Stu­dents lost in tran­si­tion

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

The school year has ended with the board of ed­u­ca­tion im­pos­ing cuts that par­ents will only learn about in the fall.

Per­haps, you think the tran­si­tion­ing of Grade 9 to high school comes with­out a cost. In a meet­ing at Syd­ney Academy re­gard­ing my son, who strug­gles with learn­ing dis­abil­ity ( LD), I wit­nessed the chaos caused by the move.

Start­ing in Grade 7, he ben­e­fited from com­bined learn­ing dis­abil­ity and learn­ing strate­gies classes, which seg­re­gated him from other learn­ers. The re­sult was pos­i­tive. He still needs to work on com­pe­tency, but he can read. While the pro- gram is be­ing of­fered ear­lier, both cour­ses have been re­moved from Grade 9, the board choos­ing to rob Peter to pay Paul.

In­stead, Grade 9s will get re­source, a more lim­ited pro­gram pro­vid­ing oc­ca­sional in- class sup­port and/ or pull­out. The only other pro­vi­sion is an itin­er­ant LD teacher, an ad­vi­sory po­si­tion shared by up to six high schools.

More per­plex­ing, my son, pre­vi­ously ex­empt from French, now re­joins class­mates two years ahead of him, the province un­will­ing to ex­empt him be­cause of lan­guage pol­i­tics.

Mean­while, the num­ber of French classes per cy­cle has in­creased at the ex­pense of tech­nol­ogy classes, a sub­ject that doesn’t re­quire ad­di­tional sup­port. None of this makes sense.

Next fall, Syd­ney Academy plans to welcome 21 LD stu­dents. Anx­i­ety, autism, hear­ing prob­lems and un­sta­ble fam­ily sit­u­a­tions com­pli­cate the LD di­ag­no­sis.

If you think these cuts have noth­ing to do with reg­u­lar classes, think again. De­creas­ing sup­port for spe­cial needs in­creases de­mands on teach­ers, forc­ing them to teach to the mid­dle. Stu­dents ca­pa­ble of more go home bored and frus­trated.

Other area high schools face the same chal­lenges. Con­cerned par­ents can con­tact me at vdunn60@east­ We have strength in num­bers. Voula Kap­pas- Dunn Syd­ney

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