Hamilton public trustees rethink plan to phase out vocation high schools

News Feb 24, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees won’t reverse plans to close Mountain Secondary School in June 2017 but may open its doors to new students until then.

After rejecting Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison’s call to reconsider the Caledon Avenue school’s closure, trustees unanimously supported his lengthy follow-up motion asking staff for a “comprehensive special education report.”

Among the issues it will study are the feasibility of allowing grade 9 and 10s to enroll at Mountain this fall and the rationale for eliminating separate vocational schools amid vociferous opposition from students, parents and many educators.

Last year’s closure of Parkview Secondary in the lower city left Mountain as the board’s lone vocational high school and its enrolment is limited to those who were at Parkview or Mountain as of last June.

Pattison said vocational schools, like other board specialty schools for French immersion and self-directed learning, recognize not all students learn the same way.

The rookie trustee said students who felt like cast outs at regular schools excelled and felt pride at Parkview, and he believes the Mountain program can offer the same benefits, whether there or at another location.

“The bottom line here is that the student, parent, educator and community voice has all told us that they want this option, so how do we have the right to say that we know better?” Pattison said.

“We are elected to represent them and this is what they are saying, so we need to advocate for their needs, for our educators’ needs, so that we can all feel that we’re truly helping our kids reach their full potential.”

Several trustees who opposed reconsidering Mountain’s closure said they could support rethinking a goal of integrating students into regular schools because it isn’t tied to a specific building.

“We shouldn’t be bound by reasons why we can’t do something. We can do something amazing if we so choose,” Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie said. “We can provide a program like this with a Cadillac and not a beat-up, old delivery van if we so choose.”

While trustees said they want to see the staff report as soon as possible to give students time if Mountain does take grade 9 and 10 students, the board’s outgoing interim education director said it likely won’t be ready before April.

“It’s important that we do it quickly but it’s also important that we do it well,” said Wayne Joudrie, filling in for new interim director Pam Reinholdt, who was away this week. “I would caution that this is an important decision, not one to be taken lightly

Hamilton public trustees rethink plan to phase out vocation high schools

News Feb 24, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees won’t reverse plans to close Mountain Secondary School in June 2017 but may open its doors to new students until then.

After rejecting Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison’s call to reconsider the Caledon Avenue school’s closure, trustees unanimously supported his lengthy follow-up motion asking staff for a “comprehensive special education report.”

Among the issues it will study are the feasibility of allowing grade 9 and 10s to enroll at Mountain this fall and the rationale for eliminating separate vocational schools amid vociferous opposition from students, parents and many educators.

Last year’s closure of Parkview Secondary in the lower city left Mountain as the board’s lone vocational high school and its enrolment is limited to those who were at Parkview or Mountain as of last June.

Pattison said vocational schools, like other board specialty schools for French immersion and self-directed learning, recognize not all students learn the same way.

The rookie trustee said students who felt like cast outs at regular schools excelled and felt pride at Parkview, and he believes the Mountain program can offer the same benefits, whether there or at another location.

“The bottom line here is that the student, parent, educator and community voice has all told us that they want this option, so how do we have the right to say that we know better?” Pattison said.

“We are elected to represent them and this is what they are saying, so we need to advocate for their needs, for our educators’ needs, so that we can all feel that we’re truly helping our kids reach their full potential.”

Several trustees who opposed reconsidering Mountain’s closure said they could support rethinking a goal of integrating students into regular schools because it isn’t tied to a specific building.

“We shouldn’t be bound by reasons why we can’t do something. We can do something amazing if we so choose,” Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie said. “We can provide a program like this with a Cadillac and not a beat-up, old delivery van if we so choose.”

While trustees said they want to see the staff report as soon as possible to give students time if Mountain does take grade 9 and 10 students, the board’s outgoing interim education director said it likely won’t be ready before April.

“It’s important that we do it quickly but it’s also important that we do it well,” said Wayne Joudrie, filling in for new interim director Pam Reinholdt, who was away this week. “I would caution that this is an important decision, not one to be taken lightly

Hamilton public trustees rethink plan to phase out vocation high schools

News Feb 24, 2015 Hamilton Mountain News

Richard Leitner, News Staff

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees won’t reverse plans to close Mountain Secondary School in June 2017 but may open its doors to new students until then.

After rejecting Ward 3 trustee Larry Pattison’s call to reconsider the Caledon Avenue school’s closure, trustees unanimously supported his lengthy follow-up motion asking staff for a “comprehensive special education report.”

Among the issues it will study are the feasibility of allowing grade 9 and 10s to enroll at Mountain this fall and the rationale for eliminating separate vocational schools amid vociferous opposition from students, parents and many educators.

Last year’s closure of Parkview Secondary in the lower city left Mountain as the board’s lone vocational high school and its enrolment is limited to those who were at Parkview or Mountain as of last June.

Pattison said vocational schools, like other board specialty schools for French immersion and self-directed learning, recognize not all students learn the same way.

The rookie trustee said students who felt like cast outs at regular schools excelled and felt pride at Parkview, and he believes the Mountain program can offer the same benefits, whether there or at another location.

“The bottom line here is that the student, parent, educator and community voice has all told us that they want this option, so how do we have the right to say that we know better?” Pattison said.

“We are elected to represent them and this is what they are saying, so we need to advocate for their needs, for our educators’ needs, so that we can all feel that we’re truly helping our kids reach their full potential.”

Several trustees who opposed reconsidering Mountain’s closure said they could support rethinking a goal of integrating students into regular schools because it isn’t tied to a specific building.

“We shouldn’t be bound by reasons why we can’t do something. We can do something amazing if we so choose,” Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie said. “We can provide a program like this with a Cadillac and not a beat-up, old delivery van if we so choose.”

While trustees said they want to see the staff report as soon as possible to give students time if Mountain does take grade 9 and 10 students, the board’s outgoing interim education director said it likely won’t be ready before April.

“It’s important that we do it quickly but it’s also important that we do it well,” said Wayne Joudrie, filling in for new interim director Pam Reinholdt, who was away this week. “I would caution that this is an important decision, not one to be taken lightly