Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, March 1, 2010)

One final chance to talk school consolidation, Northwest Forestry on display in Vancouver and a look back at Hobiyee, some of the items of interest for Monday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
THIRD DISTRICT 52 CONSULTATION TAKES PLACE AT ROOSEVELT TOMORROW-- The final session of the School District's consultation series takes place on Tuesday, as Roosevelt parents will have the opportunity to outline their concerns over the School District's elementary school consolidation plans.

Bringing the knowledge and experience of Seniors into the classroom is getting a bit of a financial push as the BC Retired Teachers Association  is offering up cash incentives for those schools that best bring the two age groups together. Three cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 or $1,000 will be distributed before the end of the school year, to those three British Columbia schools that are  best able to bring the program to life.

The coalition of Northwest British Columbia Forest interests took their message to Vancouver over the last two weeks, participating in a number of opportunities to put forward the resources of the region to the world that was visiting Vancouver.

The PRSS Rainmakers elimination from the provincial championship in Kamloops was reviewed in the sports section, after a hopeful start, the Rainmakers suffered a frustrating loss which tumbled them out of the final four.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for March 1, 2010 )

The Northern View
No new items were posted on the Northern View website on Monday

CFTK TV 7 News
No new items were posted on the CFTK News site for Monday

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Hobiyee 2010
A look back at this weekends Hobiyee gathering in Prince Rupert (listen to interview here)

Daily News, front page headline story
Third District 52 consultation takes place at Roosevelt tomorrow
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, March 1, 2010

Tomorrow marks the final leg of the three-phase school closure consultation process for School District 52.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar.2. As trustees head to Roosevelt Elementary school for the final school-specific consultation, they are not finding it any easier to deal with the mounting pressure over which school will ultimately close.

“You would have to be stone-cold hearted for it not to have an impact. It rips your heart out that people - children especially – are rallying and pleading with you to not close their schools. Absolutely, it has an impact and of all the decisions that I have had to be part of in my eight years on the school board, none of them are ever easy when they have an impact like [closing a school],” School Board chair Tina Last confessed.

The school board trustees are going to have to live with whatever decision they make, added Last.

If locals thought that Roosevelt Elementary School parents weren’t going to make the same kind of effort that Ecole Westview and Port Edward Elementary gave for their consultations, they aren’t thinking clearly.

Roosevelt Parents Advisory Council president, June Lewis, told the Daily News that Roosevelt parents would be ready and willing to advocate for their school.

“We’re keeping it positive,” said Lewis. “Our approach is to show to the trustees and the entire community that our school isn’t what it appears to be.”

Roosevelt has traditionally languished behind most British Columbian elementary schools when it comes to academic achievement. At the beginning of the month, the Fraser Institute shocked the province with an early publication of the foundational skills assessment results. Roosevelt finished second last in the province, a disappointing result to be sure, said Lewis, but given the challenges in the school’s catchments area, not a surprise.

“FSAs to me are a farce. The whole belief behind them was to get more funding for schools and communities that required them, but instead they are used by the Fraser Institute as a way to compare one school versus another,” said Lewis.

Roosevelt features the Paces at Hub program. The program involves bringing parents in to discuss education at home and developing skills with parents and children to improve homework outcomes. What happens to that program if the school were to close its doors is a large question that will remain unanswered until the decision is made.

Lewis added that Roosevelt parents believe the obstacles children face in their neighbourhood would be exacerbated by the closure of their school.
“It didn’t help when Kanata and Seal Cove schools closed. There were too many kids enrolled afterward in Conrad and Lax Kxeen elementary, with desks in the hallway.” said Lewis.

And if kids have to leave their catchments area to walk even further, then there is no way they will get there,” said Lewis.

Last remained adamant that no decision has been reached and that Tuesday’s meeting would be important in deciding the future of Roosevelt, much like Port Edward and Westview had been.

“We have been provided with excellent information from our senior management and our district staff. They are the ones on the ground doing the work and they have provided [information] to us – and continue to provide us - because it is not done yet,” said Last. “Yes seven of us [trustees] will be making the decision, but we are being given very good information from staff and from the community at these forums.”

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