Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tears, Tempers, and Disruption at Board Meeting - Langley School District Report by Susan Semonick

Wow, what a meeting!


There were 20 presenters. I didn’t get home till 3am. The meeting I think adjourned before 12:30 am. City TV and BCTV were there for the first two presenters and then left. So, the Simonds Elementary PAC President may be on TV.

Bradshaw Elementary wanted to commend Senior Staff and the Board for the manner in which they have addressed the concerns and questions the parents had in regards to the closure of their school.

One presenter withdrew; perhaps because the TV cameras were there or that the content of presentation was better presented in a closed meeting.

The LTA’s stance re French Immersion in South/Central is for the program to move to LSS. The problem with that suggestion is that the two French Immersion programs one at Brookswood and one at WGSS were surveyed in the past and given the choice of moving to another school for the FI program or dropping out of the program, a large majority would opt to drop the program. Since most of the FI students at both these schools are in-catchment students, unlike at LSS, moving the program would not solve the enrollment issue, as students would still be entitled to stay.

Most of the presentation was about the consultation process and what possible conclusion there should be. Some of the recommendations were:

1. Leave Stafford as is and do nothing.

2. Close DW Poppy

3. Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in extra curricular activities.

4. Make the Language Coordinator position full time to promote FI Program. Support the recruitment of more French language specialty teachers.

5. Make Blacklock’s Fine Arts program a K-7 or K-8 district program with guaranteed transition to Langley Fine Arts

6. LSS’s PAC Executive accepts the middle school concept according to their PAC president’s presentation.

The City population still thinks of themselves as having only one secondary school while in fact they have eight. It is one school district, a fact many seem to have problems understanding. The City council on their web site can state that the community of Langley has access to 7 or 8 secondary schools with a wide range of programs to choose from. Potential buyers will like that more than we only have one high school with limited programs.

APPROVAL OF LATE FI (french immersion) at NOEL BOOTH

A late French Immersion program for grades 6 and 7 was approved to begin at Noel Booth Elementary School for September 2007 to provide program stability in the Brookswood catchment area until review of program location is completed and a long-term decision is made.

The district Emergency processes for Fort Langley schools that may be subject to flooding was presented. See


Many of the approved BAA courses for the coming year at various schools were interesting. They included 3D Game Programming and Design 11, Criminology 12, Gender Studies 11


Report from Senior Management Alternatives to Suspension Committee was received. Some very interesting initiatives for at risk, and drug-addicted youth were included in the report.


The motions to rescind recommendations #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 from April 10th, were a waste of everyone’s time. Overall, everyone knew the outcome before it happened. It would have been better spent putting forward a new consultation process.

Although Trustee Paterson was showing emotion she got through all of the recommendations except #8 which Burton read out for her. All were defeated 3 for, and 4 against. I have to say I understand what the public wanted and I understand why the board stuck to their guns. One trustee stated the Board was being stubborn on these matters. It may have been for very good reasons. It remains to be seen why, when October rolls around. Out of all of the years I have attended board meetings these last few meetings have been the most volatile. Although it does not help when you have a past board member directing the audience or a parent using a bullhorn to show their dissatisfaction with an elected official. Other public officials have nurtured this climate as well since April, which unfortunately is disappointing to see. Do they believe that what they are doing is for the best? Possibly, but with the mantra that is being voiced I wonder if it is healthy or even productive.


Special school calendars for the follow schools were approved.

• Douglas Park Community Elementary School’s year round calendar for the 2007/2008 school year.
• Langley Fine Arts School’s varied school calendar for the 2007/2008 school year, which will reflect a reduction of four instructional days by increasing each day in session by seven minutes.
• A one-year extension of the H.D. Stafford Secondary School’s varied school calendar for the 2007/2008 school year, which will reflect a reduction of 10 instructional days by increasing each day in session by 16 minutes.

It amazes me that the school that is being placed on the pedestal is requesting 10 less days of instruction. Maybe all the schools should consider this since HDS is according to staff and parents doing so well. I am of the belief that in secondary schools the students are better in class than on the street.

BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE FOR 2007/2008 was approved.

September 18th is the first for the 2007/2008 school year, followed by October 9th and October 30th

The suggested plans for HD Stafford and LSS will be received for information and possible approval. At which October meeting is still to be determined.


One parent asked about the process for notification to the board or public about a shooting that occurred at an elementary school. Not sure of any of the details on this one.

Special note: There seems to be a lot of things going on behind closed doors. It will be very interesting to see what will happen in the next little while. There are volcanoes erupting and it will be left to public opinion on how exactly this all plays out.

Next board meeting is June 12th where they will make the decision whether to close Bradshaw or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment