February 12, 2009
We are writing to express our outrage with the stance the Surrey school board has taken, in relation to the population restructuring at Laronde Elementary.
We strive to teach our children not to make decisions without first collecting all of the facts. We ask our children to consider the outcome of their actions, in the hopes rushed resolutions won’t lead to negative results.
These are some of life’s fundamental principles supported through public education; yet, by the end of assistant superintendent John Ormond’s presentation to parents Feb. 3, we wondered how those values had been lost on the educators themselves.
Ormond is suggesting that by halving the number of French immersion students, and by expanding the school’s catchment, children will miraculously appear and fill the vacant spaces in the English stream. However, according to Ormond, there has been no dialogue between the school board and the parents who are choosing to take their children to other schools.
There has been nothing done to research the reasons people are avoiding Laronde. The school board has not sought out parents to determine if the scope of the problem is big enough that it might be a deterrent for the “new” people drawn into the expanded catchment.
It would seem the Surrey school board has decided the best approach is to avoid the tribulations by tiptoeing around the concerned groups, and throwing its net over fresh, unsuspecting families.
If this is the direction the Surrey school board has chosen, would it not seem prudent to ensure it will result in an increase in the numbers of children in the English stream, before removing children from the school population? There is nothing to say the newly incorporated families would even choose to enroll their children at Laronde. For that matter, there is nothing to say they won’t seek out the French immersion program. Why not present the proposed changes to these families, and get a guarantee, before taking action?
District 36 must strive to keep families together, by ensuring space for all siblings entering the kindergarten stream. It is not feasible to ask parents to drive two or more children to two or more elementary schools.
Speak to the parents who want their children at Laronde, and more importantly, speak to the parents who have chosen to take their children elsewhere.
Examine the potential hardships posed on the Laronde population, both present and future. Know all of the facts, before rendering a decision.
Mason & Catherine Cooke, Surrey
Source: Peace Arch News