Wildflower representatives presented a proposed modification to SD8's draft facilities plan on Tuesday.

South Nelson voices support for Wildflower growth

Alternate program proposes embracing REACH and French immersion while inviting new students.

Wildflower wants to grow.

This year the budding alternative program located in Nelson’s Central School added a K to 1 class, and currently they’ve got a hefty waitlist. In the past they’ve tried to remain purposely small, as part of their unique multi-age learning model, but that may all be about to change.

“We’d rather grow our program. It may be quicker than we like, and it will mean embracing French immersion and REACH, but we think this could be a win-win for everybody,” said parent and teacher Barbara Hargreaves, during an impassioned presentation to the Kootenay Lake school board Tuesday.

Along with visual aids outlining how exactly they would accomplish this goal, Hargreaves and another parent expressed their aim to “get all the alternative programs into one building.”

They’re not the only ones touting a new, modified version of SD8’s current draft plan South Nelson parents are throwing their weight behind the idea as well.

“When we met last week with Wildflower and had a great collaboration and talked about their excellent proposal. We found it dovetailed wonderfully with some of the things we had been talking about,” said Tammy Everts, co-chair of South Nelson’s parent council.

“We wanted to present a united front to illustrate we want to work together on this and we share similar values.”

One aspect of Wildflower that many South Nelson parents expressed interest in during an internal survey is the multi-age learning environment. The school board even heard from two Wildflower student representatives, who voiced their support for the modified plan.

“We love our school and we think the right course of action is going with the modified plan,” one of them said.

Wildflower’s tweak to the draft plan would primarily affect South Nelson, Rosemont and Wildflower.

One crux of their argument for this reconfiguration tweak is that it would bring all three schools to 85 per cent capacity.

“This clearly brings all three elementary schools to that target,” said a Wildflower parent presenter. “This creates more choices for parents, with more parent and student buy-in. The forced relocation of children and families by catchment is worrisome.”

Trustees Curtis Bendig and Bill Maslechko both thanked the presenters for taking the time to engage with the facilities planning process.

“I’m feeling, certainly here in Nelson and more broadly, that the board is being supported in this process. The solutions are coming to us,” said Bendig. “Now it’s time for us to work together and figure out where this will go next.”

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