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Friday, 02 December 2016 08:00

Parents hopeful PRSD board will listen to their concerns and ideas

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Nichole Foot, right, asks Ryan Boser, secretary-treasurer with PRSD, a question about the financials for New Brigden School at the Nov. 28 invitation-only meeting. Nichole Foot, right, asks Ryan Boser, secretary-treasurer with PRSD, a question about the financials for New Brigden School at the Nov. 28 invitation-only meeting. Photo by Rose Sanchez

Reactions of parents were mixed after a three-hour meeting in New Brigden School Nov. 28, held by the Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD), but one message was clear — parents want the school to remain open in the community.

Parents with children either in the private Kindergarten or younger had the chance to provide their recommendations to the PRSD board about the future of New Brigden School.
After the meeting ended, Nichole Foot, a parent of a child in the privately-operated kindergarten this year, said it feels like the parents with children not yet in school have their backs against a wall. She was appreciative of the meeting being held though, and the way in which it was done with facilitators.
“I’m really hoping the board understands and hears our viewpoints and that we want the school to stay open,” she added. “It’s an emotionally-charged issued.”
Lacey Delorme has a child in Kindergarten and one in pre-Kindergarten in New Brigden.
She said when she was in school she graduated with such a large student body, she didn’t know very many of her peers.
She moved to New Brigden to farm with her father and her family has resided in the area for years.
“I don’t want my kids on a bus for an hour,” she said. “My kid knows who her peers are. I want my kids to grow up where it’s safe.”
She was also appreciative that the Prairie Rose board and administration was interested in hearing the parents’ views and concerns.
“I like that they’re going to hear us and hear what we have to say,” said Delorme. “I think if they can give it another year, we can do more.”
Simone Hagens has two children in New Brigden with one in Kindergarten and the other only one of two students at the school this year in Grade 2.
Luckily, she adds, those two Grade 2 students are best friends and get along.
“For us, we were concerned, but (the concerns) are bigger than her having a quiet year,” she said.
She came from Calgary, now having only resided in the area for about nine years.
Her husband on the other hand has strong roots in the area, ranching the family land and having attended New Brigden himself as a student.
“My husband has always been here, he went to school here so it’s near and dear to him.”
Hagens would like to see some kind of program remain at New Brigden, especially since she can see how well her daughter is doing this year, despite the small enrolment.
“It may be small, but our daughter is doing well. She is happy and she loves her teacher,” said Hagens. “I think smaller for her is maybe better. She’s happy every day.”
Jordon Christianson, chairman to the Special Areas Board, was at the meeting mainly to listen to residents’ concerns.
“New Brigden is a strong, independent community. The school has always been the centre of that community,” he said.
A lot of the conversations around the tables were what Christianson expected to hear and he felt Prairie Rose officials did an excellent job of presenting important information to those in attendance.
“I don’t think it’s insurmountable,” he added, about what may be the outcomes for the school and community. “I’m glad to see the division out here to look at what options there might be ... Kudos to the board and division for doing this. It shows respect to the parents ... and the community...”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor