Sunday, February 24, 2008

Susan Semonick On Schools - Feb 24, 2008 - LSS Capacity Presentation (feb 14)

LSS Capacity - Presentation at HDS on Feb. 14th

I listened to Mr. Greenwood’s presentation on capacity at LSS. It sounds as if LSS will definitely be full next year. It will be a larger population for everyone to get use to, not only the students coming from HDS but the LSS students also. If you are looking for a school with a smaller population, that would be D W Poppy or Aldergrove Community Secondary School.

The District does not have any concerns in regards to accommodating the population that will be at LSS. They are expecting no more than 1221 students and according to Mr. Greenwood, LSS will be able to accommodate 1360 students based on their own calculations that include placing up to 30 students in most classrooms. [The MoE’s nominal capacity is calculated at 25 students per regular classroom.] The plans include using the lacrosse box as classroom space, removing the bleachers out of the large gym and placing a divider in to make two classrooms, as well as using the four portables that are on site. The media centre that was located at LSS has been moved to Simonds Elementary.

What is very frustrating for many is that it seems there is no standard of reference being used for all of the information being provided by the district. Depending on whom you talk to, you get different numbers with little to no consistency, as is reflected in recent newspaper articles. No wonder there is little to any trust in what is being said. The district’s staff have to all get on the same page because the inconsistency in information being delivered is making a poor situation even worse. GET TOGETHER PEOPLE - improve the communication. Provide accurate and correct information; know what other staff are saying. Use a cheat sheet – talking points, if you have to, in order to be able to explain why and under which circumstance there will be a maximum of 1150 students at LSS, or 1400, or 1350, or 1220, etc. Get it together people.

In their presentation they mentioned that a percentage of students are expected to drop out of school, a number of students are expected to leave the district and some to return to their own catchment areas. What is sad is that the dropout rate seems to be commonplace and accepted as the norm. When a child drops out of school before becoming an adult I believe this is where ZERO TOLERANCE should be applied and this so-called accepted dropout rate not to be considered the norm.

I have to say that the LSS parents who were present, in particular two men whom I will assume were fathers, did make the meeting a bit tense. It was very obvious that one did not like the other. One student from LSS addressed the audience with her concerns about the volume of students in the halls now, let alone what it will be next year. One parent from LSS who was present seemed to have their focus on discrediting any concerns that were expressed. Good on Tracie for addressing this person and stating that it was really inappropriate what this one particular parent was doing. Shortly after, I had to leave so I am not sure if this parent became respectful of the others in the room.

I would like to thank the parents of South/Central for ensuring that I am kept up-to-date on what is happening and inviting me to their meetings. I hope the perspective I have provided on things has been of help.

The Fundamental Middle Secondary School program will no longer have use of facilities at LSS according to LSS administration. I guess if we are to think outside of the box, LFMSS could do night school for woodworking, etc. (possibly). This means that these students definitely will have the basic of basics in education unless the district finds more money to renovate the seven million-dollar baby. LFMSS students will be left with applied skills courses mostly in the computing and business areas. With all the choices in secondary schools now, I do not think this would be a wise choice for many students. Employers, to the best of my knowledge, are looking for people who are well rounded and balanced to a certain extent in knowledge and experience. I see these students as being at a disadvantage due to parent choice not student need. You do not see many, if any, students jumping up and down to attend Fundamental but you do for Athletics, Arts, Drama, Trades & Technology, Film, Law etc…

I hope that due to the current state of this Board, voters will be able to find replacements who will better serve their public and the needs of our students. We need fresh voices, new direction and people who are not afraid to change the way this Board does business.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Semonick

No comments:

Post a Comment