Jennifer Whiteside and the Ministry of Education has been a let down to the parent and teacher of school students of British Columbia fails to advocate for tighter virus safety rules in the school system. Surrey Teachers and parents of the Surrey BC School District help a rally to bring attention to the problems with the lack of ventilation and masking mandates. These two items are at the forefront of safety in the school year 2021-2022 and Ms. Whiteside will not discuss a plan to fix windows and HVAC systems in the schools that need them.
Press Release from the BC Government on School Improvements
Right in time for the new school year, more than 8,600 students will be returning to safer and modernized classrooms at 16 new or improved schools throughout the province.
The Government of B.C. has invested almost $353 million in these schools.
“Every child deserves the best learning experience possible, and every teacher deserves the right environment to nurture young minds,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “From Day 1, our government has made investments in students and schools a top priority and now families are seeing the concrete result of our work and our commitment to students in B.C. with new and improved schools that will better support their success.”
In the past four years, the Province has announced more than $2.5 billion to build new and expanded schools, for seismic upgrades and replacements, and for land purchases to ensure sites are in place for future schools when they are needed.
Among the 16 new or improved schools is Langley’s Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary. The 550-seat school is named after a member of the Kwantlen First Nation who dedicated her career to education in the district. At just more than $27.6 million, the new Langley school came in under the original budget of $32 million. The school district contributed $3.5 million.
“I am honoured to see a new school open in my community with my family name,” Robins said. “Education has always been a huge part of my life, all thanks to the support of my family. As a strong advocate for diversity, my hope is for this school to foster an inclusive and nurturing culture for all students.”
The elementary school will also include a neighbourhood learning centre with almost 100 new child care spaces. This is part of the Childcare BC plan, which has opened more than 1,200 new child care spaces on school grounds in the past four years.
“These new child care spaces are another example of our government’s commitment to families and children,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Improving access to early care and learning is not simply good for families – especially mothers – it’s vital to building strong communities and supporting B.C.’s economy.”
Eight new schools are opening in September 2021 as a result of provincial investments in new and improved schools, including:
- Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary (Langley)
- Grandview Heights Secondary (Surrey)
- Imagine High Integrated Arts and Technology Secondary (Chilliwack)
- Hornby Island Community school
- Walnut Park Elementary (Smithers)
- H.S. Grenda Middle school (Lake Country)
- Children’s Development Centre (Saanich)
- Lake Trail Middle school (Courtenay)
In addition, three school expansions will give hundreds of students the opportunity to move from portables to classrooms when classes begin. Schools opening in September with new expansions are:
- BX Elementary (Vernon)
- Sullivan Elementary (Surrey)
- West Sechelt Elementary
To further support families on B.C.’s coast, the schools opening in September with seismic upgrades and partial replacements are:
- Manoah Steves Elementary (Richmond)
- Mitchell Elementary school (Richmond)
- George Greenaway Elementary (Surrey)
- Lord Byng Secondary (Vancouver)
- General Wolfe Elementary (Vancouver)
Since September 2017, the Province has announced more than 122 school construction projects and property purchases, including almost $760 million to add more than 13,000 new student seats to schools throughout B.C.
Each of these 16 investments is the result of the Province’s commitment to supporting students and investing in their schools.
Budget 2021 includes almost $3.5 billion for school capital investments, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and site purchases to ensure land is in place to accommodate fast-growing communities throughout the province.
Megan Dykeman, MLA for Langley-East –
“Langley is a vibrant, active community, and this new school with built-in child care facilities will mean a great deal to families. The seamless transition from early child care to school helps give children stability and encourages lifelong learning.”
Rod Ross, board chair, Langley Board of Education –
“The Langley Board of Education is thrilled to open the school to students living in the fast-growing neighbourhood and welcome new families in the years to come. We are thankful for the work the ministry is doing to assist us in meeting the needs of students and families in our ever-changing district.”
Amy Malli, president, Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary parent advisory council –
“As parents and caregivers, we want our children to be in a safe learning environment with trusted educators helping students reach their full potential. We are excited to see the learning opportunities at the new school and the social emotional supports and programs available for families through the neighbourhood learning centre.”
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