School reconfiguration plan meets opposition

Petition, Facebook group launched to fight proposal to change six kindergarten-to-Grade 7 schools to K-5.

Upper Sumas elementary is one of six district schools currently with students in kindergarten through Grade 7.

The Abbotsford school district’s proposal to reconfigure six rural schools in Abbotsford has met with opposition from some parents.

Last week, the district unveiled a proposal to reconfigure its remaining kindergarten-to-Grade 7 schools to match its 24 other kindergarten-to-Grade 5 elementary schools. The move, which would take effect next year, would impact Aberdeen, Bradner, Mt. Lehman and Ross elementaries in the city’s west, and Barrowtown and Upper Sumas elementaries in the east. The district also proposed changing catchment areas so Barrowtown and Upper Sumas students would attend Abbotsford middle and senior.

But some parents have come out against the move, which will be voted on by the board of education in February.

Jared White, who has two children at Upper Sumas along with a preschooler, said the current system works well for families and allows older children to help younger kids in school.

“What a blessing it is for a (kindergarten student) to have an older sibling in Grade 6 or 7 who can help them navigate their sense of belonging in the school and who can be there to stand up for them,” White wrote in a letter to the district.

White said changing the catchments the same year further complicates things, as older children like his son have already made connections at their existing catchment-area middle school.

“As educators and parents yourselves, you should be aware that consistency and structure is best for a child’s development,” White wrote. “Changing expectations and plans mid-year is going to upset a lot of children and a lot of families.”

He suggested that if the change does happen, it should be delayed until 2017 or later.

White has launched an online petition, and also formed a Facebook group, Save Our K-7 Schools, that had 120 members as of Tuesday afternoon.

One parent wrote on the group’s page: “This deeply saddens our family. One of the reasons we chose Ross elementary was the k-7! With our son being in grade 5, this is like having the carpet ripped out from underneath us … There should be fair warning, better set up of this process, not half a year notice.”

The school district has pledged to consult further with parents. Consultation meetings are anticipated to be held in January.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Clearbook Library evacuated due to bomb threat

Abbotsford Police continuing to investigate for remainder of the day

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Plan to develop Fraser Valley Inn unveiled

Six-storey mixed-use building would recreate facade of existing structure and add public plaza

Cleaning up Abbotsford OK Tire after 2017 fire a ‘priority’ for company

Over a year after fire, rebuild delayed by environmental concerns, investigation, building requirements

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read