setting.
Alice Munro Commons

Alice Munro Commons

  • Book Displays and reading lists
  • Light Lunch
  • Draw Prizes
  • Share/browse
  • Tips and prizes
  • Signout
  • Chat
  • Relax or Read

April 2 is World Autism Day

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day


  • Read Scientific American article from Ebsco database
  • Read page on CBC George


Kelowna Secondary School
I’m a mutt and very proud of it. I’m proud to have Irish blood and Ojibwa blood and Scottish blood.  -Joseph Boyden

Everyone shouts, few listen…

“Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen.”

– Clifford Stoll 1989

Clifford Stoll is an American astronomer and author. He is best known for his pursuit of hacker Markus Hess in 1986 and the subsequent 1989 book, The Cuckoo’s Egg, which details his investigation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Cain’s well researched book emphatically provides examples of how we have evolved to devalue the contemplative well thought out expressions.”, our education culture these days has become confused with pace. (Smith 11.15.2012) We live with so much urgency, timetables, bells, deadlines…  Our solution is to give retests! No deadlines. No zeros. No lettergrades.  It’s confusing if not absurd. Education, or public schooling anyway, needs to slow down and let learning take a more natural course. It needs to embrace the introversion side of our brains. It needs more Zen.

Laughingly, last fall, a visiting speaker said to methat our library was very ‘feng shui’.  I had to laugh because despite my best efforts to make the space welcoming and a scholarly tone- mellow it is not.  I should bring on the green tea and work on more Feng Shui. Ban all testosterone, remove some plastic chairs, and acquire some kilim cushions. 😉 Maybe I should rewrite my Library Mission statement to read the “Tao of the Learning Commons” 😉

All joking aside… there is some truth to the intention. Where there is intention there is opportunity.  Without intention there is no progress. If we want to develop high functioning cost effective personalized learning communities- we need to listen better. Listen with our attitude and practices as much as our ears. We need to ‘stop talking’.



Works Cited
“Clifford Stoll.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Biography in Context. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.

Smith, A. “Quiet – the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”. KSSreads. Web. Nov. 15 2012. < https://kssreads.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/quiet-the-power-of-introverts-in-a-world-that-cant-stop-talking-by-susan-cain/ >

Stoll, Clifford. The cuckoo’s egg: tracking a spy through the maze of computer espionage. New York: Doubleday, 1989. Print.

Talisin. “Okpathways”. Morguefile. Image. Nov. 2005. http://mrg.bz/maNRu9


Amnesty- Write Rights… Teenage girl awakens spark of justice

Dec 10 is International Human Rights Day!
We should all be aware and more proactive about helping others, acting as agents fighting injustice home and abroad. But we don’t. We sleep.

20131204-231538.jpgWe get busy. We get complacent and egocentric. We get myopic about our world view and too often tune out or deselect any action because of guilt, laziness or media fatigue… Etc. students at KSS reawakened me! Woke me up from my sleep about Amnesty International’s programs and I’m a media focused adult. It took one of our intelligent, concerned activist youth to focus my lens again. It took a girl to wake me up.

It doesn’t need to be Ghandi. It can be you and me. Write for Rights is just on example. The simple act of physical letter writing- an action, however quaint in our smart phone age, can collectively represent a step toward justice. A handwritten note could touch another soul locked behind bars, isolated unfairly from his Christmas traditions. The ‘power of the pen’ , the quill, once produced a US Constitution, Magna Carta, or the abolition of slavery in the USA. Sadly, even with these democratic signposts, black market human trafficking and unlawful confinement of citizens by nation states, who should act better than trade thugs, continue to flourish. In our blessed free part of the world, we can forget that justice needs to be defended. My uncle gave his life fighting against political bullies in Italy during WWII. He died halfway around the world in a foreign country for the liberty of strangers! Surely I can write a letter for a few guys behind bars? We can all light a flame of hope with that simple gesture. It’s just takes us to be more mindful and less entitled.

