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October 27, 2017 7:07 pm

School Board Considers Grade Configuration Change in Mackenzie

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 5:45 AM

Prince George, B.C. – A big change may be in store for grade seven students in Mackenzie.

The Prince George School Board’s Education Programs and Planning Committee has recommended that the Board approve a change in the grade configuration of Morfee Elementary to enrol grades kindergarten to grade six and a change in configuration at Mackenzie Secondary to enrol grades seven to 12.

The proposed changes would go into effect in time for the 2017-2018 school year.

Principals of the two schools, students, staff and parents have all been consulted on the matter.

The district says a similar program is in its fourth year of operation at Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof.

The matter will be debated at the Board’s monthly meeting in Prince George tonight. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.


“Principals of the two schools, students, staff and parents have all been consulted on the matter.”

I was at the parent’s consultation session. We were told of the plan and asked if we approve. We asked how the program will work:
1.Will the grade 7s be on the same schedule as the 8-12s? Answer: we don’t know yet.
2. Will the grade 7s be integrated with the 8-12s or in a separate wing? Answer: we don’t know yet.
3. Will the grade 7s still have one teacher all day as they do now, or will they have different teachers for each class like the 8-12? Answer: we don’t know yet.
4. Will the grade 7s be integrated into events and presentations intended for the 8-12s or will they be bussed to the elementary school for their events? Answer: we don’t know yet.
5. Will the school require any renovations to accommodate this program and is it possible to get that done before they arrive in September since nothing has been started yet? Answer: we don’t know yet.
6. Will the grade 7 program here be modeled on the one in Vanderhoof (we were exasperated and grasping for any kind of information at this point)? Answer: we don’t know yet.
7. What backup plans do you have if the school isn’t ready or the start of the program is seen not to be going well? Answer: we don’t plan to fail.
8. Will we get to see the plan before a decision is made so that we can actually tell you what we think of it? Answer: No, the results of these meetings will be taken into consideration and a recommendation will be made to the board in early 2017.

So in summary their consultation amounted to telling parents that they intend to move the grade 7s over to Mackenzie Secondary but they have no idea how it will work. They want our support, however, as they experiment with our children’s education because they ‘don’t plan to fail’. Well, that’s excellent, because SD57’s track record with rural education is certainly running at 100% success so far!

The only concrete and true information given to parents at the meeting was that a decision would be made before they ever tell us what their actual plan is. And these people want our support, this is so typical of SD57’s attitude toward rural schools.

    I went to school K-7, 8-10, 11-12 in Victoria. K-7 was the single teacher model, and afterwards we followed the many teachers for many classes model.

    My sister, seven years younger than me, went through a different system in Victoria. K-5, 6-8, 9-12. K-5 was with a single teacher, and she had different teachers after.

    At the end of the day, I would almost prefer multiple teachers to start ASAP…this is all my conjecture, but I would believe having poor teachers has likely even more of a negative impact than great teachers giving a positive impact. With more than one teacher working with your child, you are very unlikely to have someone ineffective teaching them all day. Variety is the spice of life, and all that.

      I haven’t decided whether I think it’s a bad idea or a good one. My complaint is they came to us with no details and asked if we approved of the plan. How can we approve of something if they don’t tell us what it is. That wasn’t consultation, it was barely even lip service and was a waste of everyone’s time who was in attendance, theirs and ours.
      It also doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that they weren’t willing to commit to a real consultation session once they actually had a plan to present. It makes me wonder if they have even done that yet.

    This reminds me of the public “consultations” the School District held the last round of school closures. Lyn Hall’s response to a lot of questions from the audience was, “We’ll email you the answer.” Which was rather odd since they didn’t collect any email addresses.

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