Parents forge ahead despite loss

Rossland’s Neighbourhood of Learning did not win the Aviva Community Fund Competition but its solid showing has organizers optimistic as they look to the future.

Neighbourhoods of Learning group plans March meeting

Rossland’s Neighbourhood of Learning did not win the Aviva Community Fund Competition but its solid showing has organizers optimistic as they look to the future.

“We didn’t win any money this time but this doesn’t mean the difference between whether RSS stays open or closes,” said committee member Shelley Ackerman. “We can try again next year when hopefully everything will be more concrete and the spectre of (school) closures is no longer looming.”

The effort made the Top 10 in the small cities category but failed to receive any money once the final judging was completed. Nelson had also finished in the Top 10 but like Rossland did not make the cut in a competition

that doled out $1 million in grant funding.

The neighbourhood-learning plan would see K-12 move into Rossland Secondary School and MacLean Elementary potentially used as a neighbourhood learning or community centre with the francophone school possibly relocating there.

The committee has set a public meeting for March 1, where the focus will be on preserving K-12 education in Rossland.

“The focus of the meeting isn’t so much about getting neighbourhood of learning users into the building, it’s more about having K-12 in one facility because if K-12 is all in the RSS building there won’t be room for neighhourhoods of learning.”

Amid heated criticism from three Trail area trustees, the board of education shelved the facilities plan and agreed to look at concepts such as NOL and 21st Century Learning and have planned public meetings in Rossland, Trail and Castlegar beginning March 2 in Rossland.

“Both these meetings are extremely important and its vital everyone get out and support them,” said Ackerman.

The neighbourhood-learning meeting will host people who have worked in K-12 schools from communities like Crawford Bay and Kaslo and will share thoughts about the benefits and opportunities of K-12 learning in public schools, Ackerman added.

The neighbourhood-learning concept seems to be growing as last month Webster Elementary School’s Parent Advisory Council wrote a letter of support to Rossland’s two PACs and have worked with the village in financing new programs at Webster Elementary.

At a recent school district budget meeting, Phil Power, head teacher of the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre at Trail Middle School, asked for funding for a community garden and to foster a neighbourhoods-of-learning style program.

“Neighbourhoods of learning is something we’ve been talking about quite a bit and I think this is the first opportunity to explore neighbourhoods of learning, again, to bring the school together,” said Power.