Elementary school could end at Grade 5 instead of Grade 6, beginning in September 2018 in Chilliwack. The board has voted to create a special committee to deal with concerns, and communicating with the public, staff, students and the district. (Progress file)

Elementary school could end at Grade 5 instead of Grade 6, beginning in September 2018 in Chilliwack. The board has voted to create a special committee to deal with concerns, and communicating with the public, staff, students and the district. (Progress file)

As Chilliwack schools eye changes, reconfiguration committee struck

Chilliwack school board votes to put committee in place to gather and report information

Reconfiguring Chilliwack’s school system took one step forward Tuesday night, with a board decision to strike a committee.

The school district is considering shifting the grade configuration of local schools. Under the new system, expected to be in place by September 2018, elementary schools would include K-5, middle schools would include grades 6-8, and senior secondary would include grades 9-12.

There are two main reasons the district and school board believe this would be a better configuration than currently in place. One is that the middle schools would be able to provide more exploratory learning to Grade 6 students, as per the new B.C. curriculum.

The other hope is that shifting grades could alleviate overcrowding at the elementary level. There was a period of consultation with the public over the fall and winter, with mixed reactions from teachers, staff, parents and students.

The committee, as proposed by Trustee Heather Maahs, is intended to provide information and advice, keep the community and parents apprised of progress, aide in a smooth transition, provide transparency for the school community and parents, and ensure all voices are heard.

The committee will include two trustees and will be chaired by a member of the Board of Education. No trustees have been appointed to the committee yet, and all trustees voted in favour.

Trustee Bob Patterson noted that he’s “pleased we’re giving it some time.” Initially, the district was eying up a change for this September.

“There is so much work to be done to be effective,” Patterson said. “We have to hear from everyone.”