News » Whistler

traditional school meeting

If the news out of Abbotsford in January this year was anything to go by, traditional schools are hot. Earlier this year parents camped for up to 12 days in an Abbotsford school parking lot just to try and secure a spot for their offspring in a traditional school. It is the same kind of facility a group of Whistler parents would like to see established in this community and they have invited the principal of the Surrey Traditional Public School, John Munson, to speak to Whistler parents about the benefits of a traditional school. Munson, who has more than 800 families on the waiting list for his Surrey facility, will speak at the Catholic Church on Thursday, March 30. Parent Susan Jernigan, who is spearheading the drive to have an educational choice in Whistler, said copies of a UBC study that shows kids in traditional schools score higher on provincial tests will also be available at the meeting. The key players behind the traditional school move include Jernigan, Heather Durfeld, Sharon Isles, Sana Marsh, Leanne Niewerth, Christine Vernon-Jarvis and Mecki Facundo. Jernigan maintains that "while Myrtle Philip is a great school with an excellent administration and teaching staff, the introduction of a second elementary school in Whistler provides us with a perfect opportunity to investigate the benefits of a traditional school." Jernigan looks to John Pippis, who was one of the founders of the Surrey Traditional School, for tips on how to go about setting up a traditional facility in the resort. He suggests having two to three "co-chairpersons" completely dedicated to the idea of creating such a school in Whistler to oversee the project, plus another 8-12 individuals willing to volunteer time. The next step is to conduct a survey to show a large number of families are interested in having a "choice" — the key word being choice. Large groups should be willing to attend meetings to show their support for a choice and as many school administrators and teachers as possible should also support the concept of a choice. Pippis also suggests having several school board members on side and that board support should be obtained in principal. He also recommends visiting and contacting other traditional facilities in the province to learn first-hand the benefits of such a school. Jernigan says a traditional school is devoted to core subjects in a structured environment. It is skills-based education and the concept includes mandatory uniforms. Munson will speak at the church, at the foot of Lorimer Road, from 7 to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.