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Why not Caroline Robins School?

Excellent article by The StarPhoenix’s Janet French

Why do so many parents spurn Caroline Robins for the stuffed halls of Dundonald?

One Hampton Village resident said some of her neighbours can’t get over the outdated “community school” label.

Justine McCaffrey, the president of the Hampton Village community association, has two sons, four and two years old. Although they had strongly considered Caroline Robins, her older child attends Dundonald preschool because it’s closer to their house and a teenage neighbour can walk him to and from school.

“Had we lived any further away from the schools, I would be taking my kids to Caroline Robins.”

She’s heard parents say they won’t consider sending their kids to Caroline Robins because it was a “community school.” That used to be a designation that gave schools extra provincial funding for nutrition programs and other extras to help lower-income students.

A third of Caroline Robins’ students are First Nations and Metis.

It’s up to the school division to dispel stereotypes about Caroline Robins and tell parents what the school has to offer, she said.

“People sit there and they look at the label ‘community school,’ and they think (Caroline Robins is an) inner-city school, where there’s less fortunate kids, that the teachers aren’t the same — which they are,” McCaffrey said. “It’s no different of a school than Dundonald is, or St. Peter, or any of the schools in the area.”

The answer is that Caroline Robins school is a community school because the public school system has decided that the kids that go there need additional supports.  Sadly they need the supports (like feeding programs and other supports) because they are not all getting them at home.  Often it means disengaged parents which lead to lower classroom performance.  So as a parent in Hampton Village, do you want to send your kid to an overcrowded school with more engaged parents and students or a community school with less engaged parents and lower performing students?  The numbers answer that question.

3 Comments

  1. caley says:

    Perhaps the problem is believing that only community schools are in need of supports such as “feeding programs”. The reality is that students throughout the school system are in need of “supports”. We should provide assitance and programs in all classrooms of the public school system so that every child regardless of the school they attend are offered the same opportunity to succeed. I find it sad that the word community has such a negative connotation in this “neighborhood”. Broadly generalizing the idea that students who attend community schools are of lower preformance and have more disengaged parents is ignorant. It only perpetuates stereotypes and stigmas that are attached to problems that are existent in all schools and communities.
    A progressive disussion about this subject would focus more on the word and idea of community and less on perpetuating an “us and them” mentality.

  2. caley says:

    The larger problem is believing that only community schools are in need of supports such as “feeding programs”. The reality is that students throughout the school system are in need of “supports”. We should provide assitance and programs in all classrooms of the public school system so that every child regardless of the school they attend are offered the same opportunity to succeed. I find it sad that the word community has such a negative connotation in this “neighborhood”. Broadly generalizing the idea that students who attend community schools are of lower preformance and have more disengaged parents is ignorant. It only perpetuates stereotypes and stigmas that are attached to problems that are existant in all schools. Perhaps a more progressive approach would be focusing more on the word and idea of community and less on perpetuating an “us and them” mentality.

  3. Devon says:

    I live in Westview and my daughter attends Caroline Robins school. She is a very bright kid and really enjoys being an excellent student. My family believes Caroline Robins school has a lot to be proud of. I am not sure exactly what your intentions were with this article, but I resent the fact you have chosen to label me and my daughters classmates parents as “less engaged” and my daughter (and son to follow) as “lower performing.”

    There are many Hampton Village residents that have chosen to send their kids to Caroline Robins and are active and engaged members of the school. Perhaps your research could have led you to one of these parents, instead of stopping at a couple of small minded community members whose statements show a real lack of understanding.

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