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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 6, April 2005

Aldergrove Elementary will stay open

by Laurence Greeff

The Langley School Board will keep Aldergrove Elementary School open. Parents and staff at the school are so happy. In their final presentations, parents challenged the board to make the right decision and keep the school open. Board members spoke eloquently about the need to look beyond the neo-conservative agenda of fiscal efficiencies and base decisions on educational soundness. Aldergrove Elementary is an inner-city school that serves students well; it has a vital role in the community.

The great win for Aldergrove Elementary is a tribute to the spirit of the community. The parent committee out-organized everyone. They worked with the staff to make presentations to the board. They prepared 35 special presentations at a consultative meeting. They had media coverage on the school closure from January to March. They had CTV, Global, and City TV cover the whole proceedings. Students gave impact statements in a multimedia presentation.

Parents travelled to Victoria on the last day of the Legislative Assembly to meet with MLAs and the deputy minister of education. They set up an effective e-mail campaign, and the March issue of Teacher newsmagazine had a story about that wonderful and vibrant school.

We included one of the parent presentations in the Langley newsletter, The Link. Grandparents played an effective role in telling about the history of the school and its positive role in the community. Community members came out in droves to overflow the gallery for the last five board meetings.

Our colleagues at Aldergrove worked with the parents to support them in their efforts to keep the school open, and after their great victory, the LTA sent a bouquet of yellow roses to the staff to say thanks for working so hard to achieve their goal.

The staff wants to carry that victory into the provincial election campaign because they feel so strongly about the importance of small community schools.

Their message to us was simple: Take a risk, and fight back, because we have a responsibility to defend public education.

Laurence Greeff is president of the Langley Teachers’ Association.



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