Westside parents prepare response to grade reconfiguration

Westside parents prepare response to grade reconfiguration

Rose Valley Elementary PAC to host parent meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Rose Valley Elementary parents are encouraged to attend a meeting tonight (Monday) if they’re concerned about the implications of the grade reconfiguration for Westside schools next fall.

The meeting takes place at the Rose Valley school library at 6:30 p.m.

Sara Neukomm, president of the Rose Valley school parent advisory committee, said the purpose of the forum is to collaborate and present a clear unified stance on the school reconfiguration plan.

“Everyone has different viewpoints on this issue but if we can speak as one voice when this is voted on at Wednesday’s school board meeting, we can provide a more effective message to the trustees to consider,” said Neukomm.

The grade reconfiguration was started in Rutland-area schools by the Central Okanagan Public Schools board of education, with the idea it would eventually be expanded to Lake Country and Westside schools.

The middle school grade configuration was altered to Grades 6, 7 and 8 and Grades 9 to 12 were unified at the senior secondary level.

The trigger point for reconfiguration in Lake Country will be with the opening of a new middle school in September 2021.

For Mission area schools, it will be 2019 when the new Canyon Falls Middle School is expected to open.

For Westside schools the reconfiguration will be adopted in this September with Grades 6 to 8 at Neil Bruce Middle School, 6 to 9 at Glenrosa Middle School and 9 to 12 at Mount Boucherie Secondary.

Related: Lack of space for growing student enrolment

Neukomm said two concerns she has heard from parents on the Westside are the grade switch being suddenly bumped up from September 2019 to a year earlier and that Glenrosa will still leave Grade 9s with Grade 6 to 8 students.

“With (the Mission and Lake Country) they have new middle schools planned, whereas on the Westside no such plan is in place. Now they tell us Mount Boucherie has the space for the extra students but how long will the situation in Glenrosa Middle School with the Grade 9 students remaining there last?

“You can see dealing with that on an interim basis but until provincial funding for a new school is made available, but when will that happen? We don’t have a timeline on that as of yet. ”

Neukomm said most parents would prefer to see Grade 5s given one entire school term to prepare for the switch to middle school.

Related: Rutland schools first to adopt grade reconfiguration

“I think there is a feeling among many parents they will have zero time to prepare their kids. That is a change not only for kids in school but also for parents, especially those who are single parents or where both parents are working,” she said.

Neukomm said a well-attended public meeting on this issue at Mount Boucherie Secondary School in January left parents who attended feeling the grade reconfiguration would be adopted in September 2019.

“I think parents at that point felt it was a done deal, but my experience was until the the school board adopts that recommendation, nothing is for certain,” she said.

And a committee meeting a month later, an update from West Kelowna trustee Julia Fraser indicated the timeline had been moved up a year.

Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan School District superintendent/CEO, said that change was necessitated by fiscal issues fueled by growing enrolment the school board had to take under consideration.

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