Boundary Review

UPDATE: Final Report from the Working Group, including maps for EFI and ENG.


UPDATE: Elmdale Parents Meeting May 15 presentation deck.

Links to reports can be found here.

Parent Input into Accommodation Review Process

From November 14, 2012 Information Meeting for Elmdale Parents
Organized by the Elmdale School Council (ESC) 

About 60 parents were present.  Trustee Jennifer McKenzie gave an overview of the Accommodation Review process to date and then answered questions. Parents then met in discussion groups and wrote down their Questions, Concerns and Ideas.  Below is a verbatim record of what was put forward by parents, divided into categories that emerged from what was written.

An Accommodation Review Working Committee will be struck towards the end of the month. The Committee will review current proposals and examine other options.  Two Elmdale parents will be selected for the committee.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Victoria Gibb-Carsley.  An overview of the position’s responsibilities will be circulated shortly.

Community

Questions + Concerns

  • We bought our home because of the community.   Schools are a big part of our community.  When my children start walking to school on their own, I know that if they run into any trouble on the way, they can go into any home along the way and they will be cared for. This won’t happen if they have to cross Carling into a community we don’t know or frequent.
  • Splitting up siblings
  • Primary-aged children in same family being at two different schools
  • Need to protect Fisher Park community centre, including after-school program as there is a serious shortage of after-school care.
  • Being moved (as a parent) outside of my community / support group
  • I am very concerned that we maintain a sense of community by being able to walk to school etc.  Walking along a school route and being aware of and knowing who and what they are passing (friend’s houses, grandparents, etc.)
  • Concern first is the wellbeing of our communities’ children over their school career (longterm)
  • Looking back in recent years, the teachers, students, administrators, parents, local businesses, volunteers and elected representatives have worked and contributed to forming a strong community in support of Elmdale Public School.  As a result the students and staff at Elmdale are succeeding with merits academically and in other areas (e.g., socially, musically, athletically and through community involvement).  Of course, another way the community supports Elmdale PS is through property taxes but this is not the primary concern.  Our Elmdale community expects a continued return on what it has invested for its K to 6 EFI and English students.  Many parents, of the kids who would have to move, see this situation as taking away what they have worked hard to achieve—for the benefit of their children’s success, and we don’t see and hear this being reflected.  Given the information provided thus far to parents, it’s a concern that it has not been identified how this community will be preserved through any of the proposed options.  It is essential to support the success of the existing students at Elmdale in the K to 6 classes, and any proposed option must reflect supports for a strong school community.  The documentation refers to some principles that were used for the creation of the proposed options, which don’t include the idea to support the transition of Elmdale’s community and this is wrong and needs to change in order to find a way to move forward with addressing the accommodations issues.  It’s not about disliking change or the infrastructure of a certain school facility (in fact, parents talked about how they made changes to move into the current Elmdale P.S. catchment area, to a very old school using many portables).

Ideas

  • Develop guiding principles oriented towards academic or community results as opposed to primarily space and cost inputs

Walkability

Questions + Concerns

  • Can OSTA provide relevant data from city-wide hazard review for all proposed scenarios re: walkability?
  • How can we continue to push for “walkable schools” with some of the potential boundary changes?
  • We moved to our community to be close to grandparents and close (walkable) to the school.  It would be devastating to younger siblings to never walk be able to walk to school because they had to cross Carling.

Ideas

  • Consider walkability Principle
  • Add community/walking as guiding principle for working group
  • Include ability to walk to school as one of the guiding principles of working group
  • Add in the principle of walkability into guiding principles (i.e. safe walkability and minimize long walks for children)
  • Walkability of Fisher Park as well as appeal of JK-8 school makes it much more appealing. Gowling out of community is a big issue
  • Walkability and safety
  • Very concerned that our children be able to walk to school
  • Walkability and safety  (crossing Carling)

Safety and Security

Questions + Concerns

  • What are crash statistics on Carling Avenue?
  • What security risks are there walking to Gowling across Carling?
  • What about public access to the Fisher Park School yard during school hours?
  • How safe and suitable are the yards for little children?
  • Children being able to cross Carling on their own
  • Parents expressed concerns for the safety of their children if they have to cross major roads such as Carling Avenue.

Child Care

Questions + Concerns

  • How would changes to boundaries impact on the before and after school child care?  For instance, the Children’s Center offers a program that currently services Elmdale families with a school bus that serves those families and I wonder if some of those children get transferred to Fisher Park, how will that impact on families’ child care requirements?
  • What consideration has been given or will be given to ensuring current child care arrangements are protected?
  • What resources will be committed to ensuring the least disruption to child care arrangements?
  • For affected families with children in Mothercraft (before and after school) at Elmdale ~ what solutions will be available for child care at the new schools?
  • Parents are concerned that they will need after school care programs with the proposed options.

