Transition to SOSS plans frustrate some Osoyoos parents

Student orientation scheduled even before school closing process complete

Osoyoos Secondary students shared their thoughts on losing their school.

Plans to transport Osoyoos Secondary students to Oliver next week for an information session and tour of South Okanagan Secondary School are not going over well with some Osoyoos parents.

Parents with students attending OSS received a letter yesterday from principal Mike Safek that details a schedule to bus Grade 8 to 11 students to Oliver for an orientation that has as its goal alleviating “some of the anxiety and questions students and parents may have about moving to SOSS.”

The visit would also allow students to receive their course selection forms.

The timing, however, wasn’t lost on Osoyoos parents.

The transition process is underway even before the school closing process is complete. A required third reading is scheduled for April 27 and the Board’s decision requires subsequent ministerial approval.

What are your thoughts on the timing of students visits to Oliver? Please share them by commenting below.

“Personally, it makes me think this is just another way the SD53 is ignoring parents and consultation process in regards to their ‘agenda,’ said Brenda Dorosz, a champion of keeping Osoyoos students in Osoyoos schools.

“I do not think this is morally correct to plan this before the third reading.”

Other parents in the community appear to agree. They took to social media last night to express their frustration.

04_14_16_parent_three04_14_16_parent_five04_14_16_parent_two04_14_16_parent_fourAt least one parent expressed a concern about the welfare of those students who would attend the session.


The scheduled visits limit the number of OSS students attending at one time. Rather than go in one block, Grade 11 students will visit next Tuesday, Grade 10 students next Wednesday, Grade 9 students next Thursday and Grade 8 students next Friday.

There is no mention of when students currently in Grade 7 — and attending Osoyoos Elementary — would travel to Oliver for their orientation.

Students are expected to return the course selection forms they receive, completed and signed by a parent, the following week — again prior to the Board’s third reading of the school closing bylaw.

Osoyoos Secondary is also scheduling a pair of visits with parents with SOSS administrators.

“Mr. Toneatto and Mrs. Harrington, the SOSS admin team, will be here on Tuesday, April 19, to meet with OSS parents at 6:00 pm in the theatre to discuss programming, transition, and answer any questions parents may have about SOSS,” the letter to parents reads.

“The next day, Wednesday, April 20, Mr. Toneatto and Mrs. Harrington will host OSS parents at 6:00 pm in the SOSS Library. The evening will start with an orientation and information session followed by a tour of SOSS facilities. We encourage parents to attend.”

Mr. Safek also says he expects some parents “may still be undecided about their children attending SOSS next year” but is encouraging the site visits anyway “in order to get information that may assist decision making about placement for your child next year.”

Those students whose parents have confirmed will not be attending SOSS next year “should be at school at OSS as it will be a regular school day,” the letter concludes.


  1. We need to get on the case of the local MLA and have the government step in. Closing the school will have a permanent scar on Osoyoos and it will give families no choice but to leave Osoyoos.

  2. I support the sentimant of that lone parent that says, “I hope that the kids who do go to the orientation aren’t given a hard time by the other kids who have chosen not to go”.

    There is no conspiracy going on the by the school board or school administators, except perhaps to attempt to ensure the best education for the most number of kids with an ever shinking budget. These practical plans are being made by teachers, counsellors, principles and vice principles who want to see the kids who they have dedicated thier lives too succeed in making a seamless transtion. They want them to learn from this experience that there is always positive to balance the negative and that adversity builds character.

    It is only practical to start making plans and to ease the transition for all students. This is not a question of morality in anyway.

  3. Just a thought, if we don’t send the kids to SOSS, maybe we should register them with Penticton school district for on line courses or in oroville, Midway etc so those schools request the students portfolio directly from OSS so it shows how serious you are not going to SOSS. As we speak there is no independent school yet, to apply to. I don’t think it’s showing them we are serious about NO SOSS if we don’t seek registration now for nex year.

  4. YouLearn is another option for Osoyoos students/parents who don’t see going to SOSS as an option. YouLearn Osoyoos was moved up to OSS last year and will have to move again with the closure. If you are looking into online courses, look at The added advantage of having access to the teachers in person is more appealing than online courses outside the community.


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