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Last Updated: 12/10/2023 12:07:46 PM EST

School Overview

Senpaq’cin is built on the foundations of nsyilxcn (Indigenous knowledge) and the identity of the sqilx (Okanagan People). We explore our interconnectedness to the land locally and globally. Senpaq’cin understands that Indigenous knowledge and collaboration are fundamental to the future sustainability of the tmxʷulaʔxʷ (Earth). Our vision is to empower Indigenous identity and become a community of global thinkers. In the spring of 2018, we became the first on-reserve First Nation school in the Americas to receive authorization as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) School.

School community

Staff work together collaboratively and as a team to care for all our children. We have trauma-informed classrooms that include modifications within the learning environments to support students who have different learning styles. These include stationary bikes to increase or decrease the activity levels of students throughout the day and wiggly chairs for those children who have difficulty sitting still.

We offer hands-on learning experiences that are rooted in traditional teaching from the oral histories of the sqixw people. Students gain conceptual knowledge of Indigenous practices through hands on experiences within and outside of language classes. This can include learning the significance of fire, learning how to dry and process hides (such as stretching, tanning and using hides), building drying racks, filleting salmon and smoking the fish on open fires, weaving, etc.

We offer intramural sports and outdoor activities as after-school programs throughout the year. Before COVID-19, Senpaq’cin played basketball and volleyball with students in the nearby school district and First Nation school students. Senpaq’cin School has full-time early intervention programs for pre-kindergarten for Osoyoos Indian Band members, and we have an after-school program for four- and five-year-olds who require after-school care. Students in grades 1 through 7 can register and join the Right to Play Program, run by the nk’mip Health Department, in the school gym.

Senpaq’cin class sizes are small, with a maximum of 20 students per classroom, except for junior kindergarten (age 4), where classrooms are limited to 15 students.

Field trip

IB Primary Years Programme

Senpaq’cin developed a Programme of Inquiry (POI) using the essential elements of the IB Curriculum Framework. We focused on creating a POI that reflects an Indigenous way of knowing. For each unit of inquiry we look for ways to teach the concepts and ideas through Indigenous knowledge from the past. IB requires that we have a second language program, and teachers and staff learn the ncxlcn language alongside students. Through the IB framework, our classroom teacher teams and second language/cultural team have a common vision and mission for the school and students.

Our community

Oliver is a rural community of approximately 7,000 people located in the Southern Okanagan Valley in farming, winery and desert country. Oliver has a library, restaurants, grocery stores and some retail stores. Our school is within walking distance of the ice arena, public pool, curling rinks, parks, hospital and town.

Oliver is known as the wine capital of Canada and it boasts plenty of sunshine and mild winters. The town is a tourist destination in the spring and summer months. It’s close to a ski hill and two golf courses that have been rated as the best golf courses in British Columbia, as well as many nearby lakes for fishing, boating, canoeing and swimming.

Salary and Benefits

Teachers are paid the same salaries as those offered by the nearby school district. Individual pension plan contributions are matched by up to 5% by the Osoyoos Indian Band, which also offers teachers an extended medical benefit plan. Teachers have a two-week spring break. Teachers complete three days of professional development each year in PYP courses through the IB program.

Application Requirements

We are interested in candidates who are First Nations and/or have experience in the PYP.