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

New Sci Amer mag articles now available

Check out these fascinating articles from Scientific America and SA Mind magazine.  access our print edition being circulated or read online anytime.

Access digital > https://my23.sd23.bc.ca/school/kss/staffroom/new/shareddocs/Pages/default.aspx

Sd23\user.name.  ########

In 1961 a child psychologist proposed a radical idea to the American Psychological Association: What if dogs could help therapists connect to troubled patients? Perhaps the animals would help soothe anxiety and help people open up. When Boris Levinson of Yeshiva University presented this idea, many of his colleagues thought it was laughable. Yet the idea that humans might derive therapeutic effects from animals would go on to capture the attention of many future researchers.
In recent years scientists have started investigating our attachment to creatures great and small. Although various types of pets and non-Western cultural dynamics remain largely unexplored, research has begun to examine how the animals that surround us affect our mood and mental states. New work has, for example, revealed how just thinking of a beloved pet may help us stay calm under pressure.(Sci Am. Mind)




The “teen brain” is often ridiculed as an oxymoron—an example of biology gone wrong. Neuroscientists have explained the risky, aggressive or just plain baffling behavior of teenagers as the product of a brain that is somehow compromised. Groundbreaking research in the past 10 years, however, shows that this view is wrong. The teen brain is not defective. It is not a half-baked adult brain, either. It has been forged by evolution to function differently from that of a child or an adult.(Gield)



“Scientific American MIND Explores the Psychology Behind Keeping Pets.” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 15 May 2015. Web. 19 May 2015. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-american-mind-explores-the-psychology-behind-keeping-pets/&gt;.

Gield, Jay. “Risky Teen Behavior Is Driven by an Imbalance in Brain Development.” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 15 May 2015. Web. 19 May 2015. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/risky-teen-behavior-is-driven-by-an-imbalance-in-brain-development/&gt;.

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



AP Human Geography 12 – a novel review by Taylor Hall

Geography 12 AP a project based learning unit: the Fiction genre as a scholarship device.
The task was a set of annotations and references to meaningful observations discovered in the novel’s text. One section was a brief review of the book. ( posted in this blog) Read Taylor’s opinion below….

“…The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place). Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding. An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of geographic elements that build more understanding…” (Smith, )

An eye-opening work focusing on the darker side of contemporary Indian society, I found Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger to be an excellent read. Intricately crafted, the work does not romanticize India as a mysterious, exotic haven, but rather provides us with a candid view of the nation’s seedy underbelly of corrupt politicians and millionaires. What Adiga has provided in The White Tiger is an opportunity to hear a voice often left unheard, that of the Indian servant. Additionally, Adiga manages to raise important questions regarding wealth, religion, class, and the importance of tradition in a country searching for a new identity. As I did not know much about Indian culture and society prior to the book, I found Adiga’s explanation of Indian caste as well as politics to be a thought-provoking look into the India of the twenty-first century. Despite my enjoyment of the book, The White Tiger, like any work of fiction, is not without its flaws. To elaborate, there were parts I felt unnecessarily lengthy and some story elements that seemed somewhat out of place in the context of the novel. Overall, The White Tiger is an impressive debut by Adiga and an undoubtedly relevant work in an age of globalization. (Hall)

Hall, Taylor. “Personal Opinion- The White Tiger.” Rev. of The White Tiger, A. Adiga. Print. Review. (Submitted essay.)

Smith, A. “Fiction as Resource.” KSSreads. Kelowna Secondary School Library, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. .


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.

AVIDreaders Club- long list vote

It’s that season again. The KSS AVIDReaders book club. It’s not too late to join.
The club is a volunteer, recreational reading group that runs until June. We meet for group luncheon monthly. You only need to read one title per month and your degree of discourse, reviews, speaking, is up to each student. The more group sharing or even debating makes the experience fun. You can contribute anytime through this blog with the tag- #avidreaders , Tweet #avidreaders , or FB/Ksslibrary

Download/Read/vote …


Attached to your members’ email is a PDF file of a power point that I created that gives you the cover, the author information, tone, subjects, etc. I have not included reviews or detailed story lines. It is up to you to vote for your top 10. You can only vote once for each book.

You need to send your 10 choices back to me in 48 hours–….I need your name and your choices. Try to vote for one in each category-but do not vote for all dystopic novels. Try to pick one non fiction (could be a memoir or biography or something that is based on the truth). Ultimately, we want varied themes and levels of reading.

Look at summaries, reviews, Novelist–anything that gives you enough background information (if you have not already read the book) to help you make those difficult decisions. It is not too late to suggest another title for the next round of reading. – Ms Bede, Teacher-Librarian

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

Read- the KSS CensorTHIS launched online

Our own Journalism and Media students are launching CensorTHIS online Friday. Plenty of great reading and good video too. Check it out now.

Fellow KSS Students, As technology plays a monumental role in our social, academic and everyday lives the Censor This! journalism program is taking the jump to an online format. The online platform will allow KSS students the opportunity to inform themselves on everyday happenings, instead of the paper based format in which students were only receiving information on a monthly basis. (Renee Berger & Callum Barbour) – See more at: http://ksscensorthis.com/290/opinion/showcase-story-4/#sthash.uEyxMsTU.dpuf

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 6.31.51 PM

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

WE ARE SILENT events all week

This week, many of our Me to We students will be raising awareness to the number of people in the world who do not have the ability to speak for themselves and raise themselves out the impoverished and dangerous conditions in which they live.

Our students have arranged for events to be held in the MPR at lunch this week, and they will be collecting change to “silence” some of our school’s loudest students, who have agreed to participate with us. The money that they raise will be put toward finalizing our two-year goal of building a school in Ecuador. We are very close, and after our Drive-Thru Breakfast coming up, we should be finished!

‘We are silent ‘ Friday…



Reading library ebooks is an option

We’ve added online borrowing of ebooks to the KSS Library as a trial.  With an old LMS this is a challenge but now students have a few options as needed to acquire for favourite novel. Print, Kindle, Kobo , iPod and/or iPad have selected titles and now online ebooks.  A small collection of titles can be enjoyed by library patrons with a login.  Log on, checkout an ebook to read on a computer or download to your personal iPad or Android tablet.

Visit to start> KSS Library >  eResources tab>