VSB to Open Model Autism School

Unconfirmed reports say that a model school for 10 – 20 kids with autism — funded by the Canucks is scheduled to open in Vancouver at Kerrisdale Annex this September.

VSB Trustees questioned at a public meeting Monday evening appeared not to be aware of any such plans. However, senior management responsible for learning services are reported to have said that “nothing is guaranteed at this stage. It’s still a proposal.”

A parent at that meeting stated that this was not the impression they had from a Kerrisdale Elementary parent. Apparently they had been informed that while charity funding has not been finalized, but the family who runs the Canuck Place charity is keen to hand some money over.The model school will be run under the auspices and governance of the VSB. The program is designed for intermediate grade students, grades 5 – 7. It’s designed to complement the elementary autism program that’s run out of Nelson. There will be no fees assigned to parents.
The number of students hasn’t been decided on as of yet.

Update: May 9, 2007
According to a VSB District Manager there is indeed a plan for a district program for autism much like the ones currently operating at Churchill and Nelson. It is to be a three tiered program:

Autism Resource Centre

  • Partial inclusion
  • full time inclusion
  • The goal would be to support students towards full inclusion where appropriate.

The Autism Pilot Plan is to involve Vancouver Teachers Association members and CUPE members, and would be run by the district.

The Canucks Foundation is interested in contributing start up grant funding, but that so far there is no finalized commitment from them, and that VSB would be responsible for finding ongoing sustainable operating funding for the program, if it were to go ahead. Given the funding uncertainty, it is very unlikely that the project would be ready to go ahead by September.

With resepct to public consultation the District manager said the Education Special Advisory Committee has input, and that it reports to Committee III, which reports to the Board.

So at this point it is not a segregated school, or a provincial school but an unfunded district program proposal.

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