Push to fill trad school begins

A final public information meeting will happen March 11 at 7 p.m.

Some Mission parents are ramping up their efforts to ensure enough new students register March 12 for the proposed traditional school.

A public information meeting at Fraserview Elementary School Tuesday night concluded with about 40 parents making plans on how to get the word out about the new program of choice being offered this September providing a minimum of 75 new kids sign up — defined as any child that isn’t already enrolled in a local school, except those who already have a spot in upcoming kindergarten classes.

Several parents volunteered to spread the word throughout their networks, and to accompany trustees to certain key public locations with informational pamphlets.

There will also be a final public meeting March 11 at 7 p.m. at Fraserview.

Mission Public Schools wants to start with a kindergarten to Grade 4 model which would allow the program to grow as the initial registrants climb through the grades.

To make it a kindergarten to Grade 7 program from the start, 100 new students would need to be enrolled.

“Registration day will make it or break it,” said trustee vice-chair Jim Taylor.

The board has said repeatedly if the minimum numbers aren’t reached, the traditional model will not move forward.

A committee was struck to plan the new offering, and member Rob Clark, a Mission teacher, said they “didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” and that they took cues from Abbotsford, which boasts three public traditional schools.

Principal Brian Tucker also sits on the committee and said there are hundreds of students who leave Mission daily to attend school, and take with them each about $7,500 in provincial funding.

“They are leaving because presumably, they’re going there to get something that they’re not getting here,” he said.

One of the traditional model’s key features is accountability contracts signed by the student, parent and classroom teacher. In this type of education stream, parent involvement is high.

There is also a regular homework policy (about 10 minutes per grade level), a dress code, less group work, and more teacher-directed instruction. Plus, the model sees desks arranged in rows, and students answering questions would be required to stand.

If the proposal is successful, the teachers hired would be carefully selected.

“It wouldn’t merely be just who doesn’t have a job,” said Clark. “There would be a very clear job description.”

For more information visit mpsd.ca/traditional.