Families vow to fight for valued Spanish bilingual program

‘We’ll preserve preventing for this. Now we have a full 12 months earlier than 2022 to make our voices heard’

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A gaggle of south finish dad and mom will preserve preventing for his or her children’ Spanish bilingual program, saying its removing at Dr. E.P. Scarlett does nothing to deal with overcapacity points at the highschool.

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Officers with the Calgary Board of Schooling introduced modifications final week that can see a number of excessive faculties lose various applications like Spanish bilingual, French immersion and effective arts by fall 2022.

After warnings a few rising must steadiness crowding in suburban excessive faculties with diminished capability at inner-city excessive faculties, the CBE performed a two-year engagement course of asking for public enter.

However Tabitha Beaton, who has two sons approaching Grades 8 and 10 in Spanish bilingual, says her considerations about shedding this system at Scarlett had been by no means heard by the CBE.

“It breaks our hearts, to see how a lot effort our youngsters have put into their Spanish training to simply must lose it on this method.

“It’s not proper, and it appears as if that is the plan for CBE all alongside — to simply finally eliminate various programming after they bought it to oldsters for thus lengthy.”

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CBE has determined Spanish bilingual college students at each William Aberhart and Scarlett should attend Crescent Heights beginning within the fall of 2022, the one remaining college that can provide it for highschool college students.

However with Spanish bilingual college students at Scarlett solely making up a small cohort of scholars, lower than 100 per grade, eradicating this system doesn’t actually deal with overcapacity points, dad and mom argued.

Beaton stated she, together with a rising group of involved households within the south, will combat for a reversal of the CBE choice after this fall’s municipal election — anticipated to lead to a considerably completely different college board with the retirement of a number of trustees.

Dad and mom are additionally planning a proper grievance to CBE space administrators and the chief superintendent, saying their enter was fully disregarded all through the general public engagement course of.

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“We’ll preserve preventing for this. Now we have a full 12 months earlier than 2022 to make our voices heard,” Beaton stated.

1000’s of scholars within the metropolis’s south have thrived in Spanish bilingual programming for years, beginning at Eugene Coste and Canyon Meadows Elementary faculties, transferring to Robert Warren Junior Excessive after which ending at Scarlett, additionally positioned in Canyon Meadows.

Monica Villasenor Fassnidge stated her two elementary-aged kids benefit from the programming a lot the household moved from Auburn Bay into Canyon Meadows to be nearer to Scarlett for the highschool years.

“However now the youngsters will miss out on their Spanish training. It’s so disheartening, and so disappointing,” she stated.

“I used to be raised with three languages, so I actually perceive the advantages of that, it opens up so many doorways for the youngsters’ future.”

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Villasenor Fassnidge’s household is from Chile, and he or she’s thrilled to see her kids capable of simply converse with them in Spanish.

Meagan and Brian Marriott may even be part of the combat to maintain Spanish at Scarlett, saying their household has additionally made sacrifices to stick with this system, like rearranging work schedules to drive their two children, a daughter in Grade 6 and a son in Grade 9.

Like Beaton, the Marriotts stated they felt fully ignored through the public engagement course of, together with a current digital open home the place they noticed their questions deleted from the queue.

“It’s virtually like this choice was already made, earlier than the engagement even began,” stated Brian.

Meagan added removing of this system isn’t simply a tutorial loss — it’s an emotional and social loss.

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Residing in Chaparral, and no Spanish program to attend at Scarlett, the Marriotts’ children should both face a prolonged commute to Crescent Heights or attend common programming at close by Centennial with a very new cohort.

“That’s devastating for my son. He has constructed a group of assist in Canyon Meadows, with shut associates, and actually nice, wholesome relationships with adults too.

“And now all of that’s being taken away.”

Crescent Heights High School was photographed on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Crescent Heights Excessive College was photographed on Tuesday, Might 19, 2020. Picture by Gavin Younger/Postmedia

CBE officers stated all suggestions gathered throughout the highschool engagement challenge was reviewed and regarded, though suggestions was only one consider decision-making.

“We additionally thought of CBE values and planning rules, obtainable house and assets, and monetary sustainability,” stated CBE spokeswoman Megan Geyer.

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“It’s additionally necessary to level out that Spanish bilingual program enrolment represents one per cent of all highschool college students on the CBE.”

However dad and mom argue that it has particularly been CBE choices, just like the removing of busing for various applications, that has resulted in declining enrolment.

Brian Marriott argued that when their children had been nearly to begin kindergarten, they had been satisfied by a powerful CBE gross sales pitch describing how invaluable Spanish bilingual training was.

“However now, there’s clearly an intention to simply finish these applications altogether.”

The Marriotts and Beaton added additionally they tried to straight contact their trustee, Julie Hrdlicka, a number of instances through the engagement however by no means obtained a reply.

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“Now we have obtained no assist in any way from our trustee, and no reply to our messages,” Beaton stated.

Hrdlicka stated whereas she understands the sensation of loss, she has mentioned the problem with many members of the group over the previous 12 months, together with in school council conferences.

“It is a close-knit group that vastly values the Spanish bilingual program and its proximity locally. I hear dad and mom after they say they’re upset,” Hrdlicka stated.

“In talking with dad and mom, we regularly discuss why these types of robust decisions are mandatory. Tough choices have to be made to satisfy our dedication to sustainability when CBE funding doesn’t preserve tempo with rising pupil enrolment.”

eferguson@postmedia.com

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