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Mission parents voice thoughts on traditional school idea

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About 100 "new" students would need to enrol in Mission school district to make a traditional elementary school financially viable, parents heard last Tuesday night.

The acting district treasurer Wayne Jefferson, uttered the number after several parents asked what it would take, dollar-wise, to bring the idea to life.

The board of school trustees held the public forum at Heritage Park Secondary School to get ideas from parents on what elements they would expect in a traditional elementary school.

Uniforms were almost universally voiced, while high levels of accountability for actions, and enhanced respect shown towards students and teachers also making the top of the list.

An Abbotsford Traditional school teacher spoke early in the evening and said the ideas of traditional schools should be adopted in all schools, as it would help "make kids the best students they can be."

A parent from the now-closed Durieu Elementary School, which ran a traditional model from 2008 until 2010, said support for the idea would be paramount to the plan's success, as well as making busing available to the site from everywhere in the district.

Trustees called for the forum after enrolment numbers were examined in September.

Co-acting superintendent Randy Huth noted 172 students (including Summit Learning Centre) have withdrawn from the local school district. The majority, 105, moved out of province, but 42 migrated to an independent school. A lower number was seen at the secondary level, with 141 total withdrawals, and 86 moving to another province, with eight now attending an independent school.

But some of the people present at the Nov. 13 forum said migrating Grade 7s into the high schools prompted parents to move their children elsewhere, and that the middle school model ought to be re-examined.

A number of forum attendees also said there are too many parents who aren't working hard enough at home to teach their children values, and that it isn't teachers' jobs to raise their students, but to educate them.

Board chair Edie Heinrichs said after the meeting that the results from a survey currently circulating through the district will be cobbled together with feedback received last Tuesday, and another forum will likely be scheduled.

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