Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

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School District 53 here to serve kids, families

The story, “Board defends its partnership with PDCRS” is particularly nasty in its negative claims against the school district, the community and the licensing officer.

I am unsure as to what much of this, or previous publications including a YouTube video, is based on but it certainly is not on fact nor is it representative of the views of many of our partners and service providers whom have spoken with us.

First, and foremost, we are here to serve children and their families. That is our mandate and our expanded mandate to include early learning initiatives enhances learning for students and services for families.

Our vision and hopes are that children have the opportunity to be the best that they can be – physically, socially, intellectually, and emotionally. Our Early Development Indicators (EDI) assessment shows that many children arrive at school vulnerable or at risk in some of the areas above.  It is only through our expanded mandate and early learning partnerships that we can address this.  In fact, we are proud of the work we have been able to accomplish thus far together. By working together with early learning providers and the community, we have seen a decrease in vulnerability rates in the areas of language and cognitive development, and communication.  However, we are seeing an increase in the rate of vulnerability in the areas of emotional well-being, social development and physical development.  This is important to understand because we value our partnerships and the community service providers whom we need to continue to work with to address the areas of vulnerability.

Daycare is not a money maker. Conversations and allegations that distract from this are not serving children in our community.

We want to ensure that more students are ready for kindergarten and that services that families need are readily available to promote the health and development of children and to keep them in our communities. To that end, we have had and continue to have a positive and productive relationship with our early learning providers including PDCRS as well as other private providers.

We do not share in any criticism of the licensing officer. This public defamation of integrity is disturbing.  I do not know of anyone who would want the standards for children compromised by lax inspections.

As far as continued assertions of a lack of process on the part of the school district to open the opportunity to other community providers, we have repeatedly indicated that an open process was deployed.  The school district hosted a public meeting of over 50 people representing numerous organizations that work with and support children and families when the concept for the Neighbourhoods of Learning was approved. The Town of Oliver was there along with daycare providers and other service providers for children and families.  Daycare was identified as a need by those who attended and resulted in a notice going out on our website and in local media.

The request for preschool partnerships went out in local papers, as well as expressions of interest that was released for the Neighbourhoods of Learning at SOSS. There was an advertisement in the Oliver Chronicle.  PDCRS was the only organization that came forward to offer services to families and it has been a positive experience for children and their families.

With the tragic fire at SOSS, the decision was made to provide PDCRS a vacant room at Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School as a number of families were already on the registration list and there was an immediate need.  The process was open, transparent, and fair. Contrary to what has been reported, all employees for the Tuc-el-Nuit program live in Oliver, with one from Okanagan Falls.

We have never had a complaint from the Town of Oliver, from families or from daycare providers about the services or processes we have used.  Recently, we have received correspondence from some of the named daycare providers who are allegedly impacted, separating themselves from recent events, allegations and media stories. Let’s let the early learning providers speak for themselves.

We do not wish to continue a he said, she said on this matter. It distracts from the work everyone does to support children to grow and thrive in our communities.

 

Bev Young, Superintendent of Schools

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