Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling

Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling / Catchment Boundary Change and the Re-Opening of Ralph Bell Elementary Public Consultation

The Board of Education of School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) is considering a catchment area change to the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools, and re-opening Ralph Bell as a K-7 elementary school for Sept. 2022.

The catchment change would shift the area encompassing Juniper West, west of Galore Drive and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc from Marion Schilling Elementary to Ralph Bell Elementary.

A period of public consultation is now underway. It began on Apr. 20, 2021, and it will close on Jun. 21, 2021.

A public meeting was held on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, livestreamed on our Facebook and YouTube channels, to discuss these proposed changes.

The District slide presentation shown during this meeting is also posted below, and here:

Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Presentation

For more information, check the FAQ posted on this page. If you have a question to add to the FAQ, please email facility inputPublic comments are also posted on this page. 

The Chair and Trustees of the Board of Education will consider public input received before Jun. 21, 2021, before making their decision, at the regular Board of Education meeting on June 28, 2021.


Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Livestream – May 5, 2021

Juniper Ridge / Marion Schilling Presentation

Board Policy 13 – School Closure and Reopening

According to the policy, the Board shall provide a 60-day public consultation process with respect to the permanent closure or reopening of a school, prior to the Board making its final decision on the possible closure or reopening of the school.

Superintendent Terry Sullivan provided the following rationale regarding the reopening of Ralph Bell Elementary. 

Space available in nearby schools. Availability of space at receiving school (1.2 and 7.1.3)
  • Juniper Ridge Elementary is currently well over capacity and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Marion Schilling Elementary is at capacity and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
  • Ralph Bell Elementary is currently closed as a school, but has three daycare tenants occupying the entire facility.
Traffic and travel patterns and safety of access for students being relocate. Proximity of schools and the routes to schools. (1.3 and 1.4 and 7.1.4)
  • Ralph Bell Elementary is located approximately 5.3 km from Juniper Ridge Elementary and approximately 2.4 km from Marion Schilling Elementary.
  • The affected students from Juniper Ridge Elementary would be provided school bus service to Ralph Bell Elementary.
  • Affected students from Marion Schilling Elementary that are within walk limits to Marion Schilling Elementary will be within the walk limits to Ralph Bell Elementary. Affected students from Marion Schilling Elementary that currently ride a school bus will remain on the school bus and be dropped off at Ralph Bell Elementary.
Current and projected enrolment levels. Enrolment trends and utilization for the school and surrounding area. (1.5 and 7.1.2)
The following tables provide enrolment projections and utilization for Juniper Ridge Elementary, Marion Schilling Elementary, and Ralph Bell Elementary. The upper table provides the enrolment projections if no catchment changes are implemented. The lower table provides the enrolment projections for the revised catchments.
Potential Catchment Enrollment Changes - Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling 
Potential Catchment Changes

 

Consultation
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is the Board of Education considering a catchment change for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling Elementary schools?
Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools continue to have steady enrolment growth due to the development in Juniper Ridge.   
2. Why is the Board of Education considering re-opening Ralph Bell Elementary School?
In order to optimally balance student enrolment and facility capacity utilization between the schools, it is recommended that the Board consider re-opening Ralph Bell Elementary School as a K–7 elementary school. 
3. If the Board decides to re-open Ralph Bell Elementary School, how will the catchment areas be changed? 

For the proposed boundary review of Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling and proposed re-opening of Ralph Bell Elementary, a 60-day period of public consultation as per Board Policy 13 will be confirmed after a review of the Board Report by the Board’s Education, and Finance Planning Committees, and a recommendation to the Board on April 19, 2021.

The 60-day period of public consultation will be held from Apr.20 to Jun. 21, and a public meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, via zoom, to discuss these proposed changes. 

 
4. What would the Ralph Bell Elementary School catchment look like?
The Ralph Bell Elementary School catchment would include Juniper West, west of Galore Crescent (corrected from Galore Drive), including future development areas, and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc. This catchment provides for balanced operational capacity at all three schools.  
5. How will the decision be made regarding this catchment change?
A period of public consultation will be held from April 20, 2021 to June 21, 2021. On June 28, 2021, the Board will consider the public input when it makes its decision regarding the catchment re-opening of Ralph Bell Elementary School and the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary schools. 
6. How can I ask questions or submit comments during the consultation period?

During that time the public can submit their questions and comments via email to facility input. They can also register to speak at the virtual public meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. They will also be able to submit questions during the public meeting.

Note: The available time for people to speak at the Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Public Consultation Meeting is now all booked. To be placed on the waiting list, please email facility input, and put 'Waiting List for Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Consultation' in the subject line. 

