Opinion: Have a voice on grade configuration

As Chilliwack school district eyes changes to its primary, middle and secondary schools, parents and students should speak up.

Change is one of the true consistencies in education.

This year, staff, students and parents are dealing with the introduction of a major overhaul of what’s being taught in Chilliwack classrooms.

Those curriculum changes are the most significant in B.C. education in many years. This year the new curriculum for  kindergarten-to-Grade 9 was introduced. Next year the senior grades will face changes.

But that’s not the only revision local schools could be facing.

This week the Chilliwack school district began consultations on how grades are organized and distributed through local schools.

Again, the proposed changes are significant.

Currently school levels in Chilliwack are divided in three: primary, middle and secondary.

That won’t change. But what might change is a what grade level those divisions occur. One key consideration is shifting middle school so it would include grades 6 to 8. Grade 9 students would move to secondary and Grade 5 would be the senior year in primary.

The argument is the change might better meet the education needs and maturity levels of the students. It might make better use of classroom space, and it might better match the new curricula being introduced this year and next.

Not everyone agrees. At public information meetings this week there were strong opinions expressed about the implications of the proposed changes.

The district says it remains open to input, but adds the reconfiguration could come as early as next September.

Clearly if parents want a say on what schools their children might be attending in the fall, and what those schools might look like, the time is now.