Ideas

  • Protect on-site day care – critical for parents ~ there is a shortage already

Scope

Questions + Concerns

  • How many children are being accommodated? What is the size of the problem?
  • What was the rationale for the proposed boundaries of the catchment areas?
  • How were the borders for the catchment areas determined for each of the proposed options, i.e., what were the parameters for the catchment areas?  (Examples could be: maximizing school capacity through the catchment areas, demographics such as number of elementary school aged children, birth rates, travel distances and times, hazards to children such as major road crossings?)
  • The map depicting the catchment boarders for Elmdale P.S. is skewed to the west and south west.     Creating longer travel distances for children in skewed catchment areas is a concern.   It’s a concern that those families who live closer to Elmdale P.S., compared to those in skewed areas, are proposed to be partitioned out of the Elmdale P.S. catchment area.
  • What demographics/criteria were considered in drawing up the boundaries?
  • How will cross-border transfers be handled?
  • Is the overall population growth for “Ottawa” at 10% really an accurate reflection of population growth for the Elmdale area/neighbourhood
  • What data are available and taken into consideration in the development of the mapped catchment areas and options?
  •  How were schools such as Hilson P.S. and Connaught P.S., considered for possible locations?  Why were they not included as options?

Infrastructure

Questions + Concerns

  • What are the plans to retrofit schools to accommodate young children?
  • What’s the plan for Fisher’s outdoor infrastructure?
  • Shouldn’t each option be costed out before a decision is made (e.g.  transportation/rebuild/retrofit costs)?
  • Have the empty schools been considered as options (i.e. Bayswater/Beech and one of Lanark (pas Island Park)?
  • Will current leases be terminated and relocated (ie: City of Ottawa Recreation)
  • What is the maximum allowable # of portables at Elmdale?
  • City of Ottawa continues to push for intensification – Why is there no new infrastructure money identified for school expansion or new sites
  • Concern re: overcrowding at Fisher long term
  • Sustainability – The solutions are not sustainable for more than 3 years.

Ideas

  • Add more portables to Elmdale to accommodate Grade 6 in 2013-14 instead of moving them to Fisher
  • Make Broadview part of the solution… build 3 stories instead of 2.
  • Build a bigger school at Elmdale.
  • Impact of city property/park at Fisher Park

Programming

Questions + Concerns

  • Why was it not a good idea a few years ago to put the 5/6 gifted FI at Fisher but it’s okay now? What has changed?
  • Will the teachers slated to each the Grade 6 EFI at Elmdale move to Fisher with the kids to maintain some level of continuity?
  • In a JK-8 school, how would the school integrate the relationship between primary and older children / deal with the different needs at different ages and potential for interaction between the age groups?
  • Why is there no re-alignment of EFI and English programs – Connaught /Hilson or consolidation of English?
  • How do we do transitions of kids?
  • Has thought been given to an extended middle school at Fisher Park (i.e.  4-8 or 5-8)?
  • Is there research /evidence on the impacts of transitions vs. benefits of lack of transitions on children?
  • Is there research on the appropriate age to comingle age groups
  • If we and Devonshire move our (combined) Grade 6s to Fisher next year, how does the Board see accommodating those 2 populations (e.g. 64 grade 6s with 500+ Grade 7/8s)
  • Can Hilson’s MFI program be split EAST to either Connaught or Devonshire?
  • Can EFI be added to Hilson and Connaught?

Ideas

  • Consolidate Elmdale’s English program with Hilson’s English program (walking distance for most Elmdale kids)
  • Consideration of other schools/introduction of EFI (e.g. Hilson, Connaught, Cambridge Street.)
  • Include long term vision/planning as a guiding principle (so another review won’t be required in the next 5 years)
  • Adjust the boundaries for EFI for 2013 so Connaught  becomes and English and EFI school which will ease the numbers from Elmdale and Devonshire and maintain the walk to school principle.  And English track students from Elmdale move to Hilson or Connaught depending on which school is closest.
  • Consolidate English track program at a single school (Hilson, Connaught, other?)
  • Connaught as EFI program
  • Why not create an MFI/EFI program at Connaught to take the eastern catchment?
  • Allow Grade 6s to still participate in Elmdale extracurricular activities even if at Fisher

Process

Questions + Concerns

  •  “Smaller” affected groups getting drowned out by “larger” affected groups
  • How will we ensure that the views of new Canadians are heard?

Ideas

  • Vote for Working Group committee members

Next Steps

Notes from this meeting will be posted on Elmdale School Council website and circulated to parents.  A call out will be made to parents, asking for volunteers who are interested in sitting on the Accommodation Review Working Committee once the mandate and parameters for the committee are established by OCDSB staff. The selection process for the 2 committee members will be determined by the Elmdale School Council.

Elmdale parents will be kept informed of the Accommodation Review and their input will be sought through e-mails, this website and through future meetings.

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