No rush in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows for more year-round schooling

Province gives school districts more flexibility by eliminating the provincial standard school calendar.

The provincial government removed a roadblock last week for school districts looking to move towards a year-round model of schooling by eliminating the provincial standard school calendar.

But Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district superintendent Jan Unwin says there’s no rush to move towards a balanced, year-round school calendar just yet.

Bill 36 eliminates the standard school calendar, allowing school districts to more easily implement their own calendar, potentially offering creative scheduling options, such as year-round schooling. The Ministry of Education will continue to set a minimum number of instructional hours per school year, however.

“Enabling greater flexibility and choice is a key component of B.C.’s Education Plan, and these amendments to the School Act will provide school districts with additional tools to support personalized learning,” said education minister George Abbott.

While school districts were previously free to alter the province’s school calendar as they wished, not having a provincial standard gives school districts more autonomy in determining their own school calendar.

Abbott cited Maple Ridge’s Kanaka Creek Elementary School as an example of a successful year-round schooling model, one that could serve as model to other districts.

Unwin characterized the traditional school calendar, which sees students taking eight or nine weeks off over summer months, as being a relic of an age when students were required to work on family farms, and not in the best interest of education.

“This is how it’s been done for hundreds of years, and it hasn’t changed,” she said.

Under the traditional school calendar, much of September is spent reviewing material forgotten by students over the summer months. With year-round schooling, students can more easily retain what they have learned.

“You don’t really have a start and end to the school year, there’s just a natural progression,” Unwin said. “After all, learning isn’t compartmentalized like that.”

At Kanaka Creek elementary, Unwin said teachers don’t have to spend as much time reviewing last year’s material with students.

“When teachers get to Kanaka, they never want to leave,” she said. “They love teaching that model.”

However, Unwin said she doesn’t believe there is an appetite to move towards a district-wide year-round schooling, just yet.

“The Kanaka model isn’t for everyone,” she said. “But it is an option that works well for some parents.”

Given the success of Kanaka Creek elementary’s year-round program, Unwin said it makes sense to expand the model to the secondary level, and Thomas Haney Secondary School would be the natural place for that to happen. However, any decision to move towards a year-round model at the school would need the support of administrators, teachers, and of course students and parents.

“It will be a long slow process,” Unwin said. “But we have to float these ideas.”

Other changes to the School Act on Thursday will allow students in kindergarten through Grade 9 to take a mix of online and traditional school courses to students. Currently, only students in Grades 10 to 12 have this option.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education passed their 2012/13 school calendar  on Wednesday, which features a two-week spring break.

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

Just Posted

A small memorial to Rich Goulet was started at Pitt Meadows Secondary after his recent death. (Neil Corbett/The News)
LETTER: Rename Pitt Meadows school gym in coach’s honour

Rich Goulet was considered one of the provinces best basketball coaches and died recently

Doug Nolin, a Maple Ridge senior, snapped this picture of his pet pigeons taking flight down by the old Albion ferry dock. “What a beautiful land we live in,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Chirp, chirp: Ridge senior captures pigeons taking flight

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

Pamela Franklin captured this picture of a raccoon in Maple Ridge, “chilling” in her backyard, on her storage bin. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Lounging in the spring sun

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

Debbie Noseworthy snapped a sunset picture the first day of daylight savings as seen from the dikes off 216th Street in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sky on fire over Maple Ridge dikes

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

Darlene Martin captured this ‘breathtaking’ view of a sunset and the Fraser River as taken from Osprey Village. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View from Osprey Village breathtaking

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

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

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

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read