presentation by allan simpson to the student

Presentation by Allan Simpson to the Student Accommodation Review - PDF document

Presentation by Allan Simpson to the Student Accommodation Review Committee: As a former French Core Language and French Immersion teacher at JDSS, and as a father of two children who attended Dawnview, James A. Magee, and JDSS, I am very

  1. Presentation by Allan Simpson to the Student Accommodation Review Committee: As a former French Core Language and French Immersion teacher at JDSS, and as a father of two children who attended Dawnview, James A. Magee, and JDSS, I am very concerned about some of the options put before the Review Committee. I have a few observations and suggestions to make. Firstly, I find it inconceivable that Option A proposes that children from age 4 up in French Immersion should be separated from their peer group and friends, and sent off to the proposed District School. The thinking is of course all based on demographics and square footage, the parameters set by the government of Ontario. Young children are not simply numbers to be shuffled here or there to meet square footage requirements. I am therefore opposed to Option A. Option B is more sensible and humane, allowing the French Immersion students to stay in the same elementary schools as theirs peers in the English stream. If the Committee decides to send students from grades 7 and 8 to the new District School, then it should be a dual track, made up of both the English and French streams. Secondly, I do applaud the proposals to reintroduce French Immersion courses at JDSS and at its replacement school as soon as numbers warrant. I understand that the enrolment in French Immersion is very promising with healthy numbers averaging above 20 for future years. A programme, course of study, text books, and supporting materials are already in place at JDSS from the 1990's when French Immersion was part of the JDSS curriculum. We need those French Immersion numbers here in Hanover. Students ought not to be forced to switch to Sacred Heart in Walkerton or to Grey Highlands in Flesherton to continue their French Immersion studies, especially when their numbers justify the courses being offered here. Thirdly, I would like to speak about the decided disadvantages and challenges that will be faced by Chesley trying to run a high school programme for under 200 students. I speak from the experience of having taught in a northern community where there were 165 students in the high school. Student selection of courses was non-existent. Classes were not streamed. Students of all abilities, whether leaning towards a trade, a community college, or a university, they were all taught in the same class. Exceptional students were forced to reside in another community to get a suitable education. Students were often promoted to the next level of a course they hadn't passed. The school offered minimal extra curricular activities because it had so few teachers. Once Chesley's numbers drop to the projected numbers below 190 students, it is quite possible that of those remaining, many will transfer to one of the larger high schools in the area. I have one suggestion in regards to the very successful Agricultural course pioneered in Chesley District. The Review Committee might want to look into the feasibility of transplanting this course to the new District School in the event that Chesley high school students do come to the new school.

  2. All options call for the replacement of JDSS by a new District School. $2 million has been set aside just to purchase a new property and service it. Due to the projected enrolment at this school, plans call for a single gym of reduced size, nothing that would be comparable to the large gyms presently enjoyed at JDSS. It should be noted that these large gyms have been used by the community as a whole for sports,inter-school tournaments, band concerts, community events, sales, and large musical productions. The dimensions of the proposed gym do no allow for room for bleachers for spectators nor for inter-school tournaments. Even full school assemblies will no longer be possible in a gym of such limited dimensions. JDSS is designated as a community school. The gyms therefore are intended to serve not only the students at JDSS but the community at large. The construction of these 3 gyms was funded to some extent by local taxes, assessed on us the taxpayers, back in the days when the Board of Education had powers to assess local education taxes to fund the building the community needed and wanted. The present formula, now controlled by Queen's Park, does not serve our needs as well. I propose that thought be given to the following suggestions: Retain the present high school site for the construction of the new District School, thus saving $2 million. Keeping the site in the core of the town is preferable to finding a new empty location which would have to be on the outskirts of the town. Purchase the adjacent Crawford Playing Field for $1 from the Town of Hanover to allow for the required acreage suggested by the government guidelines. The Crawford field has proven to be a wonderful site for sports events and track meets not just for JDSS students but for all of south west Grey. Put some of the money saved into the construction of a larger gym and an additional tech room than what the funding formula provides. My last point deals with Dawnview Public School which has proven to be an ideal learning environment. It has catered to the kindergarten, primary and junior levels in the south portion of Hanover as well as the French Immersion students up to grade 3. Young students have been nurtured here by a caring staff in a relatively small school. Ministry capacity at Dawnview is set at 201 students. Presently there are 255 students at Dawnview, 54 over capacity. I am proposing the following: that this surplus at Dawnview be reduced to the ministry capacity of 201 students. Keep Dawnview, but make it a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 school.

  3. Sell off or dispose of the portables. This will eliminate the upkeep and repair costs incurred by the portables. Junior level students, that is grades 4 and 5, both English and French tracks, would attend Hanover Heights, thus boosting numbers at Hanover Heights. Grades 6, 7 and 8, both English and French tracks, would attend the new District School. This would boost the District School numbers while keeping Hanover Heights at a manageable population level. Hanover Heights should not be allowed to become a large public school with over 700 students. We live in a town and do not need to adopt the large urban school size with the problems inherent in such large city schools. There would be no need to build 4 new classrooms nor to modify 2 other rooms at Hanover Heights to accommodate the growing number of elementary students. This saves a lot of money. Take the money saved and put it towards upkeep and repairs at Dawnview. We have no shortage of elementary students to keep both Dawnview and Hanover Heights at near capacity, while still having students at the grades 6 to 8 levels to attend the new composite school. Putting so many elementary students into one large elementary school poses transportation challenges and costs and destroys the unique learning environment that smaller schools offer. In conclusion, I would ask that the members of the Review Committee, in arriving at these many difficult decisions, keep the best interests of the students first and foremost. Thank you.

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