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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cilaire school improvements could build up student body

Culture of nearby eco-school more desirable, suggests letter writer
Cilaire Elementary School.

To the editor,

Re: New catchment areas proposed ahead of Rutherford school re-opening next year, May 16.

As part of the reopening of Rutherford School, the school district is proposing to increase the size of the Cilaire school catchment in order to increase the number of students at Cilaire and decrease the number of students in Departure Bay Eco-School.

While it is true that Departure Bay Eco-School is over capacity and Cilaire is under capacity, it has little to do with the number of students currently residing in the respective catchments and everything to do with the culture at each respective school.

Departure Bay Eco-School has embraced an outdoor learning model. It is true each teacher chooses how much they take their classes outside, but the culture of the eco-school encourages outdoor activities and learning beyond basic recess. Classes are often seen learning outdoors at Woodstream park or at Departure Bay Beach. Parents are seeing the value in this outdoor learning approach and are sending their kids to Departure Bay Eco-School in droves.

Cilaire school, with its prime location, stunning ocean views, access to trails, and recent $10-million renovation could be the jewel of the entire district; however, it is not. The recent renovation included many building upgrades but the grounds of Cilaire school contain an absurd amount of gravel and very little else.

It is a disservice to students and parents alike to simply redraw the catchments to try to force more students into a school they don’t want to attend. Instead, the school board should examine the root of the problem and do the hard work to improve Cilaire so that it too attracts parents and students. If you build it they will come.

D. Vipond, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press Media or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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About the Author: Nanaimo Bulletin News Staff

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