Background and timeline – May 18th

Posted May 18th, updated May 25th with dates.

At the beginning of May, it came to the PAC’s attention that the VSB had only allocated one French Immersion kindergarten and one English kindergarten class to Trafalgar in the fall of 2017. No third kindergarten class had yet been allocated as VSB staff attempt to determine how they will meet the newly restored classroom size and composition requirements. Changes to the incoming kindergarten classes may have impacts on the Trafalgar parent community in the years to come. (We have since learned that the VSB plan to add a third French Immersion Grade 1 class.)

The PAC had addressed a letter to the Trafalgar Director of Instruction, May 2ndyou can read it here

Parents signed this letter and sent their own letters to Ms. Ellen Roberts.

The PAC then received  a response to this letter from the VSB, May 5th, you can read it here

With the response of this letter, the PAC sought a number of advisors. They included the DPAC (District PAC) chair, CPF (Canadian Parents for French) who attended a recent PAC meeting (May 16th) where the issue was discussed with these advisors as well as parents and PAC members from other affected schools.

At the parent meeting, we shared information regarding the upcoming removal of French immersion kindergarten spaces, both at our school and at other schools in the Vancouver district.  Having already engaged in a round of letter writing to the Vancouver School Board (VSB), we knew that parents were passionate about this issue.  Our meeting reaffirmed our willingness to take action as we discussed what actions we would take. 

As the meeting closed, we concluded our desired goal or ask was to ensure restoration of the French Immersion K classes at our schools. Our three steps to start with:

  • Parents should write letters and meet with MLAs in ridings with impacted schools. The provincial government controls the school board budgets.  We want to ensure that our MLAs and the government are sensitive to our concerns regarding sufficient funds for education in our province. Our goal for having these meetings would be prior to May 24th, but if not possible at that short notice, in the week following.
  • Affected PACs should send a delegation to meet with Dianne Turner, the appointed trustee for the VSB to make our concerns directly heard.
  • Affected PACs should send a delegation to the VSB Education and Student Services Committee (Committee III) meeting on May 31st.  

We have been moving forward with these actions already.

I’ve been in contact with the PAC chairs at the other impacted schools and sharing what we discussed at the meeting.  The District PAC is helping us arrange a presence on the agenda at the Committee III meeting.  

We are drafting a letter for parents to send their MLAs.  A parent is already reaching out to MLAs to schedule meetings.  If parents want to write to their MLA now, we’ve provided a list of MLAs below.

Below is a list of local MLAs for the various affected ridings: 

MLA contact information is easily accessible from their individual websites.

Lord Selkirk  – Vancouver Mount Pleasant- Melanie Mark + (Mable Elmore and Adrian Dix)

Trafalgar – Vancouver Quilchena – Andrew Wilkinson

Tennyson, L’Ecole Bilingue – Vancouver Fairview –  George Heyman

Hastings – Vancouver Hastings – Shane Simpson

Parents may live in a riding that differs from their school. 

Point Grey – David Eby

False Creek – Sam Sullivan

West End – Chandra Herbert

Langara – Michael Lee

Fraserview – George Chow

What you can do now:

  • Stay informed.  Talk to your PAC members to make sure you understand the details of what is happening at your school and why it is happening.
  • Help us reach impacted parents.  Parents can sign up for this mailing list using this this link

We want to have a network of engaged parents in place when we are ready to write letters to our MLAs and the VSB.

We will be distributing the signup link for this mailing list to parents through our school newsletter but also through our local daycares and own social networks.  By spreading through these channels, we want to reach parents already in our school community as well as those who are trying to enter our schools

Thank you
Gord Lau
Trafalgar PAC co-chair