Edmonton parents question fate of special school arts, language and religion programs

Parents of children in specialized programs at 15 Edmonton public schools whose fate is uncertain fear the future of one-size-fits-all available near them.

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Parents of children enrolled in specialized programs at 15 Edmonton public schools whose fate is uncertain fear the future of special classes available near them.

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Seven-year-old Carver Berezowsky has grown into a confident freshman after nearly two years in the Afton School’s basic arts program, his father Mike Berezowsky said.

“He’s doing incredibly well in school because it engages and challenges him. We would be very worried if artistic programming was threatened.

Edmonton Public Schools announced on Wednesday that they are planning community meetings in the Westlawn, Britannia and Rosslyn areas, where 15 aging buildings are underused and expensive to maintain, said Chris Wright, general manager of infrastructure at the division.

In other neighborhoods where the school division has called similar meetings, the school board has approved plans to build new clustered schools to replace old buildings.

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Other mature neighborhoods may soon be grappling with similar issues as part of the school division’s plan to have all 93,000 students learn in new or significantly improved buildings by 2024.

Their strong belief in the developmental benefits of an education enriched by the arts prompts Elvira and Mike Berezowsky to drive Carver to Afton School from their home in the Dechene neighborhood.

Dance, music, visual arts, and drama are all integrated into Afton’s curriculum. In grade 2, Carver will begin to learn to play an instrument. His father hopes that long bus trips are not in his son’s future.

“I really want to be reassured that the programming will be maintained and that we have access to it in the west,” Berezowsky said.

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The Pearse family also moved to the Kensington area 16 years ago to be closer to a school that offered the Logos Christian program. Anita Pearse’s 10 children attended Kensington School, and her two youngest remain there. Youngstown and Britannia schools also offer the Logos program.

Other schools with uncertain futures also have special programs. Sherwood School offers the Opportunities for Children with Mild Intellectual Disabilities program and Spanish language and culture programs for children from grades 3 to 6.

Calder School has 75 students enrolled in a Bilingual Arabic program. Meanwhile, 124 children from Scott Robertson School and 123 more from Mayfield School are enrolled in the early education program for children with problems such as autism spectrum and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

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TO Rosslyn Junior High, 82 students are in an academically accelerated pre-advanced internship program. 68 other middle year students are in the Mandarin bilingual program.

Wright had said part of the consultations involved hearing which programs in affected schools are important to families.

“We are still in the very early stages / preliminary on this subject,” wrote spokeswoman Raquel Maurier in an email. “The first public meetings will take place soon and no decisions or predeterminations have been made. “

Maurier said the division will have more information in May following the compilation of comments from the March public meetings.

The community meetings are scheduled for March 10, 14 and 15.

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