For those interested in such things and unable to access the BCCPAC web site here are minutes from the most recently published Board Meeting Minutes.
Additional commentary can be found on Janet Steffenhagen’s blog.
Questions that parents from QEA asked VSB staff earlier this week.
“The VSB’s policy manual states ‘We believe in being accountable to the community, and we value and promote open communications’. Many parents at QEA, however, have encountered staff who are openly resentful of their requests to communicate about an issue of concern. Staff at multiple levels of the organization routinely fail to return phone calls or respond to written queries (even over a period of weeks). Chris Kelly, do you or do you not believe that you need to be accountable to the community?”
“In September, allegations of favoritism were raised in the media because two schools in Premier Gordon Campbell’s riding had been selected for a community-service pilot program. Now it appears that these same two schools and QEA – which was last year saved from liquidation following extensive campaigning by parents – are the only schools in the area to suffer staff cuts. Is there any way in which the allegations of favoritism could have influenced the decisions on school staff transfers, and is this why we have not been allowed to see enrolment and staffing data for other schools in the area?”
QEA parents should do a closer look at staffing across the district. And, there is still the problem that hundreds of children from the university area are being denied a space in their schools as enrolment drops in other areas.
A ‘conversation from “The Report Card” on the February Olympic break . . . Vancouver Sun blogs
Dawn Steele said:
Two weeks off school because of traffic??!! Sheesh! How about getting out of the cars instead and finding a more earth-friendly way to commute to your job – every day!
This vote does not seem to put the interests and needs of students first – very disappointing! How many students are going to be able to afford tickets to even one event? And what do they do for the rest of the two weeks? What about students facing big exams? What about students with special needs?
And I see this as a recipe for trouble – 20,000 youths roaming around the city unsupervised all day at a time when we’ll have all sorts of demonstrators and people looking to cause trouble, plus an enormous security presence with personnel on hairtrigger alert! What are they thinking!?
October 3, 2008 3:01 PM
Anne Guthrie Warman said:
Sheesh?? Now there’s a coherent, articulate response. Perhaps our ubiquitous ‘professional parent’ blogger should do her research before asking such rhetorically cliched questions as “What were they thinking?” 40, to 50,000 (projected numbers) more people in this city will mean that traffic corridors for everyone will be a nightmare. Many teachers are, for the record ‘out of their cars’ and onto public transit which will equally be stretched to and beyond capacity for everyone. However, given teacher salaries, many cannot and do not live in Vancouver and have a lengthy commute every day. This of course ,is to say nothing of the thousands of parents in this city who insist on driving their children to school, a journey of often fewer than 10 blocks. Teachers also voted overwhelmingly that child care and community centre activities be provided and that the VBE Olympics Coordinating Committee look at ways of providng access to events for students.
October 5, 2008 12:00 PM
Dawn Steele said:
Sheesh! How about a “coherent, articulate” answer to the serious questions raised instead of attacking me and trying to dodge accountability for your decision by blaming other parents’ driving habits?
October 5, 2008 1:18 PM
Anne Guthrie Warman said:
I answered the question around our thinking . But it’s not the answer you want to hear . Quel surprise. And for the record it is the Vancouver Board of Education who have raised these concerns and asked our members for input on this possible closure.
Tuesday, September 30th, 4:00 pm at Tupper. There is a very important General Meeting for our membership as we head into the election season.
It is critical that every school is well represented.
VANCOUVER – The future of B.C. schools is changing with the $30-million Neighbourhoods of Learning pilot project, which will see education and community services brought together in a single neighbourhood hub, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.
“This government has a vision for education in B.C. – one where schools and community organizations can create Neighbourhoods of Learning where people can access educational and community services under one roof,” said Premier Campbell. “Schools throughout the province will be able to adopt this model in the future to best meet the needs of their students and communities.”
Three school districts will be participating in the Neighbourhoods of Learning pilot project. Vancouver school district will be the first to create three Neighbourhoods of Learning Model Schools by partnering with the Province. Queen Mary Elementary, General Gordon Elementary and Lord Strathcona Elementary – Vancouver’s oldest school – will undergo renovations to restore their historical buildings or replacement, and include services on site that will benefit students and the community.
Teresa Sheward, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
To the editor
Re: “Stall in facilities review raises hopes of parents,” June 6.
I write to clarify some misconceptions in this article, due to relying on the admittedly “speculation and rumour”-based opinions of Charles Menzies.
Menzies fears that “there may be a special solution for the West Side” but not for all the schools that “don’t have well-connected, politically active parents, who have the wealth and the internal connections to keep their schools.” Implying that wealth and internal connections are what created conditions for the postponement and change of VSB plans is not only offensive and inaccurate, it is surprising, given his alleged understanding of the issues.
I have had a lot of critical comments thrown my way over the past few months on this topic. However, I have to say that this is one of the nicest comments; that is, to have an “alleged understanding.” It might almost be a compliment. If my understanding is alleged it allows that I might not in fact really understand what is going on. This should allow me to plead ignorance. What do you think? At any rate is is always delightful to hear a well trained lawyer talk about not having resources or political connections and making it clearly an assertion as opposed to merely alleging the fact. 🙂
With a building that’s too small and not wired for today’s high-tech gadgets, University Hill is ranked the best public high school in B.C. by the Fraser Institute
Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008
A small, run-down school bursting with students on Vancouver’s west side continues to be the public education leader in the annual Fraser Institute’s Report Card on B.C. Secondary Schools, released today.
University Hill has been ranked as the number-one public high school in B.C. for several years, bested only by independent schools that charge hefty tuition fees and generally admit only the best of the brightest.
It manages this feat despite serious overcrowding due to new housing developments on the nearby University of B.C. campus. The school’s capacity is 325 students, but it accommodates — through the use of nine portables — more than 500 teenagers and turns away several dozen more from its catchment area every year.
I have been asked numerous times now if I joking or if I am serious regarding my alternative proposal for the UBC-Dunbar EFR-Phase 1 plan that would close and sell Queen Elizabeth Annex in order to meet the serious need for an additional elementary and a rebuild high school in the neighbourhod. My alternative plan (see here) called for using the old U. Hill Secondary as an elementary school and shifting students eastward in a cascading effect ending at Tupper Secondary.
Am I serious?
Am I joking?
I suppose it says something about the situation we are experiencing here. It says something about our lack of hope that we will have a school. It says something about the length of time that we have patiently waited. It says something about the many promises we have been given that evaporate just as a solution seems in hand.
The ‘joke,’ if there is one here, is that our students do not have a proper school. We live in one of the richest nations of the world. We live in the midsts of a major economic boom. Why can’t the powers that be find the courage and the will power to do what is right? In the face of inaction alternatives such as shifting several thousands high school students eastward become ‘serious’ in the face of the absurdity.
1000 hits and over 2500 individual page views since the Vancouver School Board released its Educational Facilities Review-Phase 1 Report. This is the highest period of view on the site since the the provincial teacher’s strike in 2005. Visits to this site have steadying increased each day peaking between the period of January 29th and February 7th,