 7. Will Ralph Bell be renovated before re-opening in September 2022?

Yes. For SD73 to bring the Ralph Bell Elementary facility back to an operating school, and to a condition similar to Westsyde Elementary when it was re-opened in 2019, a capital expenditure of approximately $853,000 is required. Renovations, infrastructure improvements and fixtures would include: 

•Infrastructure
•WIFI and technology
•Accessibility upgrades
•Painting – Interior and Exterior
•Lighting upgrades
•Flooring upgrades
•Miscellaneous renovations
•Furniture
•Equipment
•Library books, shelving etc.
•Playground
•Play area paving

8. What measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and the children safe?

Each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of school to ensure adequate supervision is provided during the school day.  Adjustments are made throughout the year to ensure the supervision plan is meeting the needs of the school.

9. Can students already attending Juniper Ridge Elementary that are affected by the catchment change apply to transfer so they can remain in the school?

Students already attending Juniper Ridge Elementary that are affected by the catchment boundary change can apply to transfer. 

Administrative Procedure 305 School Boundaries and Student Transfer Requests.
(from the AP) 

Each year students and parents will be given notice that commencing on March 1st of each year they may request transfer to another school for the coming school year. Notice shall be publicized in school newsletters and on the School District 73 website. Transfer requests must be submitted in writing to the receiving principal and approved by students’ parents to be considered.

 

10. What does SD73 do with regard to developing and publicizing  future plans?   

As part of the Ministry of Education Capital Plan Instructions, the Ministry of Education requires each school district to provide a Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP). This report is prepared by senior staff and presented to the Board of Education annually. The April 2021 LRFP can be found here.
11. How many students will be affected?
Juniper Ridge Elementary, 129. Marion Schilling Elementary, 82
12. Will current students attending Juniper Ridge Elementary be moved to Ralph Bell or is it only applicable to new registration in the catchment areas?
The catchment change affects all students (current and newly enrolling) within the new boundary effective Sept. 2022. 

14. What is District doing to support child mental health as it is impacted by the proposed catchment change?

Each student will have a different response to catchment area changes.  While some students may welcome a change, others may respond in a variety of ways, including trouble sleeping, concentrating or listening. Your child may become more irritable, sad, angry, or worried as they anticipate change.

School staff are trained to respond to student's nonverbal communication to listen and will pay attention to what they say and how they act.  If a student requires additional support, parents or school staff may recommend they see a school counsellor.  This support may be requested by contacting the school principal.

To support the mental wellness of all students, the District has a plan to support mental health and to promote mental health and well-being for students, to help identify some students with, or at risk of developing mental health problems, to provide resources, and to support access to specialized support for the few students who require more intensive intervention.  

The action plan focused on schools playing an important role in supporting the development and maintenance of well-being for children and youth through:  

  1. Helping staff create emotionally and mentally healthy spaces  
  2. Reducing stigma related to mental health  
  3. Promoting early identification of students who may be struggling with mental health issues 
  4. Providing support to access community treatment  

The District focuses on social and emotional learning, mental health literacy, and trauma-informed practice.  Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a set of specific skills that help us set goals, manage our behaviour, build relationships, and process or remember information. These skills impact a person's mental well-being and are connected to educational success and employment. This area is implemented by focusing on student learning, educator learning, and parent engagement. 

13. Has the District worked in conjunction with the daycare providers to understand the impacts of displacing the three daycares at Ralph Bell?

There are currently three daycares leasing space on a year to year basis at Ralph Bell. The yearly lease agreement is set out because of the potential need to revert the building back to a school. SD73 has reached out to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to discuss the future of the daycares currently at Ralph Bell.  The MCFD has been in contact with all three daycare providers to understand their future needs.

15. Is there any consideration to Ralph Bell becoming at 4/5/6/7 school instead of changing the catchment boundary?

Many different considerations to school configurations are made to relieve enrollment pressures.

The attached table shows the projections if only the grades 6 and 7s are moved from both Juniper and Marion Schilling.

Long term, this makes Ralph Bell the most over capacity at 162%, compared to Juniper at 136% and Marion Schilling at 128%.

This option also splits families up which can make it difficult for families in other ways. 

16. Will there be an audit of JRES to ensure that the current out of catchment students attending the school are not part of the school’s overcapacity?

There are many reasons that students may be attending out of catchment schools, including recent family moves, or they may have been placed there to address their social or emotional needs. A recent audit of out of catchment students at JRES indicates that there are not a significant number of students from out of catchment. 

