Four roundtable sessions and a questionnaire are at the centre of a public engagement process on the controversial proposal to give the school that will replace Kelly Road Secondary School a name from this area's Indigenous language.
Locations are still to be determined, and the plan remains subject to dealing with the corona virus, but three of the sessions are to be held in the Hart on April 1, 5 and 6 and one will be held at Uda Dune Baiyoh (House of Ancestors) Conference Centre in the city's downtown on April 15.
The questionnaire will be posted on the school district website, www.sd57.bc.ca, starting March 20 and stay up on April 17. A paper version will also be made available.
"During those sessions and on the questionnaire, people will be able to respond to open-ended questions to share their thoughts and feedback," school district superintendent Anita Richardson said Thursday.
"The public engagement sessions will be planned as roundtable events so that trustees may meet with small groups of people so that they can clearly hear individual responses and thoughts from the public in person."
At their February meeting, school board trustees passed a motion to consider naming the school Shas Ti Secondary School at the suggestion of a group representing the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
Shas Ti means "grizzly path" in the Dakelh language used. For centuries, the area from Salmon River to Cranbrook Hill was a grizzly hunting territory for the Lheidli T’enneh people.
The proposal touched off a wave of protest and prompted school district officials to meet in person with students and staff at KRSS. A working group made of representatives of various stakeholders was also formed to develop the consultation process, which will include a separate questionnaire for students and staff at KRSS.
School board chair Tim Bennett said the comments and suggestions that have already been received will also be taken into account.
"I think I can speak on behalf of all of the board that we acknowledge the frustration that the community is feeling and we as a board are committed to finding ways to move forward positively with our community," Bennett said.
Options generated from the process will be ready for consideration at the trustees' April 28 board meeting. Given the timeline for the school's opening, Bennett said trustees will need to make a decision at that meeting.
"Gym floors need to be finished, documents need to be designed, we need to make sure that we're ready for September," Bennett said. "We need to allow staff an opportunity to get that work done."
Updates will be available on the school district website, www.sd57.bc.ca, and on its social media platforms and through a subscription-based newsletter that can be received by request through the website.