Next time one hears stories of those ‘no good lazy, spoiled teenagers’ please be reminded- not in my neck of the woods! In my neighbourhood many many teens are incredibly sensitive, educated, and doing something to better the planet. It’s my generation who messed it up! So student activism is alive and well, even if in a renewal phase. So fellas, brothers in arms, young and old, join our sister, who woke me up and take action. Man up! And write a letter. Please.:-) peace. -Al Smith, Teacher-librarian

Amnesty International invites you to join us on International Human Rights Day for the world’s largest letter-writing event
Every year on December 10th, activists in more than 80 countries gather on their own or in large and small events to press governments to respond to a human rights concern on selected high-priority cases. We also write letters of hope and solidarity directly to prisoners or people experiencing human rights violations.(amnesty.ca)




Pledge to write>>> http://goo.gl/k0wj0d

June- bitter sweet

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

— Shauna Niequist

20130620-113056.jpg alas, to be such a well tempered soul …but especially for grads, this time of year is for reflection. As they look ahead, they also look back. As they feel sweet accomplishment (or relief) they also feel some melancholy about closing a chapter in life- high school. Another school yearend (typo: yearned), like dark chocolate, June for a teacher is a complex acquired taste.

It is a bitter and sweet month. Beach parties and exams. Prom dresses and lonely hearts. Transferring colleagues. Retirement soirées. There is such paradox in the conclusion of the high school calendar. The teens relish moving on yet we see the anxiety and sadness of leaving an old friend. My teacher-librarian partner, Sharon and I have been quite poignantly reminded this year of the gifts possessed by the Class of 2013 and the ground they have achieved yet we also have seen some anguish. We have shared moments like the tough angry boy who tears up reminiscing and the confident pretty girl who withers with doubt discussing college. We have shared the anxiety of retirees stepping away from three decades of service. We’ve seen scholars born as they defend history papers and artists discovered as their work gets juried. The paradox of high school is the nature of adolescence I suppose.

We teachers, know the glories of a teens’ talent and hard work that was kindled by a teachers reciprocal dedication. The joy of reading a wonderful piece of writing, yet knowing we have days of marking piled high on our desk, is the nature of year-end. We also endure every June the departure of some wonderful souls that touched us deeply. We are like stoic loving signposts to that always urgent train, youth, trying to escape schooling and rush full on into adulthood. Only later does that shiny bullet train wish it had slowed down and enjoyed the ride just a bit more. High school, a microcosm of life, is in a rush. Moving from one phase into another can be exhilarating but often is bitter sweet. You need to find a way to embrace both. Growth is an acquired taste.

I soak in the wonder of school in June yet find myself, quite emotional about its symbolism and contradictions. June for school, unlike the free world, is a year-end. It can be festive of course, full of charm like the new grad dress that adorns the young woman that seemingly blossomed just over night, or the handsome lad buying a suit for the first time. June is mostly rich in achievements, gold chords, bursaries, banquets, cleaning out lockers, -new beginnings; but for the introvert or the reflective person, June is also full of loss. Students and teachers alike, experience a kind of mourning. Teachers don’t talk about it whilst wearing their standard issue professional armour but the true master teacher doesn’t hide the truth that we grieve the departure of every class while celebrating another commencement. It pains us when teens fail to graduate or dropout. It also hurts to let them go. In this bitter sweetness parents and teachers share a kinship.

We will likely never see most of the Class of 2013. Whether the charming brat or the loyal scholar, we invest in every student, not just time or instruction but far more. The master teacher ( unlike what popular media tells us, we have many ) invests from his soul. He/she takes a child’s burdens with them during their commute. They worry about that teenagers well-being on every Rumour of a grad party. Over time, the master teacher develops conduits into that child’s mind and soul. They need to understand the teen as a human before they can truly effectively educate them. This is not some Socratic dream. This is the day to day transparent dynamic that evolves with years of experience. It’s about relationships not systems or techniques or curricula or BCedPlan. It is the ART of teaching.

