Column: Students deserve say in changes to Salmon Arm schools

Rearview Mirror by Cameron Thomson

The most important voices in conversations about grade layouts and school district decisions may be going unheard.

Over the last few months, I have become increasingly interested in School District 83’s long-range facilities plan. The logistics, projections, and grade layout options shown in the plan present endlessly debatable conundrums for teachers and parents alike.

Read more: Two Grade 7-9 middle schools among options considered for Salmon Arm and area

Read more: School district facing capacity challenges

To its credit, the district is making an admirable effort to educate the public on the plan. Information sessions, online surveys and updates posted to the district’s online platforms have answered questions for many, I’m sure.

I attended one of these information sessions last week at Ranchero Elementary. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 people, district representatives, parents, school board trustees and teachers. Following a presentation by school superintendent Peter Jory, the proverbial mic was passed to the crowd.

The discussions were passionate, advocating for students to go through fewer transitions in their young academic careers. Potential solutions for grade layouts throughout the district were thoughtfully considered and tough questions received responses.

It later donned on me, however, that the people these decisions will affect the most were nowhere to be found. While parents might consider aspects like bussing times and the effects of multiple transitions between schools for their children, I wonder what the students themselves think.

Read more: South Canoe Elementary made K-8 for one year

Read more: Student enrolment for 2019/20 exceeds School District #83 projections

Students with friends in different grades may be looking forward to being reunited with their pals; perhaps they are feeling more than ready for a change of scenery. Conversely, they could be the strongest voices in support of K-8 schools. After all, they are the ones living it.

My hope is that when the district survey goes live in the last week of February, parents will ask for their children’s input before submitting it. Don’t let youth be a reason to discredit opinions. I also encourage students to look at the layout options relevant to them and pass their thoughts along to executive assistant Veronica Deacon at


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP: Throne speech shows failures in COVID-19 response

Mel Arnold critical of Trudeau government’s throne speech Wednesday

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

Shuswap man ‘started to lose it’ after learning of lottery win

Sorrento resident wins $100,000, ticket purchased at Copper Island Pub

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Most Read