I am writing to give my perspective on the scenario drafted by School District 8 for Nelson-area schools.
In part, the scenario calls for 95 per cent utilization of the Central School building, more than doubling the number of children that attend now.
The district plans on adding the French immersion program, along with another complete K-7 program with students taken from the South Nelson and Rosemont School catchment areas, to the existing Wildflower School program. All of this while relocating the REACH program, created for at-risk-youth, who, in their view, are currently located in the optimal spot for their students’ success.
In my opinion, this scenario will be a unfortunate outcome for all the students that will be attending the “new” Central School. Break-out spaces needed for smaller group learning and for children with special needs will all but disappear with a 95 per cent space utilization.
Already, with the existing 145 students, the schoolyard currently used for both outside breaks and outdoor classrooms is too small. I am wondering how 353 students will be accommodated. Many of the basement rooms are dark with too few, small windows. Which program will be allocated to that space?
Wildflower School is growing as parents recognize its philosophy and multi-age nature offers several advantages to children. Under this draft scenario, I fear that Wildflower will be completely restricted in its ability to offer the programs that make it effective, and that the 114 South Nelson and Rosemont students that will be removed from their existing schools to attend the “new” Central School will be similarly affected by physical and cultural dislocation.
The elements I describe above are only a part of the draft scenario planned for Nelson schools; the whole draft facilities plan can be seen on the SD8 website. I urge parents and community members to have a look at the scenario and to write to SD8 at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and input. Public consultation ends April 30, after which the final plan will be promptly decided upon. If passed, changes will come into effect within two years.
Shari Imada, Nelson