EMB Update from Shauna Cook – Norquay PAC EMB & DPAC Representative

Dear EMB Parents,

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak with Nancy Brennan, the associate superintendent at the VSB who is heading up the newly created EMB Transition to Secondary Committee. The intention of my call was twofold: 1) to introduce myself as I will be a member of this committee along with Ms. Jorgensen and Ms. Ba, and 2) to inquire about a the April 30, 2018 date assigned to deciding upon a suitable secondary school for the EMB Program.  For reference, Nancy authored and submitted a report to Committee III on January 4, 2017 stating “…a final recommendation as to a proposed secondary school site will be brought to the Board no later than April 30, 2018.” 

I was personally concerned by this date – as I know many of you are – so I thought it best to check with Nancy directly and find out if it was written in error. Here is what I learned:

  • Policy language was followed with regards to the April 2018 final decision date for an EMB secondary school. It’s very likely a decision will be made before then depending on how smoothly discussions run in the EMB secondary transition committee meetings. The committee is expected to meet 2-3x before the end of this school year.
  • A list of potential secondary schools for the program has not been narrowed yet.
  • The school-based articulation process for grade 7’s begins as early as October where Choice program information is distributed to schools and parent information nights are held throughout October – November.   Students are given the opportunity to visit high schools as groups to learn about the culture and support the transition into secondary schools.  I expressed our hope that the EMB grade 7’s will also be part of that process with a secondary site identified by or before the fall. Nancy mentioned some of the current challenges with space, seismic upgrades and so forth that could make it difficult to determine a site.
  • I asked what parents can do to help move the process along so that a decision can be reached sooner and I heard the following: 
    • Respond to calls for feedback, surveys and any other questions the committee asks in a timely manner.
    • Be willing to listen to the reasons why the district is selecting X schools as options for the program, i.e. staying away from a “this is the only school that’s acceptable” attitude.
    • Keep a respectful and open dialogue throughout the process.
Please hone in on the points made in the last bullet and understand that I will impress upon the committee the urgency in determining a site for the program. The committee is meeting for the first time on Thursday, March 2, 2017. You can expect to hear back from me following the meeting with next steps and more news. It may be appropriate at that time to proceed with a letter writing campaign.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
Thank you,
Shauna Cook
Norquay PAC EMB & DPAC Representative