Vancouver’s three COPE school board trustees will vote for an “innovative and creative” community plan that would keep Garibaldi School from closing.
The plan is in a 66-page Garibaldi Report submitted to the School Board’s senior management review team last month by parents and community supporters of the East Vancouver school. Report authors spent four months of intensive research and surveys in preparing their recommendations.
Threatened with closure due to declining enrolment, over 400 parents and community members attended a fair at Garibaldi last month. And over 1000 people have signed a Save Garibaldi School petition.
“The degree of parental and community support this school has received is truly phenomenal,” said COPE Trustee Al Blakey. “The collective enthusiasm and industry of Garibaldi parents has paid off in a remarkable submission to the Board.”
COPE Trustee Allan Wong notes that the plan to save Garibaldi encompasses a comprehensive, community-based plan that has been sought for over a decade.
“We, in education, have talked endlessly about community schools or, more importantly full-service schools, and here for the first time, given the Garibaldi cultural, socio-economic, and demographic context, is a practical model delivered to our doorstep.”
Components of the Garibaldi Plan include:
a distributive learning model (a hybrid of regular schooling and home schooling);
a Reggio Emilia inspired day care model based on student generated ideas and complimentary teacher instruction;
an arts/culture and sustainability component-arts mentoring, community partnerships, playground greening etc.
a survey of potential preschoolers in the Garibaldi community with a view to increasing attendance and anticipating provincial early childhood plans over the next few years;
additional community considerations related to seismic upgrading, student safety and school size.
“Not surprisingly, this proposal meets the three criteria of educational enhancement, use of facilities and finance and administration, requested by the board, and thus COPE trustees plan to strongly endorse it at the upcoming board meeting on April 21," said COPE Trustee Sharon Gregson.
The Vancouver School Board is expected to decide the future of Garibaldi School at its next meeting that begins at 7 pm, on Mon, April 21, at the Vancouver School Board offices at 1580 W. Broadway.