One teen endearingly wrote to her English teacher, “we ran laps around the ILO’s (intended learning outcomes) clearly comprehending that the structures of schooling are hollow devices and that deeper connections with content and people is the true education. To witness these flashes of enlightenment is a powerful joy. To share them with other colleagues builds a fraternity not unlike soldiers or team athletes. To share moments of intimate humanity with a graduating teen or a fellow teacher is a kind of bliss no amount of contract dispute resolution or employer negotiations can trade. The technocrat, the jaded, or the uninformed adult doesn’t grasp this complex human dynamic very well. The adage, “Those that can’t- teach…” is such utter nonsense. Again, a paradox. Society has a love/hate relationship with the ‘teacher’ often made more toxic by mythology not truths. It scares people to talk about such intimacies. Teachers in their own way mourn the loss of this bond while celebrating every graduation diploma issued.

I think the Kindergarten teacher and the teacher of Grade 12 have more affinity for each others plight. We both understand birth and loss. The exit of a stage and the entrance into another chapter of life are common threads. We should invite all the K teachers to our high school Commencement. We should celebrate these pivot points of life and honour those people who have invested in the lives of these children. We don’t, or we do not articulate it in a meaningful way. Teachers used to be honoured at these events. They used to be announced in a procession, in academic dress and seated at the front of the hall as honoured guests. Traditions have been distorted with scale, union conflicts, timelines, etc. Old fashioned? Perhaps. Justly, we should celebrate and focus on our grads but too often the educator is an anonymous spectator. They are seen as ‘workers’ or ‘volunteers’. Another paradox.

The teachers I collaborate with every day invest in their students like a parent- heart and soul, yet, we are seldom listened to or respected. We often feel an unexplained sadness because the investments we make, with love, are ignored or misunderstood. That is a kind of grief. Sure, teachers can describe horror stories, troubled kids, bureaucratic bungling, even workplace harassment but the vast amount of time spent is directed toward building relationships and executing personal instruction in a spirit of positive generosity and commitment. Not having your spirit broken from constant assault, indifference and yes, mourning, is a kind of coping skill required by the dedicated professional. While attempting to be professional and administrative ( economists call this productivity) we must embrace empathy and many emotions that a strong teacher-student relationship requires. Paradox. No Fraser Institute rating will ever assess institutions that excel at transitioning our teens into the complicated adult world. Staying strong for our students, our new class of young adults, is a taxing enterprise few really understand.

20130620-113254.jpg Many of my colleagues try not to share too much because just beneath the surface simmers the craving for dark chocolate. I think many of us are so busy in the execution of the tasks, like Grad, Provincial Exams, Report Cards, administration of a classroom and the school, we bury our feelings. The ‘operation’ or the ‘mission’ becomes the focus. We need to pause occasionally and acknowledge each others efforts but also the humanity of the experience. We experience so many things amongst this collective called high school. Our culture often creates a parody of high school but reflective teachers and mindful teens understand the powerful construct underway. We all sense the bitter sweet. Observe the yearbook signing ritual throughout the hallways and you would see it. Witness the ‘pain in the ass’ boy who shakes a teachers hand with a thank you. Watch the young woman embrace her teacher with the heartfelt goodbye that may indeed be forever and you will comprehend the bitter sweetness that saturates the June air in a great high school such as Kelowna Secondary, Okanagan Mission, Mount Boucherie and many many more.

So, such it is, high school in June. Like dark chocolate, teaching isn’t suited for just anyone. It is an acquired taste. It is rich and complex and bitter sweet. A culinary paradox. I have now indulged my palette for 33 years. I neither love nor hate the taste but embrace the moments with gastronomical wonder because to reflect on the symbolism and the paradox is thing of beauty.

So long Class of 2013. Take care. Good Luck.
Here is hoping you find your passion- your acquired taste.
Al Smith

Drive thru Ecudador- ME2WE FRI

Me to We Club will be holding a drive-thru breakfast tomorrow morning at the Rona parking lot from 6:30 – 9 am, with coffee, juice, yogurt, scones, and bagels. The paper bag breakfasts will be by donation, and this will be the final fundraiser push toward the clubs’ “school in Ecuador” project.

Ways to Reduce your Risk of Sexual Assault | RAINN network, USA info

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3

29% are age 12-17.
44% are under age 18.3
80% are under age 30.3
12-34 are the highest risk years.
Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.(RAINN)

Victims of sexual assault are:8

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.-Ralph Waldo Emerson