17. How will Ralph Bell be staffed? Will teachers from JRES transfer? 

Staffing is determined by the collective agreement. Some teachers from JRES may be eligible to transfer, but that is an individual teacher’s decision to make. 

18. Why can’t the capital that you spend on upgrading Ralph Bell go towards expanding Juniper Ridge? 

Although Juniper Ridge Elementary could be expanded, it would be a difficult and costly expansion due to the site topography. To add space, an expansion would require excavating into the hill, which would result in the loss of outdoor field space. Based on Ministry Area Standards, an expanded school would not qualify for more space in all areas of the school such as the gym, so there would be less gym time for all students. The School District believes that the best long-term solution for Juniper Ridge is a new school in Juniper West.

Since the School District does not have sufficient capital reserves to fund an expansion or new school on its own, Ministry of Education funding is required. Regardless of whether a project is an expansion or a new school, the Ministry of Education has to support and approve a project before the School District can proceed.

It is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would support and approve an expansion of JRES when there is an empty school relatively close by.

19. Will there be a special education budget? How will the special needs of children be met at a new school? 

Yes, there will be a special education budget and it will be to provide supports similar to those at Juniper Ridge.

20. Why does it take so long to build a new school?

The School District applies to the Ministry of Education for capital funding every year. Until the Ministry of Education supports a project, the School District has no control over the project timeline. Essentially, we are in competition with all the other school districts for Ministry of Education capital dollars.

Once the Ministry has supported a project, the School District must complete a further business case analysis to confirm that the enrolment projections warrant a new school and to review procurement options. This step usually takes one year, as it is based on the Ministry's funding cycle.

Once the Ministry has approved the business case, the design and construction would typically take approximately 2-1/2 to 3 years depending on the complexity of the site and design.

21. If this proposal for a boundary change and the reopening of Ralph Bell changes (to a grade 5/6/7 eg), what happens? Is there another consultation process?

Through this consultation period we may hear of better solutions, but everyone should know where we are headed, doing nothing is not a viable option when we look at the children that will be attending JRES five or 10 years from now. We have to find solutions that relive that pressure that we know is coming. We are interested to learn of other viable suggestions through this process. 

22. What would the ventilation conditions be like in Ralph Bell?

The HVAC at Ralph Bell is currently maintained by SD73. While the equipment may be different that some other schools, it is maintained to the same standard as all of the schools in the district.

23. Can SD73 comment on timelines for a new school in Juniper West? Do we need to even be looking at 2030 at this point given you are only considering interim measures? The forecasts are just that, forecasts, with considerable uncertainty around them. 

 As far back as 2000 we were projecting declining enrolment until 2014 than an increase in enrolment, which is why we maintained ownership of all the schools that we had to close during the years of enrollment decline, in case we had to reopen them in the future. There was one factor that we could not predict that was the Supreme Court decision in 2018 regarding class size and competition, a decision which added 90 classroom spaces to the district and exasperated the situation we are in now. 

24. Will there be an upgrade budget detailing the work required for the renovations to Ralph Bell, and will a portion of that budget accommodate upgrades to the fence around the school property?

The $853,000 capital upgrade cost allocated to the reopening of Ralph Bell is based on a room-by-room budget analysis that looks at every aspect of the building, its grounds and perimeter. The fence has been receiving regular maintenance. The fence will be inspected and upgraded if required whether that is through the regular maintenance program or as a capital upgrade. 

25. What would the timeline be for a new school in Juniper West? 

The new school in Juniper West is the number four priority of the SD73 Capital Plan, in a best-case scenario, the school could be built in 8 to 10 years. 
26. Why will residents in the (as yet unbuilt) new developments in Juniper East have priority to remain in the Juniper Ridge catchment over existing residents in Juniper that are already going to JRES?
When proposing new catchment boundaries discrete areas are chosen that can be delineated geographically on a map and have the number of students that can adjust the enrollment pressure at the school.   

27. Many parents wanted to present this evening but where told there was no space, yet only a few people presented this evening.

There was allocated time for 12 presenters, this evening, 120 minutes. Everyone that had asked to be on the waitlist was invited to present. Six people declined on May 5, the day of the presentation, and two people earlier in the week. 

28. Juniper West is positioned to get a new school, what is the location/address of the site?

The School District is in the process of securing a crown grant to obtain a portion of the crown land between Juniper West and Rose Hill Road. Currently, there is no street address.

29. How will staffing be determined? 

All school staffing is determined by the collective agreement and there is a process in place. All staff at affected schools are included in the consultation process with opportunities to provide comment and to ask questions directly to the Assistant Superintendents of Schools, Trish Smillie and Bill Hamblett. 

