The provincial discussion about rural education in B.C. was recently brought to Trail.

Education open house highlights rural challenges

In rural B.C., schools are much more than a place children go to receive public education.

The message was heard loud and clear, says the board chair of School District 20.

Schools are much more than a place children go to receive public education in rural B.C., schools are a community hub for gatherings of all ages, like town hall meetings, girl scout events, even belly dancing classes in some locales.

“The feedback was overwhelming,” Teri Ferworn told the Trail Times. “There are not that many big buildings in smaller communities, for example, like Fruitvale. They have a hall, but it’s in use a great deal, so the school is used for community gatherings, classes and community education.”

That was one takeaway Ferworn recalled from the recent regional Rural Education Open House hosted in Trail by Parliamentary Secretary Linda Larson.

More than 40 people attended the Friday night event, including children and parents, trustees and administration from SD20 as well as surrounding districts.

Four questions guided the discussion which focused on usage of rural schools, but also asked guests for their personal experiences with education in rural or remote British Columbia.

“A number of people spoke to how important schools are in the community,” Ferworn added. “They are a community hub, that is a vital part of the community’s message that was heard.”

Conversation did gravitate toward challenges rural families face, the most common response being transportation.

“The other thing that came out loud and clear, and that stands out in my mind, is the geographical issues in rural and remote (education),” she added. “The challenge in a lot of cases is back and forth to school but we also heard how expensive it is to run buses to events, for students who live hours away from the next school and want to be part of intramural sports, for example.”

SD20 board chair Teri Ferworn

Ferworn says similar themes echo in rural school districts across the province.

Engaging the community for feedback was an interesting exercise, she shared, mentioning there was one open house guest who asked what seemed to be on everyone’s mind.

“What are you (Ministry of Education) going to do with this information?” the person queried.

“She (Larson) stood up and said that she asked for a guarantee when she took on the (open house) task on behalf of the ministry, that what she learned would lead to action on behalf of the government,” Ferworn said. “At the end of the open houses, she’s going to come up with recommendations, so she is standing by her findings.”

In British Columbia, approximately 32 per cent of students in the public K-12 education system attend schools located outside of the Greater Victoria, Lower Mainland, and Kelowna areas, many in small communities that use school facilities as a hub for community activities.

The purpose of the regional open houses was to explore rural funding and educational practices, as well as the role educational programs and schools play in rural communities across the province. The final open house is slated for Revelstoke on Friday. A summary of the report to date can be viewed at education.

Just Posted

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

Area A seeks views on cannabis rules

The public hearing for Area A residents will go Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.

Trail liquor store held up Friday night

The perpetrator was brandishing a weapon that appeared to be a gun, according to the Trail RCMP

Trail Smoke Eaters lose in shootout to Coquitlam Express

The Trail Smoke Eaters battled the Express in a tight checking 2-1 shootout loss on Friday

Lest We Forget

Crowd fills downtown Trail for Remembrance Day ceremony

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Heir’s big birthday: 70 candles lined up for Prince Charles

Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.

Trudeau lays down challenge to companies in bid to boost trade with Asia

“Building the relationships, building the connections, building the facility and also changing mindsets — getting Canadian companies to see the opportunities we have around the world to partner and invest.”

CNN sues Trump, demanding return of Acosta to White House

CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.

Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

US trial to tell epic tale of Mexican drug lord “El Chapo”

Guzman’s long-awaited U.S. trial begins Tuesday in New York

Northern California wildfire is deadliest in state history

Holding out slim hope as crews search for more fire dead; 42 already killed in blaze

Surging Rangers beat visiting Canucks 2-1

Goalie Lundqvist ties Plante on all-time wins list

Most Read