Prior to his death in February, Ed McLachlan spent years as a member of the St. Thomas Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and filed many reports to council on accessibility issues in all city-owned facilities.
Lesley Buchanan is now chair of the committee and the annual site audit is on the agenda for all to see.
Here is a sampling of the ongoing barriers the handicapped face.
Call it the Great Divide — the emotional rift at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School that was the byproduct of attempts to reach a consensus to ease severe overcrowding at the former Homedale Senior Elementary School.
And the unanimous decision this past Tuesday to proceed with the Thames Valley District School Board’s preferred option of busing students to Port Stanley will not quickly heal the wound.
Referred to as Option 1, the plan entails moving French Immersion and Extended French students in Grades 7 and 8 to Port Stanley Public School, beginning in September.
It was the recommendation of senior TVDSB administrators and will transform Pierre Elliott Trudeau school into a senior kindergarten to Grade 6 facility for the time being.
In a discussion Thursday with Kevin Bushell, TVDSB manager of facility services, he explained the goal is to keep a cohort of students together.
By that, Bushell stressed the importance of “keeping the Grade 7 and 8’s together and not splitting them between two schools . . . And we couldn’t get a large number for kindergarten to Grade 8 for French Immersion in Port Stanley so we would have small class sizes, split grades and small cohorts of students. Continue reading
A special meeting of council on Tuesday which included invited officials from the Thames Valley District School Board did little to heal the great divide in the Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School community.
In fact, if anything, the rift has widened.
The tone was established early when manager of facility services Kevin Bushell admitted the board “mis-read the community” when dealing with overcrowding at the French Immersion school.
He then announced — and which was confirmed later that evening at the scheduled board meeting in London — an area attendance review would be undertaken beginning in the fall to be completed before the end of the year.
So, there will be no busing of senior students from the school to Port Stanley Public School to deal with severe over-crowding at the former Homedale Senior Elementary School. Continue reading
The overwhelming success of the French Immersion program at Pierre Elliott Trudeau school is to be admired.
The downside of that success is severe overcrowding at the school, which has resulted in what can only be called a great divide.
The rift in the school community over busing 240 students to Port Stanley to relieve pressure on a school that is literally bursting at the seams.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Thames Valley District School Board, a recommendation was made to put on hold for a year the busing plan while a full attendance area review be completed this fall. Continue reading
The Times-Journal has referred to it as The Great Divide: the emotional rift at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School that is the result of a school board decision to bus more than 200 students to Port Stanley Public School in the fall due to overcrowding at their home school.
Only 30 or so parents attended a January forum held by the school council to propose options to alleviate the crush of students at the former Homedale Public School.
The population at the school has swelled from 494 students in 2010 to 780 in 2014. Continue reading
The ‘re-designation’ of 240 students to Port Stanley Public School was one of several short-term solutions considered, advises a member of the school council at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School.
And one of the options would have seen those students returning to Wellington Public School, where most of them attended prior to the opening of their new home in the former Homedale Senior Elementary School.
It’s a possibility that may yet see the light of day, advises St. Thomas CAO Wendell Graves.
“Anything is possible,” Graves says. “One of the committees of council relates to the courthouse/Wellington block area and they have met a couple of times to work through a couple of potential strategies for that Wellington block which Algoma (University) will be done with at the end of the school year.
“We’re also going to be setting up a council/Thames Valley District School Board liaison meeting where we want to talk about some common issues in the city so that would be one that is on our agenda to talk to them about in terms of French Immersion.” Continue reading