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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Vancouver, BC
The Vancouver School Board recently announced they need to cut 18.1 million from their budget to balance their books for next year. This means huge cuts across the city, with losses in teaching and support staff, counselors, librarians, band and strings programs, and many others. http://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-news/vsb- ... -deficit-0

From what I have read, the provincial cuts to school board funding will affect all school districts in BC.

Our local school is at risk of losing our full time principal, to be replaced by a Vice Principal, who would teach part time and become a part time administrator. The ratio of admin time to teaching time could be as low as 3:7 meaning the teacher would only act as VP 30% of the time.

This is a huge concern to me as a parent of children at risk for anaphylaxis. Families with special issues, whether they be health, behavioural or learning related simply would not get the time and support of an administrator when the person is only there 30% of the time. I am attaching my letter below which was written to our area's school board trustee, but also CCd to other key individuals.

April 14, 2010

Jane Bouey
Vice-chair, Vancouver Board of Education
Via email: jane.bouey@vsb.bc.ca

Dear Jane,
It was great of you to take the time to come meet us at Franklin today. I know with the proposed changes, you must be extremely busy.
We as parents are extremely concerned with all the proposed changes that would take place. Cutting music programs, library hours, counselors and special education teachers will cause major detriment to our children’s schooling and to the public education system in Vancouver.

I wanted again to reiterate the vital importance of having a full time principal at Franklin Elementary.

As you know, we are a small school that is somewhat isolated due to our geography in the city; we are quite far away from our catchment high school. As Liz mentioned, we have very few resources in our school, and almost no non-enrolling teachers.

What we do have is a tight knit group of fantastic kids. We have a hard-working group of caring, and involved parents that organize and support many school activities. However, these parents work in conjunction with a very supportive and dedicated principal, the person who oversees the school and all its programs. Our principal is able to support the families of this school. She knows almost every child’s name by memory, and is extremely accessible to families who need to speak to her with any issues they may have regarding their child’s education.

As a mother of two children at risk for anaphylaxis through food allergies, I find it imperative that a full time principal remains at Franklin. Anaphylaxis is an ‘invisible disease’ because you can’t see it, but there are huge lifestyle changes that must be made, as well as major risks associated with everyday activities. Children with this condition and their parents must be extremely cautious in making certain that strict avoidance of the food(s) in question is practiced, and school staff must have the knowledge to assist the child if a reaction occurs. Uninformed staff or a delay in responding could be a death sentence to a child at risk. As you probably know, this is not a disability designated by the Ministry of Education, but does require extra care and attention by the child, the parents, the staff and principal for a safe and thorough anaphylaxis plan to properly followed in a school setting.

This is just one example of why it is so crucial that there is a full time principal at Franklin to work with staff and parents with these types of issues.

Liz Kloepper was incredibly understanding and accommodating when I brought these issues forward last year. With her help, along with a few other individuals, we have created a school wide Anaphylaxis Plan to protect not only my child, but other children in the school who are at risk for potentially life threatening allergies.

Our principal is our only tie to the VSB, the only advocate for our school at the VSB, and is the one person able to support insightful long term planning at the school which is so desperately needed.

A part time teacher/administrator would be dealing with issues off the side of his/her desk. The administrative part of the job would be spent putting out proverbial fires and managing crises. Children in the administrator/teacher’s classroom would suffer due to all the disruptions in that class when issues arise. Long term planning for the school would be left by the wayside just because there simply wouldn’t be enough time to do everything. Issues would fall through the cracks and CHILDREN would fall through the cracks.

The loss of our principal would be a huge, insurmountable devastation to the school. We implore you to do everything in your power to ensure that Franklin School keeps our full time principal.

Sincerely,


Franklin parent and
President, Board of Directors
Franklin Preschool Society

CC:
Liz Kloepper, Principal, Franklin Elementary lkloepper@vsb.bc.ca
Karen Parisotto, PAC Chair, Franklin Elementary private email
Honourable Margaret Macdiarmid, Minister of Education minister.educ@gov.bc.ca
Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier premier@gov.bc.ca
Shane Simpson, MLA for Hastings East shane.simpson.mla@leg.bc.ca
Patti Bacchus, Chair, Vancouver Board Of Education patti.bacchus@vsb.bc.ca
Steve Cardwell, Superintendent of Schools scardwell@vsb.bc.ca

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


Last edited by Alison's Mom on Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2946
Location: Toronto
Alison's Mom - some of us had heard that the cuts were big,
but I didn't realize principals themselves might be in peril.

Thanks for letting us know, and for raising the anaphylaxis issues.
Anyone else from B.C. facing potential impact on ana. communication & training?

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks Gwen. They are proposing to cut principals out of schools with fewer than 200 students. Ours has around 180.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Great letter!

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:18 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
If it is any reassurance Alison, I have found that my best protection for my allergic child was to have the homeroom teacher on board, clear of what needed to happen and dedicated to making sure appropriate routines were followed including leaving clear information for subtitute teachers.
I always wrote a request for the desired teacher or type of teacher and often stressed the importance of having supportive friends in the class.
I did this before the end of May. I also always booked an appointment to meet with the new teacher right at the beginning of the year and went over where the epipen would be kept, signs and symptoms of a reaction and how desks would be washed. Not all prinicipals that we dealt with were as receptive as some of the teachers.

I too am feeling the pain of the cutbacks to education. I have only been able to get teaching work as a teacher on call (substitute, supply). Looking into other career options.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
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Location: Toronto
That's unfortunate, Cathie. I bet you're a great teacher. :(

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks Susan and Cathie.

Cathie - I see your point about the classroom teacher being really key to keeping to the anaphylaxis plan. As my DD is in K, I have only dealt with one teacher and one principal so far, and luckily both have been great. My concern is that if the principal is not on board with the school's policy, then I would have no support in case the teacher happens to 'not get it'. With the principal's support, the entire staff is trained on anaphylaxis management, and there is support at special events, etc.

With a school our size (180 kids), they don't know who will be teaching what grade next year until the 2nd week of September. However, with the policy already having been in place for a year, I am hoping it will go smoothly whether we keep our principal or not.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
Allison, I found it important to make my requests each May as initial class lists were being organized. Yes these may change but it also gives administration a reminder and helps them to plan ahead. The students who are likely to be moved about to other classes are not usually those with special requests. September is so busy. In my experience, allergy training and letters home were not sent out as soon as I felt necessary. I usually volunteered to help at the school especially during the first week.
Ideally the principal, teacher, lunch supervisors and fellow students would all be on board. As a teacher on call I have been in classrooms where the sign on the door said no peanut products but they still appeared in student lunches. I have intervened when a lunch supervisor thought it would be okay for these to be consumed in the classroom when the allergic student was absent. I explained that consistency was important and that the sticky peanutbutter should not be coming into the classroom. I talked to the students who gladly took their sandwihces outside of the classroom and made sure hands were washed and the table was washed down.
The principal sets the tone and standard for the school, staff and parents. The classroom teacher can intervene with the classmates and make sure a safe environment is set on a daily basis.
I have dealt with both situations where the teacher was my safety net and where the vice-principal was my go to person to keep the classroom environment allergy safe.
Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 1:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 802
Location: Vancouver, BC
Just wanted to provide an update. . . . turns out our school is going to be 'twinned' with another small school nearby and we will keep our principal, who will oversee our school, and assist the other school's new VP to provide administration to their school.

We had a huge petition, plus letters and PAC members presenting at school board meetings. I'm not sure if it made any difference, but I'm just glad our principal is staying!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I'm so glad you were able to keep your principal! :thumbsup

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2946
Location: Toronto
Congrats!

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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