LETTER: Parents should engage in middle school conversation

Editor: The Langley school board is introducing middle schools. I’m sure that this has a big impact for all Langley communities and families. I am a mom in Walnut Grove, and I have two daughters, who are in Grade 4 and kindergarten.

My kids go to James Kennedy Elementary, which is on 212 Street and has 670 students.

JKE is the biggest school with the highest number of kids. It is also proposed in three out of four of the options put forward to this point to become the area’s middle school, with the K-5 students going to Topham Elementary on 216 Street.

Many parents at our school feel that the community is unaware of these happenings, and the options that will affect our kids and families.

They have held two out of three consultations and the parent turnout wasn’t as (large as) I would have expected.

By changing James Kennedy to a middle school, they are displacing the highest number of families, and the highest number of K-5 students.

These kids will now need to travel an additional 15 minute walk to school, on average.

For us, it’s an additional 23 minutes.

These K-5 students will now go to school on 216 Street, which will soon be a trucking route with a highway interchange.

This option also leaves schools operating over capacity — some up to 125 per cent.

The only option that keeps JKE an elementary school is having Dorothy Peacock, and Topham both become middle schools, and their K-5 students going to a mix of Alex Hope and West Langley. To many of us, this is a better option.

First, you are giving the Grade 6-8 students the longer walk, but they are older and are more suited for the responsibility. And second, with this option all schools are operating slightly above and below capacity for the projected 10 years coming.

Also, most of the townhouses and starter homes in Walnut Grove are located in the area surrounding the community centre, which is within the JKE catchment, so, again, you are displacing the largest number of young families.

I’m hoping to get the word out, so that other families are aware of what’s to come. Not just the families of the children already in school, but families who have moved into the area, and have made decisions on where to live based on the schools, as well as families who don’t yet have kids, but will one day be affected by this.

Kass Sutton,

Walnut Grove