The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
Dear Editor, I feel I must express my opinion on the ongoing debate on whether to implement a high school program in Creighton. Firstly, I have some strong concerns over the so called feasibility study. This feasibility study is merely a promotional brochure for the implementation of a high school program. It is filled with errors in data collection protocol. Why are years randomly selected to show how poorly Creighton and Denare Beach students have done in the past? Are our Saskatchewan students that intellectually and physically inferior overall? Please don't insult the ability of the students that have gone to Hapnot Collegiate and done extremely well both scholastically and in sports. Results of students will vary from year to year in all areas. You must look at the long term averages to have fair comparisons. If these numbers are compared you will see that if Saskatchewan students represent as an example 25 per cent of the general high school population, they will win 25 per cent of the scholastic awards and will represent themselves on 25 per cent of the sporting teams, student councils, etc. This average will vary from year to year above or below a very well defined and plottable average. This is why all surveys will conclude themselves with the statement "accurate 19 times out of 20 to +/-4%." An example from my past will demonstrate how selective sampling can skew a study's results. In my graduating class there were only two male students with an average of 80+% (Honours). There were several female students with averages over 80%. If you looked only at that year you could conclude (wrongfully) that Hapnot Collegiate did an extremely poor job educating and preparing the males of the community for life after high school. When, in fact, many students both male and female would go on to highly successful careers in many different fields. This is a statistical abnormality and for whatever reason they do occur. These abnormalities when selectively chosen can be used to portray an inaccurate reality. However, in the long term the "average" will return to normal. The greatest concern I have is the shrinking population base and resulting shrinking numbers in school population. Grade size by numbers has continued to decrease and by all estimates in both Flin Flon and Creighton will continue to do so. The current Grade 8 class has 22 students. How will you offer worthwhile options to 22 Grade 12 students? My fear is you won't! A curriculum that kind of meets the average student will be the reality. Students below, above and off the main course line will not be offered any options. Distance Ed. is the answer you say. At an adult level, Distance Ed. can and will provide a very useful education option. At a high school level this is probably an extremely different scenario. Adult students attend high school or university for different reasons than a high school student does. How much learning will take place with two students in a Distance Ed. class? How will you supervise a Distance Ed. class, when will they be offered (at night as many Distance Ed. classes currently are) and who will determine content when the class or teacher are not in our school? We will lose control of course content and options as we are forced to utilize outside resources more and more as numbers continue to shrink. Quite frankly, if Distance Ed. is the option, my children might as well sit at home and be distance educated. There are also a number of other issues that were touched upon in the feasibility study. If anyone has driven by Hapnot Collegiate in recent years you will notice an enormous parking lot. The removal of 100+ students will I'm sure alleviate the parking problem at Hapnot. However, where will these students park in Creighton? There is no room for more parking anywhere in the vicinity of Creighton School unless we are willing to turn part of the green space of the school yard into a parking lot. Cars will be parked along residential streets for blocks around the school. In addition we add a whole bunch of inexperienced drivers into a situation that can be described as chaotic at best. School buses block one access road to the school area for reasons I fully understand and support. The Main Street of Creighton is also a numbered highway with heavy truck traffic and drivers coming off the Hanson Lake Road and has limited parking. First Avenue is extremely narrow and also blocked by school buses at times. Creighton students will walk to school you say, we didn't and they won't! This will be a traffic nightmare. There are also a number of issues of social political nature. Though I hope it is true that the enthusiasm of the middle years students will rub off on the high school students, I'm afraid that some not so desirable lifestyle choices will be passed the other way. There will be students in the high school that are of legal drinking age. This provides an easier route to the so called "buyer" for younger students. An older school population also brings an increased use of illicit drugs. Just read the paper in recent weeks/months and you quickly should realize we are not drug free communities. The proximity of older students to younger cannot be a positive thing in these two very serious issues for younger people of today and tomorrow. Older students can also be intimidating to younger students by behaviour that comes naturally to young people of this age group (16-18). They tend to hang out in large, noisy groups. (Go to a Bomber game.) Should we be concerned by most of the behaviour? Probably not, but it can be intimidating to an adult. Now put yourself in a pre-K age child's shoes. Probably an intimidating and scary environment. There is really no way to keep the age groups separate in the way the Creighton School building is set up. There are positives to this interaction, but I think some of the negatives are too serious to ignore. Sports are also likely to be affected. If you have a small class size, you will also have fewer students to draw from for school sports teams. There will be years when there won't be enough students to run the team sports like volleyball or basketball. Once a year passes without a volleyball or basketball team, will that program ever be again? Some sports such as soccer require even higher numbers of athletes per team (11 minimum). In a high school with low enrollment numbers, all team sports will suffer. Some of the steps of this process seem to be out of order. Why weren't there parent and ratepayers meetings earlier on in this process? Ultimately this is who the school board must answer to. Why not have our opinion early on in the process? Public meetings are to be held on December 9 and 10 and a final decision is to be reached one month later. Why the rush? Why hold meetings at a time of year when parents of school age children are extremely busy? Also, on such a major decision why were none of the school board members more open on their position in the recently held school board elections? Finally, I firmly believe we should not only have representation on the Flin Flon School Board, we must actively pursue amalgamation of the Creighton and Flin Flon school divisions. These divisions have absolutely everything in common and by joining together we can both ward off absorption into school divisions with widely different objectives and tax bases. (Flin Flon into Frontier and Creighton into Northern Lights). This will not only save ratepayers some serious dollars but we will all continue to have meaningful input into and control of our children's education. Do I totally disagree with the high school issue? NO. If population and student numbers were rising, if the high school could be built in a separate more suitable location, and if it could be proven there are academic benefits to be offered to the children of Creighton, Denare Beach and surrounding areas in a long-term meaningful way. Whatever your view on this very important issue, come out to the meetings held next week. This is our children's future. In closing, I must disagree with a statement of the Creighton School Board chairman. Sorry Mr. Brown, money isn't everything. The best possible high school education we can provide to our children is. Sincerely, A Concerned Creighton Parent