Parents at Frank H. concerned over possibility of East Pictou closure

Published on January 31, 2013

Dear Members of the East Pictou Middle School SAC,

As parents of children at Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School, and members of the school’s Parent and Community Association (FHMPCA), we are concerned about the potential outcome of the East Pictou Middle School ‘s (EPMS) involvement in the School Review Process, as mandated by the Education Act.  We advocate keeping our children together in our community.

The mission of the FHMPCA is:

The Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School Parent and Community Association is a voluntary group dedicated to supporting our children and their teachers, and improving the quality of life in the school, by strengthening meaningful relationships between the school, our families and the community.

We write this letter with great trepidation.  Not only do we worry about the impact of this potential school closure on our children and our community, but specifically, about the School Board’s suggestion to disperse future students to four schools throughout eastern Pictou County.  The CCRSB School Review Impact Assessment Report’s second option to move “Grade 7 and 8 students to Highland Consolidated Middle School, New Glasgow Junior High School, Thorburn Consolidated, Trenton Middle School and the Grade 9 students to North Nova Education Centre.” (Pg. 1) will have negative consequences for our children at a sensitive time in their social and academic development.  Following 6 years of strengthening relationships with their peers, teachers, staff, parents and volunteers, their community will be broken and divided.

Although the Impact Assessment Report outlines the financial and operational rationale and impact for closing East Pictou Middle School, it does not address the impact of the closure on our children.  We, as parents, volunteers and community members, are concerned about dispersing our children and students throughout 4 schools.  What will be the social, emotional and academic impacts on our children should this closure and dispersal take place?  How will these changes impact bussing times that are already lengthy for our children in remote communities?  Will resources such as French Immersion still be available for our children at these new schools?  How will the School Board support us in building community for our children in these changing times?  How will the School Board support children as they cope with these changes?

The FHMPCA strongly voices that your SAC petition the CCRSB to add new post-closure options with this review that include keeping our community of students together.  One such option should include investigating the feasibility of housing future Grade 7 and 8 students at the neighboring Frank H. MacDonald School.  It is our understanding that the elementary school was once at twice the capacity that it is currently, and could accommodate an influx of projected numbers of students. 

Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to be involved in this process.  Should the EPMS SAC require any further support in this time of uncertainty, we would like to offer our support.

Sincerely, and with great concern,

Members of the Frank H. MacDonald Parent and Community Association

Suzanne Makin, Chair, Chance Harbour

Lisa Hartlen-Moir, Vice Chair, King’s Head

Jaime Smith, Secretary, King’s Head

Anne MacNeil, Treasurer, Little Harbour

Community Representatives:

Amanda Smith – Fraser’s Mountain/ Linacy

Terri Lee Arbuckle – Egerton/ Sutherland’s River

Bev Denny – Pictou Landing

Nicole Burgoyne – Little Harbour

Selena Bannerman – Kenzieville/Barney’s River/Laggan

Beth Williams – Lismore/Arisaig/Knoydart

And members at large

cc. Clarrie MacKinnon, MLA, Pictou East

      Evening News “Letter to the Editor”

      Gordon Anderson, School Board Member, Pictou, Polling Districts - 1, 8, 11, 12, 13 & 14

      Marilyn Murray, School Board Member, Trenton, Polling District - 2, 7, 9, & 10

      Frank McNeill – Principal, Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School

      Blair MacDonald – Principal, East Pictou Middle School

      Peter MacKay – MP, Pictou East

      Ron Baillie – Warden, Municipality of Pictou County

      Andy Thompson – Deputy Warden, Municipality of Pictou County

      Sally Fraser – Councillor, District #1, Municipality of Pictou County

      Debbie Wadden – Councillor, District #2, Municipality of Pictou County

      Edward MacMaster - Councillor, District #3, Municipality of Pictou County

      Robert Parker - Councillor, District #5, Municipality of Pictou County

      Jim Turple - Councillor, District #6, Municipality of Pictou County

      David Parker - Councillor, District #7, Municipality of Pictou County

      Leonard Fraser - Councillor, District #8, Municipality of Pictou County

      Larry Turner - Councillor, District #9, Municipality of Pictou County

 

       Jamie Davidson - Councillor, District #10, Municipality of Pictou County

       Chester Dewar - Councillor, District #12, Municipality of Pictou County

       Randy Palmer - Councillor, District #13, Municipality of Pictou County

       Scott Johnston - Councillor, District #2, Municipality of Pictou County