Thanks to Nelson Star reporter Will Johnson for his excellent wrap that captured the essence of the parent meeting at LV Rogers Secondary that took place on Monday night. It was an informative and eye-opening meeting for all of us parents who attended. Thanks also to the three principals who explained the details and current bind our high school finds itself in.
I have two children at the school (Grade 10 and Grade 12). I have witnessed the early-year scramble that goes on in the opening weeks of class and have always been satisfied with the eventual outcome. Scheduling chaos is nothing new and my fading memory even still maintains those frames of when I was in high school doing the same panicked adjustments to my high school classes. It’s actually an important learning lesson about advocating for yourself in order to achieve a desired situation.
This year is different and the current situation at LVR goes beyond what is acceptable. This is not about “boutique schedules” but about graduation requirements and core classes that make the students who graduate from our high school prepared for a the next important stages of their lives. This is about a lack of funding from the provincial government that runs contrary to what the goals of Victoria should be: to provide every student in the province of British Columbia the opportunity to allow public education to propel them onto becoming important contributors to everyone’s future.
I applaud moderator Cathy Scott-May and Micah May’s desire to come up with positive solutions that will get us through this semester and the next. But suggestions that we trim vital support services like library, special education and learning assistance is not a solution. The wonderful individuals who carry out these positions make high school survivable by a great many students. Having the principals pick up extra classes in order to cover scheduled classes is not a solution. These excellent administrators need to focus on the tasks that keep the school running smoothly and safely.
I’m all for running publicly funded services more efficiently. Nobody gets more frustrated at seeing government waste than me. Full classes and asking staff to do a little more with a little less is a fair reality. That’s responsible management of our taxpayer dollars. What makes this different is that the classes at LVR are full to government numbers and there are waiting lists for students who simply need core classes to graduate from high school.
I trust veteran vice-principal Tim Mushumanski when he says everything is being done to accommodate all students in the schedule. Though he is dealing with a new system, he is a wizard at putting together a complex schedule. For him to indicate that this is a more challenging situation than in past years is cause for serious concern. This is certainly not the fault of our high school administration.
One of the scariest moments of the evening came when school board chair Lenora Trenaman stated that the trustees in attendance would take the message to the board. But in saying that she indicated that they receive direction for their decisions from the superintendent and secretary-treasurer. It’s shocking that these elected representatives would not take their direction from the 80 concerned students and parents in the room that night. The problem seemed pretty obvious and since the board administration decided not to show up to the meeting, the trustees should be taking their direction from the people in that room and the LVR staff who are working in the trenches. It’s seems apparent that no help will be coming from the board… we are in this on our own.
This current crisis at our high school should not be dismissed by those who don’t have kids in the system as “their problem.” When a local high school can’t provide core classes that enable the proper tools to carry forward in the future… that will eventually bite everybody in some capacity. This is about the provincial government not properly funding public education. The province has done a decent job of making the system more efficient, but there comes a point when it goes too far. We have reached that point at LVR. If parents want to have any hope that the situation will improve beyond this current crisis, I would suggest they begin to send messages to Ministry of Education to let them know they are doing serious damage to the future of this province.