Plans to transport Osoyoos Secondary students to Oliver next week for an information session and tour of South Okanagan Secondary School are not going over well with some Osoyoos parents.
Parents with students attending OSS received a letter yesterday from principal Mike Safek that details a schedule to bus Grade 8 to 11 students to Oliver for an orientation that has as its goal alleviating “some of the anxiety and questions students and parents may have about moving to SOSS.”
The visit would also allow students to receive their course selection forms.
The timing, however, wasn’t lost on Osoyoos parents.
The transition process is underway even before the school closing process is complete. A required third reading is scheduled for April 27 and the Board’s decision requires subsequent ministerial approval.
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“Personally, it makes me think this is just another way the SD53 is ignoring parents and consultation process in regards to their ‘agenda,’ said Brenda Dorosz, a champion of keeping Osoyoos students in Osoyoos schools.
“I do not think this is morally correct to plan this before the third reading.”
Other parents in the community appear to agree. They took to social media last night to express their frustration.
At least one parent expressed a concern about the welfare of those students who would attend the session.
The scheduled visits limit the number of OSS students attending at one time. Rather than go in one block, Grade 11 students will visit next Tuesday, Grade 10 students next Wednesday, Grade 9 students next Thursday and Grade 8 students next Friday.
There is no mention of when students currently in Grade 7 — and attending Osoyoos Elementary — would travel to Oliver for their orientation.
Students are expected to return the course selection forms they receive, completed and signed by a parent, the following week — again prior to the Board’s third reading of the school closing bylaw.
Osoyoos Secondary is also scheduling a pair of visits with parents with SOSS administrators.
“Mr. Toneatto and Mrs. Harrington, the SOSS admin team, will be here on Tuesday, April 19, to meet with OSS parents at 6:00 pm in the theatre to discuss programming, transition, and answer any questions parents may have about SOSS,” the letter to parents reads.
“The next day, Wednesday, April 20, Mr. Toneatto and Mrs. Harrington will host OSS parents at 6:00 pm in the SOSS Library. The evening will start with an orientation and information session followed by a tour of SOSS facilities. We encourage parents to attend.”
Mr. Safek also says he expects some parents “may still be undecided about their children attending SOSS next year” but is encouraging the site visits anyway “in order to get information that may assist decision making about placement for your child next year.”
Those students whose parents have confirmed will not be attending SOSS next year “should be at school at OSS as it will be a regular school day,” the letter concludes.