Students at Nelson Waldorf School celebrate the 100th birthday of Waldorf education in September. Nelson Waldorf is among several local schools considering what the relocation of Grade 9 from L.V. Rogers to Trafalgar Middle School will mean for them. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson private schools consider options after district approves reconfiguration plan

Grade 9 classes will move from L.V. Rogers to Trafalgar Middle School in 2021

A wait-and-see approach is being taken by several Nelson schools after it was announced Grade 9 students would move from L.V. Rogers to Trafalgar Middle School in September 2021.

Nelson Christian Community School, Nelson Waldorf School and St. Joseph School each operate outside School District 8, while École des Sentiers Alpins is part of the francophone School District 93.

None of the schools offer Grade 9 at their facilities, which means students would have to transfer to Trafalgar for one year before moving onto Nelson’s only high school.

SD8’s reconfiguration plan, which was approved by its board of trustees in early December as a way of addressing overcrowding at LVR, has been publicly criticized for a number of issues including the need for extensive renovations at the 91-year-old Trafalgar building.

Related: School District 8 votes to move Grade 9 from LVR to Trafalgar

Kevin Bernhardt, the superintendent of Nelson Christian School as well as the CHEK ABC home education program, said results from a survey showed parents are favourable to Grade 9 being offered at the school’s Tenth Street location.

Currently, the school offers junior kindergarten to Grade 8 classes with an option for Grade 9 home schooling or cross-enrolment at LVR.

Bernhardt said Nelson Christian’s building has room to expand to a Grade 8-9 class, and he believes a decision will be made by the end of the school year.

“For us it’s not so much just adding on Grade 9,” said Bernhardt. “What we want to do is add a program that is best geared for Grade 9 students, because we recognize that junior high [students] want something a little different from a typical elementary style program. So it’s really shifting and changing that junior high program.”

Possible expansion plans are less clear at the three other schools.

St. Joseph School principal Marlene Suter said it is too early to comment on what might happen, although she added parents have previously expressed a desire for a Grade 9 option.

“Definitely there’s lots of feelings about it and we are looking at the whole picture,” she said.

Nelson Waldorf School currently offers preschool to Grade 8. Education director Phil Fertey said because students enter Waldorf’s grades one year older than School District 8 students, some students have previously skipped Grade 9 and moved directly to Grade 10 at LVR.

A Grade 9 outdoor program previously existed over a decade ago at Waldorf, but Fertey said that program has mostly been integrated into the school’s existing classes.

“Our focus really is not to have any knee jerk response to this,” he said. “It’s to focus on better communicating what it is we do in terms of our environmental stewardship, outdoor programs, things that are part of our Waldorf education, which up to now we have not spoken much about.”

Sylvie Mazerolle is the principal of the kindergarten to Grade 8 École des Sentiers Alpins as well as the École Secondaire de Nelson Grade 9 to 12 program, which allows its students to partially enrol in public francophone education while also attending LVR.

In a statement, Mazerolle said she is concerned the move to Trafalgar might change the current arrangement.

“Equity is at the heart of our shared mandate to provide quality public education to Nelson students,” said Mazerolle. “It is my hope that we can continue to collaborate across districts to ensure the rights of all students are respected, including those of learners who are part of Nelson’s minority francophone cultural and linguistic community.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stepping Stones in need of clothing donations

The Nelson shelter is asking for help

Nelson launches citizen survey on climate change

Survey can be filled out online until Jan. 31

GREG SCOTT: Lack of snow threatens Nelson’s winter carnival

In 1970, the Winter Carnival Society was fretting over whether the third annual event would go ahead

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Porn’ answer was a wrong one for Surrey family on ‘Feud’ game show

Surrey’s Rams competed on the TV show Wednesday night

Abandoned boats left to freeze on Okanagan Lake cause chaos

Over the last week weather conditions have caused three separate incidents

B.C. teacher witnesses coronavirus terror in Shanghai: ‘Everyone is on edge’

Face masks and hand sanitizer ‘sell out’ as 9 SARS-like illness cases confirmed in the city

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Living near major roads linked to higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s: UBC study

Green space could mitigate some of the risks, researchers found

B.C. privacy commissioner suggests media civility for Prince Harry and Meghan

Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly sent a letter to British press threatening legal action

Victoria’s plastic-bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada

City’s leave to appeal lower court’s decision denied

Most Read