Now that the high school reconfiguration decision has been made, we feel compelled to provide the public with a more balanced look at some of the issues that have been raised.
1. We agree that the district career development staff has worked hard to promote and expand career programs and to offer courses concurrently at TRU.
However, these ACE-IT programs do not exist because of the proximity of Columneetza Secondary School to the TRU campus nor solely for Columneetza students.
Students from the entire school district including PSO in 100 Mile have taken advantage of these programs.
While attending TRU, students are not attending high school, so proximity of their home schools to TRU has no bearing on whether or not they have “access” to ACE-IT programs.
Any student or community member meeting the entrance criteria can be accepted into an ACE-IT program without having ever completed a shop course.
There is no direct correlation between successful shop or career programs at one particular high school and the proximity to TRU as many students from all high schools have had access to and have been successful at their ACE-IT programs.
2. It has been noted that only five WLSS students take shop at Columneetza and many might wonder why.
It could be that Columneetza students register for shop courses first and then only if there is room, are students from other schools allowed to enrol.
Meanwhile, the woodworking shop at WLSS is operating with 175 students.
Clearly WLSS students are interested in and taking shop.
In addition, 23 Columneetza students attend classes at WL and 12 WL students attend classes at Columneetza.
These are not bussing issues nor have there been issues with attending either school as students are highly motivated when they have access to classes they need or desire.
3. The facilities at WLSS allow senior students to reach individual fitness goals, meet DPA graduation requirements, and promote a commitment to life-long physical activity.
Senior hockey players in the hockey program will appreciate the close proximity of the arena, thus reducing the need for bussing.
As well, the close location of the Williams Lake River Valley Trail, Concrete Fitness, bowling alley, pool and baseball diamonds, combined with the climbing wall and weight training/exercise area at WL, all correspond with a broader collection of physical activities for courses such as senior physical education and Sports and Recreation.
Barb Blewett and Melinda MacKinnon