Associates of Davis Road Elementary School are pleased that a new option has been created with regards to school reconfiguration in the community.
School District 68 will announce its final decision this Thursday, but prior to then, Ladysmith Extended Consultation Working Group has created and submitted a third option C for the board’s consideration.
The working group has been concentrating on the Ladysmith school’s particularly, and Option C now sees Davis Road stay open for the foreseeable future.
“There’s definitely a glimmer of hope now,” said Carrie Segreto from Davis Road’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC). “There’s more of a positive outlook for families and students of École Davis Road now, as we all felt horrible [at the idea] of having to drive to North Oyster.”
The creation of Option C comes after two public meetings were held recently that saw a vast crowd of Davis Road parents come out and vent their frustrations to the school board.
Previous options A and B saw Davis Road close at some point over the next couple of years, but now, Option C keeps the school open and closes North Oyster Elementary instead.
“Davis Road before didn’t have a chance,” said Segreto. “This [Option C] keeps Ladysmith kids in Ladysmith schools and that’s a plus. It’s the best option we’ve seen so far, and we hope SD68 sees it that way as well.”
Davis Road’s French Immersion program will also stay put under Option C and not move to North Oyster.
Principal Doug English, who has been part of the working group, is also happy but admits he’s remained “fairly neutral with the whole process and wasn’t at the last working group meeting where the third option came about.”
“The community is very happy to have another option out there,” he said. “There’s renewed hope at the south end of town, as there’s a very strong community here — as there is in the whole town.”
It’s that sense of community that Davis Road has been emphasizing to SD68, believing a move to North Oyster would break that up.
School District statistics show that Davis Road holds the worst facilities for students in the district and North Oyster has the best in the Ladysmith area.
SD68’s ideal number of students for elementary schools is between 200 and 400.
Davis Road currently has 250 students but is over a hundred over capacity.
North Oyster has 90 students enrolled and a capacity of 275.
A press release from Davis Road PAC reads, “Option C keeps the French Immersion program within the Town of Ladysmith and provides room for it to grow, alleviating the many valid concerns expressed during the public consultation process about the program’s viability if it were to be moved outside of the Town limits.
“Option C sees the Grade 7 population remaining in the elementary schools, keeping Ladysmith in alignment with the other schools in SD68 and providing the configuration supported by recent research as having better educational, social and emotional outcomes for students than other models. The longer-term plan presented in Option C, which includes two kindergarten to Grade 7 schools in Ladysmith, one of which would be dual track (French Immersion and English), supports EDR PAC’s stated preference for the K-7 model of elementary education in schools within the optimal size and program range as outlined by SD68.”