30. What per cent of the public concerns will weigh in on the final decision?

The process is one of consultation. The Board is listening to suggestions, to concerns. All questions will be responded to. This consultation process continues until June 14, then all comments and questions will be compiled and presented to the board for its consideration before its final decision on June 28, 2021 at 7 PM.

31. What safety measures will be in place to address the increased criminal activity in the area of the school? Will there be an additional budget for this?

The specifics around Ralph Bell have yet to be examined and there has been no discussion regarding criminal activity in the area. The District does take a broad approach to safety in all its schools and has started a program that will be implemented in all schools with respect to safety, video surveillance and working closely with community partners, including the RCMP and City of Kamloops Community Services. The safety at Ralph Bell will be approached the same way.  

32. Will the District approach the City to install a crossing light on Valleyview Drive to accommodate safe pick-up and drop-off?

Once a decision is made by the Board on June 28, 2021, and it is determined whether the prosed change will go ahead, then the specifics around safe pick-up, drop-off and any traffic control measures involving the City of Kamloops will be addressed.

33. Marion Schilling is on a huge lot and below average capacity for a K-7 school in SD73. Has there been consideration of increasing capacity there?   

The School District believes that the best long-term solution for Juniper Ridge is a new school in Juniper West.

Based on Ministry Area Standards, an expanded school would not qualify for more space in all areas of the school such as the gym, so there would be less gym time for all students.

Since the School District does not have sufficient capital reserves to fund an expansion or new school on its own, Ministry of Education funding is required. Regardless of whether a project is an expansion or a new school, the Ministry of Education has to support and approve a project before the School District can proceed. It is unlikely that the Ministry of Education would provide capital to support an addition to a school with Ralph Bell nearby and unoccupied.  While Ralph Bell is occupied by daycares, according to the Ministry of Education, SD73’s mandate is K-12 and our priority must be to provide space for K-7. 

34. Why can you not just prioritize enrollment at JRES to current residents? Couldn’t the new students moving into the new development that don’t already have siblings in the existing school go to Ralph Bell? 

The suggested catchment change is one way to relieve enrollment pressure at JRES. While prioritizing current residents is another way, we are not able to project with certainty how the change would reduce enrollment pressure because it is unknown how many families would move into the new developments, the ages of the children, if any, or how soon the housing would be occupied.  With the suggested catchment change we know with certainty that JRES would go from an overcapacity of 150% to 116% in September 2022.
35. Will there be rolled shutters installed over the windows at Ralph Bell? 
The District has plans to install rolled shutters at all schools, including Ralph Bell.
Comments (as submitted)
Simone J

Question to the Board: has consideration been given to the importance of walkability to a neighborhood school? Juniper West students will lose the ability to walk to school which has significant physical and mental health impacts. We are unique in this way as the catchment change will not impact students from the other neighborhoods in the same way. We are disproportionately bearing the burden of this change across many fronts, including loss of the ability to walk, which is very significant for our family and many others.

Nicolas B.
I think all Juniper West kids should be going down the bottom of the hill to school. I am not really understanding the massive uproar.... This is ridiculous....
Jasmine F.

Have you considered how difficult this transition will be for children with special needs?

Letter 

Sydney T.
1. I support the reopening of Ralph bell
2. Middle school model should be considered to allow same cohorts of students to learn together. Not sure why all junior high schools were changed to high schools grades 8-12 but I think that was a mistake. More difficult to deal with that many grades and ages in one school versus dividing into junior and senior high schools. That inflexibility is showing now as schools become overcrowded.
3. Concerns about drug use and other crime near Ralph Bell should be able to be managed. When the school reopens you will likely find a drop in crime because the area will be more occupied. Also, concerned parents should remember that there are three daycares presently operating out of Ralph Bell and they are having to deal with the same problems. Perhaps they could provide feedback on how big a problem crime is and how they are dealing with it.
Bianca M. 
I am wondering how many of the kids at Juniper Ridge are from cross catchment? Will they be moved to their own catchment or will they be allowed to stay while Juniper residents will be kicked out? Also, why are cross catchment students still being accepted if the school is already at capacity? I know of one that just got accepted in the last month.
Peter
I agree with the proposal to reduce occupancy rates at Juniper Ridge Elementary. The current overcrowded conditions are not adequate for students, with a lack of space for lockers, shared bathroom facilities, library, Gym and outdoor play space this is affecting children's learning opportunities and enjoyment of school, highlighted even more during covid. There is no longer a dedicated music room or community space that made this school so desirable and a hub for the community in the past.  Education has long been underfunded in this district (and BC). Barring a political miracle and change in funding policy we are simply not going to see a new school built within the next 10 yrs, despite new residences springing up in their hundreds in Juniper West bringing with them scores of new families. The only cost effective, short term, affordable and politically realistic solution is to reopen Ralph Bell and change catchments so that those buying in west juniper know this before moving, this is unlikely to dent sales of houses. It is unfortunate to lose daycare accommodation, but the current occupants of Ralph Bell have been on notice to find alternative space for over 4yrs. Street safety is always an issue at any school and I support measures to improve the safety and security of all our schools, however, there are already young children at Ralph Bell so moving older children here should be no more 'unsafe'. I do not support the creation of a middle school as evidence shows student attainment is less. Friends may be split up, but that has already happened to my child every year for the past 3 years. Having 70+ kids in the same year almost guarantees they won't be in the same friend group let alone know all of the kids in their same year! Thanks for your efforts in making a change for our children, let's hope this gets implemented without delay.
Bianca M.
I am interested in knowing how many of the children at Juniper Ridge do not live in the catchment. I know of at least 1 but I bet there are a ton. Would moving them back to their catchment open up more spots for kids up in Juniper so we avoid moving to Ralph Bell.

