A Collective of Educators, Storytellers, and Guardians of the Secret Flame.
Public Education Advocacy
The Pacific Slope refers to the vast edge of North America whose watersheds drain into the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Slope, the educational consortium, got its start as a less-than-radical splinter group of SD13. This moniker is taken from School District 13 Kettle Valley, a British Columbia school jurisdiction that was swallowed up in the Great Amalgamation of 1996. Apparently some BC teacher unions didn't get the memo and thus did not get around to amalgamating with their parent district, so there is a Local 13 but no District 13. This does matter to us, we're all about unamalgamating -- appropriation, too. We stole the SD13 name in what has become known as the Heinz 57 maneuver. We liked the fact that it signifies a district within a district, and reckoned it needed to be liberated from its previous incarnation.
So what, then, is SD13? In 2010, a number of local folks engaged in a collective and collaborative effort to provide much-needed feedback and alternate funding solutions to School District 57 in a year of sharp cuts to schools, programs, and services. The result was a diverse "More With Less" team of parents and educators that pulled together to advocate for a community-based approach to organizational design. We met with some success; in particular we were able to keep the local French Immersion program from being dismantled in the way that the School District had originally intended. We were unable to save the free coffee service at the board office, though... it now costs 25¢ per cup and many district staff are now on caffeine withdrawal as a result. Many other weird and unrelated changes occurred in the 2010 Omnibus Sustainability Bill, and we got involved in these, too, but when the "fight" was over, and the parent part of our group went back to being parents, we turned our attention to curricular work and professional development -- and thus the Pacific Slope was born. We consider the SD13 experiment to be at rest rather than defunct, a sleeper cell that is ready to mobilize should we see the need to point out the obvious to the oblivious or provide sound advice to the institutions that surround our teacher craft. On the other hand, SD13 is often used interchangeably with Pacific Slope and we do little to correct this understandable error. In fact, "adding doubt to the already-misinformed" is a bit of a specialty for us. There was an effort to add this slogan to the Pacific Slope crest, but it was quashed during the Great Knife Toss of 2014. Turns out it was too hard to translate into Latin.
Our network includes active and retired teachers, administrators, school trustees, support staff, a smattering of parents and folks from the community, a few adherents who do not know they belong, and perhaps some who think they do but we are not aware of them. Most of our members and affiliates are from Prince George, although some live in other locations in the Pacific Slope that roll off the tongue like Sorrento and Tsawwassen.
We believe that professional development should, as often as possible, involve something to do with fire, good food, strong conversation, and an inspiring location. There should be as much laughter as learning taking place, and while serious things should be discussed, no one is allowed to take themselves too seriously,