Vancouver School Board staff are calling for public input on a wide range of recommendations, which could significantly impact the future of public education in Vancouver.
"This is a comprehensive document that is intended to provide the Board with a foundational understanding of the challenges and opportunities of our district," said Jordan Tinney, Deputy Superintendent. "There is a lot of information and suggestions here that could have a huge impact on the future of the Vancouver School Board. It's a very exciting time to be involved in public education and we're hoping many Vancouverites will get involved and lend their voice to this process."
The report released to the Board last night is designed to frame up a series of public conversations to be held in May. The Our Future website will continue to be a hub for the report, its accompanying data as well as the VSB's online public consultation forum Your Voice.
"We're really looking forward to getting feedback from the public about this report and its repercussions through our online forum, in the appropriate standing committees and through a series of public consultations slated for the coming months," says Mike Lombardi, Chair of Committee I and Vice Chair of the Board.
The report's recommendations touch on VSB facilities, programs as well as new educational systems such as the centralization of kindergarten registration along with the implementation of both balanced calendar and hybrid semester systems in the coming few years. It makes recommendations on where the VSB can streamline its operations by suggesting the reworking of some school catchment areas, the consolidation of VSB online learning and the optimization of the District's Reception and Placement Centre and International Student Program.
The sectoral review also recommends the expansion of a number of popular programs such as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, Mandarin Bilingual, Intensive French and Early Intervention/Reading Recovery. Meanwhile, the report grapples with the challenge of finding new ways to use surplus space in VSB schools during a time of declining enrollment.
"This report and recommendations will assist the Board in seeking educational opportunities that best meet the needs of our students now and into the future," said Patti Bacchus, VSB Chairperson. "The review also gives consideration to how we might more effectively utilize our facilities across the district to ensure asset sustainability that is in the best interests of the public."
The aim of the report is to help guide the district through some significant challenges. These include shifting demographics, declining enrollment, reduced funding and pressure to increase revenues, managing seismic challenges and issues surrounding aging infrastructure as well as the desire for accessible and quality public education.
For more information, visitors are encouraged to go to the Our Future website. To view the report, click here.