Nelson's Wildflower School

Seeds planted for Wildflower growth

Nelson’s Wildflower School is poised for expansion here and elsewhere, although trustees want many potential issues addressed first.

Nelson’s Wildflower School is poised for expansion here and elsewhere, although trustees want many potential issues addressed first.

The Kootenay Lake board of education heard this week that the alternative school with multi-age classes has a “rapidly growing and longstanding” waiting list of over 150 names, and there’s interest in bringing the concept to Creston, Salmo, and Kaslo.

Superintendent Jeff Jones presented a two-year proposal to grow the program, while canvassing trustees on what other information they need before approving it.

He explained Wildflower began as a private program in a church basement and became part of the school district in 2003, based in Central School. This year, it was granted school status and presently has 87 students in four classes.

Wildflower has a philosophy of “continuous progress,” rather than grade levels, Jones said. Each class is made up of students ages six to 11, and ideally one teacher works with the same group over a number of years, creating an attachment between them.

Parents are also directly involved in developing educational programming, and provide homeschooling on Fridays.

Jones said the proposal would add another class in Nelson next year and one in Creston. Meetings would also be held in Salmo and Kaslo to determine the viability of adding classes in those communities for 2013-14, and interest would later be gauged in the Slocan Valley.

Jones identified a series of challenges to overcome, including sharing resources over multiple sites, providing administrative support, and building a cohesive staff.

However, he felt technology may help them meet those hurdles, and recognized each site would take on its own personality depending on the community’s needs.

Jones said another important consideration is that Wildflower’s pupil-teacher ratio is lower than in other schools, raising concerns of equity.

Trustees responded with a long list of questions.

Art Field worried the district will encounter similar problems as with the French immersion program in Nelson, where demand far exceeds available seats.

“Who gets in and who is left?” he asked. “I assume Wildflower will get the best kids. It could ruin a number of schools. Be prepared to face a lot of difficulties — you’ll have parents on your backs for sure. We’ve got to be very careful about privileges these kids have.”

Field said he was concerned Wildflower represented a departure from the public school system, and questioned the homeschooling component.

Barb Lindsay echoed Field’s comments, although she said she believes in everything the school does and in multi-age programs. Lenora Trenaman also worried entry criteria will become an issue while Bob Wright asked for data on Wildflower’s student outcomes compared to other schools.

The board will consider the proposal on December 13.

Just Posted

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Kayakers capsize in front of Chahko Mika Mall

Nelson Police Department says members of the public helped two kayakers

Nelson rejects plastic bag ban, opts for education and awareness

Council will collaborate with Chamber of Commerce

Matti Erickson to compete for Team B.C.

Erickson will race at nationals next month in Sydney, N.S.

Nelson U-Haul shutting down

Kootenay Glass and Mirror will no longer provide the service as of July 12

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read