LETTER: Don’t sacrifice Winlaw school

The value-added learning school trustees seek to create by closing schools is already being achieved at Winlaw elementary.

About 400 people came out to a school board meeting last week to show solidarity for Winlaw elementary school.

Re: “Slocan Valley parents outraged by potential Winlaw school closure

The sheer number and diversity of those attending the May 17 school district meeting (including parents, business proprietors, property owners, grandparents, etc.) proved to the Kootenay Lake school district trustees that the value-added learning they seek to create by closing schools is already being achieved at Winlaw elementary through extensive integration of school programming and the local community.

Hundreds of attendees were clear and united in their requests that the board prioritize local and accessible education. Winlaw elementary school is a popular, well utilized rural school. Its close proximity to the community makes bus rides short for primary students, facilitates parent volunteerism, creates local employment opportunity and business traffic, and keeps the staff in tune with community values and issues.

While the district draft plan argues that many rural schools do not provide cohort sizes large enough to offer desirable and diverse programming, the popularity of Winlaw elementary school demonstrates this is not a universal truth. Smaller class sizes for primary students are highly valued in many rural communities and will be more likely to meet the new provincial curriculum goals for increased personalized learning. This is what has attracted dozens of families to Winlaw elementary, my family included.

Why, the community wonders, would the board of education even consider closing a busy, growing school? There is no precedent for this. Arguments provided by trustees are baseless and totally inadequate. They rely on provincially determined deferred maintenance costs (that upon closer inspection appear to bear no relation to the actual usefulness or safety of the building), dubious “trending” enrollment data (no census or public health data was used) and the assumption that the district will be able to provide free transportation for students (neighbouring SD 20 is about to charge several hundred dollars per student to ride the bus).

When pressed, administration and trustees admit that closing rural schools is an attempt to convince the province that the district needs a new school. This is too large a sacrifice to make and the Winlaw school community will not offer itself up as the board’s sacrificial lamb.

Clare Kelly, Winlaw

 

Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Sanchez leads Leafs to 6th straight win

Nelson held off Spokane 3-2 on Friday

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

CHECK THIS OUT: Love and e-Readers

Anne DeGrace on downloading new literary relationships

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read