Students lost in transition
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We have strength in numbers. Voula Kappas- Dunn Sydney