Reconfiguration proposed for six elementary schools

Proposal, which would see all Grade 6 and 7 students attending middle schools, would affect around 180 students.

The Abbotsford school district is considering whether to remove Grade 6 and 7 students from the six local elementary schools which currently run from kindergarten to Grade 7.

The proposed move would bring the schools into accordance with the rest of the district’s elementary schools, which run from kindergarten to Grade 5. In his report to the school board at this week’s meeting, secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk wrote that the move would also benefit students.

Currently, students who would be affected attend three different schools in a three-year period, as they move from their elementary school, spend one year in a middle school, then transition to a secondary school.

“These transitions can be difficult both academically and socially,” Velestuk wrote.

The schools that would lose Grade 6 and 7 students are: Aberdeen, Ross, Bradner, Mt. Lehman, Barrowtown and Upper Sumas elementary schools.

Barrowtown and Upper Sumas would also see their catchment area realigned to be part of the Abbotsford middle and secondary areas. Aberdeen, Ross, Bradner and Mt. Lehman students would continue to attend Eugene Reimer middle school after elementary school.

The mostly rural schools have a combined annual Grade 6 and 7 enrolment of around 180 students.

The district is revising its long-term facility plan, and Velestuk said the review has identified “the inconsistency of elementary school grade configurations … as contributing to ongoing capacity/utilization issues at some elementary and middle schools.”

The district said it would begin a consultation process, and letters were sent to parents Thursday. The board of education trustees are slated to make a decision on the matter at its Feb. 23 board meeting.