April 13, 2016

Letter from Director of Education regarding Pupil Accommodation Review: Planning together for secondary schools south of the 401

At the Regular Meeting of the Board on April 12, 2016, Peel District School Board trustees approved a recommendation for a Pupil Accommodation Review for Glenforest, Gordon Graydon Memorial, Lorne Park, T.L. Kennedy and The Woodlands secondary schools. The following letter has been shared with affected families:

Dear Glenforest, Gordon Graydon Memorial, Lorne Park, T.L. Kennedy and The Woodlands secondary school families,

I am writing with important news to share that affects your teen's school. Last night, Peel District School Board trustees approved a recommendation related to potential school consolidation in your community. 

As a result, a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) has been approved for the following secondary schools:
  • Glenforest Secondary School
  • Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School
  • Lorne Park Secondary School
  • T.L. Kennedy Secondary School
  • The Woodlands Secondary School
When a school has low enrolment and substantial excess space, the school still requires funding for maintenance and operation.  One of the key responsibilities of school boards is to ensure the effective and efficient use of space.  The Peel board must make decisions about the best accommodation options for students relative to program needs and the funding that is available from the Ministry of Education.

A working group comprised of Peel board Planning and Curriculum department staff has been closely monitoring secondary student enrolments and school capacities in south Mississauga for the last four years. Based on this research, the working group has identified several opportunities to improve delivery of specialty and Regional Learning Choices programs in alternate locations, while making more efficient use of secondary school space in south Mississauga.

The Initial Staff Report, presented to the Board of Trustees on April 12, 2016, recommends closing Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School and relocating secondary school specialty and Regional Learning Choices programs to Glenforest, Lorne Park T.L. Kennedy and The Woodlands and secondary schools. The report also suggests that the Gordon Graydon site and building be repurposed as the new location for the board's Adult and Continuing Education Mississauga Campus. It's important to note that these recommendations are just that—no firm decisions have been made.

If any changes come out of this accommodation review, they will not be implemented before September 2018.

Present programs locations, recommended new locations, programs and proposed implementation dates are as follows:
  • Enhanced program at Glenforest S.S. to Lorne Park S.S. and The Woodlands S.S. in September 2018
  • Vocational program at Gordon Graydon Memorial S.S. to Glenforest S.S.in September 2019
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder program at Gordon Graydon Memorial S.S. to Glenforest S.S in September 2019
  • Graphic Design Management program at Gordon Graydon Memorial S.S. to Glenforest S.S.in September 2019
  • International Business and Technology program at Gordon Graydon Memorial S.S. to T.L. Kennedy S.S. September 2019
The PAR process is extensive and thorough and will take time, allowing for the Peel board to hear all community voices. This is just the beginning of a long conversation about how to best serve our students. 

The proposed schedule of PAR activities is as follows:

April 12, 2016
Initial Staff Report Approved by Board

April to November 2016
Accommodation Review Committee meetings  (specific dates to be determined, summer months excluded)

June 2, 2016
First Public Meeting (time and location to be determined)

November 23, 2016
Second Public Meeting (time and location to be determined)

January 2017
Public Delegations to Regular Meeting of the Board

January/February 2017
Final Staff Report to Regular Meeting of the Board

The accommodation review schedule will conclude in January/February 2017. If the recommendations are approved, transition planning will begin Winter/Spring 2017, and implementation will commence September 2018 with the enhanced programs at Glenforest, The Woodlands, and Lorne Park secondary schools.

Accommodation Review Committee
 
The next step in the process will be to create an Accommodation Review Committee (ARC). The ARC will consist of one parent/guardian representative (the School Council chair) from each school under review and one alternate parent/guardian, who will attend ARC meetings the school council chair is unable to attend.  The committee will act as an advisory group that represents the schools affected by a PAR and will be the conduit for information shared between the board and affected school communities.
 
The ARC will provide feedback with respect to the Initial Staff Report and the options set out therein, and may also present alternative accommodation options, including rationale for the options, recognizing the principles outlined in the Background section of the report. The overall goal of the ARC will be to provide the local perspective of stakeholders impacted by the decision of the Board of Trustees, and to provide constructive feedback regarding the Initial Staff Report, school information profiles and the preferred staff recommended option.
 
The ARC will be led by Jane Mason, superintendent of education and chair of the ARC. The chair will facilitate all meetings of the ARC and public meetings. The ARC will also include superintendents of education, the principals of the identified schools, local trustees and may include one municipal administrative representative (e.g. from the City of Mississauga's Planning department) if he/she wishes to sit on the ARC. Board staff will act as a resource for the ARC.
 
Public Meetings
 
The Peel board's Pupil Accommodation Review policy requires that we hold two public meetings as part of the review. The first public meeting will take place on June 2, 2016, and the second and final public meeting on Nov. 23, 2016. Families will receive information about these meetings once all details, including locations and times, have been confirmed.
 
Where can I find more information?
 
The complete policy, the Initial Staff Report approved by the Board of Trustees, and other information is available on the Peel board website at www.peelschools.org/PAR. The website will be an important source of information, and it will have the latest updates, including dates, agendas and minutes of all meetings and extensive background information. You may choose to subscribe to receive email notifications of website updates by visiting www.peelschools.org/aboutus/subscribe and selecting the Pupil Accommodation Review box.
 
I know you may have other questions—we are committed to providing you with all the information you need. Throughout the process, families and members of the public can submit related questions and feedback via email to par@peelsb.com. A response will be provided within 48 hours of receiving questions and/or feedback. The most frequently asked questions and answers will be posted on the Peel board website at www.peelschools.org/PAR.
 
Throughout the review process and the public consultation that will be part of the PAR process, the Peel board will work with its school communities to plan together for secondary schools south of the 401. The board's goal is to best meet the learning needs of the students in this area.
 
 
Tony Pontes
Director of Education
 


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