Friday, November 02, 2007

Susan Semonick On Schools - Nov 1st Making History - Now The Gutting Of The Elementary Schools Will Start!

Coming: Next week Susan will give us her opinions on what she now sees are the parent and student options within this district based on the School Trustees decisions.
Well, I guess the quick adjournment Thursday night and non-completion of the October 30th agenda answers Mr. McFarlane’s question of “Are you comfortable with your decision?” It would be NO, if we go by appearances.

I cannot say, in good conscience, that I see this decision being a success. Considering the current financial situation our school district is faced with and the timeline they have chosen to accomplish the transition and reconfiguration of 5,788 students - I am too logical of a person to believe that this is realistic. I do not have a lot of letters behind my name, in the education field. I have learned about the operations of this district by being an involved constituent since 1993. I must say it is not perfect it has a letter grade of a D right now and will probably have an “I” by September. For those parents not knowing what an “I” means it means Incomplete or In progress. My concerns are about how many students will be lost through the cracks and will be failures because of this. You can be educated on paper, but it is your understanding of the people that counts.
Lionel, (lfp Ed.: See his sidebar comment.) it is sad that you feel that you have been left with no options but to leave. I can only hope that what ever you and your daughter decide on, she is able to achieve the dreams that she sees for herself. We will be posting an options supplement soon.

My motto I used as a DPAC President was “Our students, our stars - one and the same” and I still feel that way.

Hopefully, the district will be able to find the finances and staff to do this properly without making the rest of the schools in the district have to cut programs and special needs staff to finance it. That is what the review of the DDM mentioned in both reports is all about folks. They are looking at what they can cut from direct student services to make the bottom line. Looking at the list of people they are looking towards hiring in the near future it is obvious they will not be cutting anything at the district level; they are increasing there. Do not forget that the trustees are getting another raise as of December 1st. I wonder if they remember that their benefits should be cut - funny that they are taking a few years to make that change.

They have chosen to take 10 months to implement this district change when other districts that have taken this road have taken at least 24. Some are doing it well, while others are doing it poorly.

The trustees are looking at closing one more elementary; that will be decided in the New Year. Make your holiday season plays memorable for it may be the last ones you see in your neighborhood schools.

I cannot see this being the only elementary closed. Now that the middle school decision is made, the gutting of the elementary schools will start. They say it takes five years to change societal attitudes. I guess when the current grade four’s are graduating we will see if this was the right road to take; even though that will be way too late to do anything about it. “Too little, too late” - the motto of this current board.

People who do studies on people say that our society is pushing our youth to mature at too fast a rate that developmentally and socially they are becoming dormant volcanoes. The Ministry of Education has changed the graduation program so that instead of making your career choices in Grade 11 and 12, they make the students begin thinking about it in grade 9. With a grade K-5 configuration, we are now making 10 year olds become leaders instead of having the time to be the children that they are naturally. We are now going down a road that will likely create greater social problems than we have ever been faced with before.

To the Grade 11-12 students of H.D. Stafford Secondary…
I heard a song last night from a movie called Sing. It was about a secondary school closing because it was no longer affordable. In it, there was a song “One More Time” written by Tom Snow and Dean Pritchard and recorded by Michael Bolton. Some of the words were…

Don’t be scared.
We’ve got dreams and we’re still young
Just think of how far we’ve come
Think of all
We have shared
It’s a wonder we survive
But here we are and we’re alive! …..

Take a moment to celebrate
Now before we are gone. …..

There’s a power in our voices
Hopeful and strong

Years from now
Somewhere down the line
We’ll remember and we’ll all sing
One more time.

As a parent in the Langley community, I can only wish for the best of things for you in the future. Reach deep within and sing the song ONE MORE TIME.

Thinking of our stars;

Susan Semonick

P.S. If you are interested in viewing this movie it is on again Tuesday November 6 2pm –3:45 pm Channel 325 EA2 On Bell Express Vu. Viewer discretion is advised. There is coarse language.


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