In Education: Opportunities for learning, growth

Helping to alleviate concerns over the decision regarding high school placement.

In Education  Grant Frend

In Education Grant Frend

Grade 7 – the end of one journey, and the beginning of another.

The conclusion of these eight years are a milestone for families. However, while celebrating the finish of Grade 7, many families become anxious over the decision regarding high school placement.

I hope to provide you with some context to help alleviate the concern your family may be feeling.

As you start to attend the Grade 7 information evenings, please keep a few things in mind.

First, when registering for Grade 8, students will rank their top three choices.

Priority for placement by the district education office will go first to in-catchment students, then to siblings of currently enrolled out-of-catchment schools, and then to out-of-catchment students. Each registration is time-stamped, so what time you register, if you are selecting a school that isn’t your catchment school, matters.

Enrollment is managed to ensure that all of our schools can continue to offer a depth and breadth of courses to our students and also to manage space and classroom availability issues.

Students are not placed in a particular school because of an interest in a certain academy or program.

Second, we have six amazing secondary schools in our district.

I’ve had the pleasure of working at three of them and I loved my time at each.

All of our schools offer a multitude of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities. All have teachers, administrators, education assistants, clerical staff, and custodians who are dedicated to doing excellent work.

Third, if you are unhappy with where your student is placed, you can apply to transfer.

Principals meet monthly between April and June, then again in August and September to examine transfer possibilities. We do have to consider a number of factors when considering transfers: class size; space and impact on staffing and programs.

If a transfer isn’t successful for Grade 8, the transfer form can be included in requests for the following September.

However, in my 12 years as an administrator, almost every Grade 8 student I have asked has said ‘no thanks’ when I ask the family if they would like to pursue an unprocessed Grade 8 transfer request for the following year.

This is because, by the end of September, students have become connected to the school and they do not want to leave.

Typically there are some questions or concerns that principals hear about from Grade 7 families.

Some thoughts on each:

• All my child’s friends are going to School X.

The anxiety around being at the same school as current friends is totally understandable. The prospect of attending a different school, either by choice or by placement, can be scary.

However, in my experience, almost all students make new friends quickly once high school starts. In fact, survey Grade 8 students after a month of school and most will say they made new friends in the first week.

Many have changed friend groups altogether.

Ask a Grade 12 this same question, and he or she is likely to tell you his or her friend group has changed a couple of times during high school.

• I have to go to School X because of a certain program or teacher.

Our schools provide students with a variety of options and opportunities.

All of these are dependent on staff in our buildings. But staff change regularly, for various reasons.

Students wanting a particular academy not offered at their home school can cross-enroll into the program.

The day-to-day structure of our high schools is fairly uniform, with the exception being the model at Thomas Haney.

• I’ve heard School X has more students with drug or behavior challenges.

All of our schools work hard to create a safe and supportive environment.

The reality is, there are students in all schools, public and private, who face challenges.

These are not just school issues, they are community issues.

It is a myth that one school has more or less of this than another school.

Some further advice:

• Get fired up about all three schools you enter on your registration form.

If you focus on the positives, you will lessen the likelihood of disappointment if your student isn’t placed at his or her first choice.

As parents, it’s important we model and coach resiliency for our children.

• Parents, if your conversations focus on how important it is to get into School X, this will become and exercise in anxiety for both you and your child.

• Enjoy the journey. So much of your child’s experience will be defined by the decisions he or she makes once in high school.

Join a team. Sign up for a club. Try out for the play. Register for leadership.

Public schools in our province offer our students unparalleled opportunities for learning and growth.


Grant Frend is principal at Thomas Haney secondary.

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

Just Posted

Howard Done and his wife were walking through the Yennadon neighbourhood of Maple Ridge, when they encountered this young buck relaxing in the grass on a vacant lot at the corner of 232nd Street and 128th Avenue. "He didn't seem to be bothered by any of the traffic, pedestrians or dogs," Done noted. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Young buck caught lounging in Yennadon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and all others in the province have been closed to services by a public health order. (Google)
Churchgoers question closure in latest health orders

Pitt Meadows pastor notes soccer club can still rent church gymnasium

The employees of Maple Ridge Hyundai pose around their coat donation box. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Hyundai dealership holds coat drive

Business aim to collect 100 coats for local Salvation Army in second year of charity initiative

Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, is renting two additional facilities because of the COVID-19 provincial guidelines. (The News/files)
New COVID guidelines creates storage issues for Maple Ridge food bank

Must store non-perishables for two days before being able to hand it out to clients

There have been COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools

Maple Ridge schools exposed to the virus

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Most Read