Alternate learning programs slated for closure

SD#83 officials are defending changes to programs geared towards students with behavioural and mental health issues.

North Okanagan-Shuswap School District officials are defending changes to programs geared towards students with behavioural and mental health issues.

The four alternate programs that serve up to 32 students a year will be closed.

“We are using this funding to build more services and supports into our brick and mortar schools as we cannot sustain the alternate school model that cost upwards of $27,000 a year per student,” said Morag Asquith, director of student learning.

“We are excited about this restructuring as it fulfills many of the challenges we face operating the alternate model that had been identified in the review process.”

But the parent of a student who was part of the school district’s alternate program is upset by its closure.

Debbie Latimer says her son had extreme difficulty in a regular school environment and was spending nearly every day in the principal’s office.

“After testing, meetings and lots of talking he was placed in the alternate program. It saved our family. Unless you have a kid who has been personally challenged like this, you have no idea how hard it is on everyone involved,” she says.

Latimer says putting some of these students back into regular classrooms does a disservice to both the special needs students and the other students in that classroom.

“It saddens me a lot that this program is being cut. It is a huge mistake and the long-term repercussions will be grim.”

But Asquith says the goal is to build more learning resource teacher time, provide greater capacity with classroom teachers, more learning resource teacher time into our rural schools and additional school psychologist time to behaviour assessment time

“This restructuring was not a board decision. It was a committee of people working together to determine what is the best way to proceed with supports for students,” said Asquith.

“This committee involved principals, alternate teachers, school psychologists, counsellors, parents and classroom teachers.”

Asquith is now leaving the district after she accepted a position as the associate superintendent with the school district in Lethbridge, Alta.

“I am excited for the professional opportunity that this provides for Morag and her family, but sad to be losing such a strong leader for the student services department,” said Glenn Borthistle, North Okanagan-Shuswap superintendent.

I would like to thank Morag for the seven excellent years of service to our students and how she has tirelessly advocated on behalf of more vulnerable populations working with community, families and students. “

Asquith’s last day with the district is June 15.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm makeup artist adds new sparkle to industry

Missy MacKintosh launches her own cosmetics company with the release of biodegradable glitter

Blind Bay shooter changes story about accomplice

Jordan Barnes tells the court he was sole person responsible for death of Nicholas Larsen

Okanagan realtors add voices to anti-speculation tax coalition

This speculation tax is likely to harm the very people the government is trying to protect

Askew’s owner objects to underpass

Downtown Salmon Arm voices its support for project, which will go to referendum in October

Column: No last name required for Mayor Marty

I was saddened by the news of the death of former mayor… Continue reading

Your April 24 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out on ‘malign’ behaviour

Cosby jury to decide: Serial rapist or con artist’s mark

Bill Cosby is at the courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Trump: ‘Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada’

U.S. President Donald Trump is offering his condolences to Canadians

Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless,’ says no apparent terror link

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

Painting of Enderby landmark finds home in Victoria

Royal BC Museum adds, from Grafton Tyler Brown collection, work of Enderby Cliffs

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Okanagan Lake levels stay steady but snowpack is growing: officials

Whether or not the tributaries and creeks flood depends on how suddenly the snowpack begins to melt,

Most Read