School District 27 board’s reconfiguration efforts appreciated

I am writing to express appreciation to the school board, teachers and district staff for the difficult task they have taken on.

Editor:

I am writing to express appreciation to the school board, teachers and district staff for the difficult task they have taken on in shaping a future for School District 27. While attending the meeting held at Columneetza last week, there were some concrete suggestions for reconfigurations of our current system, but there was also a lot of negativity and aggression towards the board.

Many parents opposed the idea of Grade 7s in the high schools, and concerns about negative influences of older kids were raised.

In my own experience as a W.L. parent and talking to teachers, this just doesn’t appear to be an issue, and is supported by school counsellors’ surveys of Grade 8s.

Bullying and negative influences are more likely within grades than between grades. K-8 was suggested as a preferred option, but having Grade 8s as role models in elementary seems more likely to have adverse implications.

There was almost unanimous rejection of the two campus model for high school, and without details on logistics it is difficult to assess this fairly. Alternatives that seem worth considering are to have one high school at Columneetza, with Nesika as part of the campus and WL housing the schools of choice. Another alternative would be moving Grade 7s into the high schools, but maintaining two separate schools, with Grade 7s taught still following the elementary pattern.

Without access to budgets, grade number breakdowns, population projections and other research the board has covered, we do not have a full picture. We elect a board to take the time to cover this ground and make an informed decision.

We also have a district full of experienced and dedicated teachers, and their input should be highly valued; with the daily knowledge of the schools that we don’t have as parents, they will be more familiar with logistics of various scenarios that may not be apparent from the outside.

We should also remember that our school boards are working under regulations and budgets imposed at higher political levels. Some of the frustrations parents feel may be more appropriately directed at the Ministry of Education than locally.

Whatever the ultimate decision, hopefully parents will appreciate that the board has looked for solutions to current financial issues, has made time for extensive public consultation, and as a diverse group of local citizens, has chosen what they consider to be the best option for SD27.

Jenny Howell

Big Lake