I have great anxiety over this potential move. My children are very cautious and emotional children who need to feel safe at school. My daughter especially often cries at night asking about strangers and what if someone takes her or breaks into the house. I am afraid that exposing them to that kind of environment will only make things worse for her.
Jennifer D.
I watched your meeting last night with interest. After watching the meeting I wanted to share a few comments.
1. All the speakers that presented at the meeting were from Juniper West. I understand their frustrations with the boundary changes. As a parent of children who will remain at Juniper Ridge Elementary, I think it is important that you hear from voices in support of this change as well. I have great concerns with the overcrowding currently. I think it is important that the numbers of students in this school are reduced to gain additional access to the gym, the library, and other school facilities. I noted in your numbers that 128 students will be required to move schools as a result of this change. This leaves 394 students at Juniper Ridge Elementary. As you consider the boundary change please assume that most of these 394 students have families who view this change favourably, however are not commenting because they are not upset. 
2. Please clearly share with the community why a 6-7 grade change was not selected for your first choice plan. Throughout the meeting this was presented as an option. I think if you clearly stated the reasons for not choosing this option it would help many parents understand why the proposed changes are as presented. 
3. Another comment that came up frequently was that this change seems to be very sudden. I do not agree that it was sudden at all. Looking back at the 2018 Long Range Facilities plan the reopening of Ralph Bell was presented as a likely solution. Please do not allow the comments of it being a sudden change sway your decision to mitigate the enrollment pressures on Juniper Ridge Elementary. 
4. Many parents expressed concern about the loss of friendship groups when Ralph Bell reopens. Perhaps to help alleviate this concern student addresses could be made available when the teachers are making class lists later this May.  This would allow the school to ensure that students in both Juniper East and Juniper West are grouped with classmates they will remain with once the boundaries change. This way they are able to build friendships that can carry forward to the future.
5. I do agree with the comments that the teachers who want to transfer to Ralph Bell should be given priority to do so. Please work with the KTTA to ensure that this can happen even if parts of the collective agreement do not allow for it.
Please reopen Ralph Bell as I feel that the problems with an overcrowded school far outweigh the problems of opening another school.  
Jen P
Have you thought about how this is going to affect 2021 kindergarteners? Transitioning to school is a huge adjustment. Then you want to put them through another huge transition to a new school a year later? For some of us working professionals, our children attend daycares in other locations in the city. My child is losing all but 1 of her friends when school starts and then that friend will be lost again the next year because we live a road over....
Sandi S.
I am not in favour of bussing our elementary children to Valleyview.  We bought our home in Juniper because of the school and now we are in jeopardy of having our children not being able to,go to their neighbourhood school.  Why not make it a middle school 5-7 as I feel the older children can handle being bussed better than the young ones.  I was also told that Coldwater area would still go to Juniper, is that true?  If so those new home owners in the new subdivision will be able to attend Jumper Elementary, while those of us that already send our children and grandchildren to Juniper will have to be bussed. That does not make any sense.  Perhaps the new subdivision should be sent to the new school and not those of us who already have children attending the Junior school.  I know hard decisions have to be made, but I hope you let the children from K-4 go to their neighborhood school as planned when their parents purchased  real estate in Juniper.
Bryce C.
I support the board's decision to reopening Ralph Bell, should had never been closed.

While not prefect for those of Juniper West, I would add that it's already a pretty good distance from Juniper Elementary - probably already equates to driving to/from school. So a move to Ralph Bell won't be very different.

Question to the board: Juniper West is positioned to get a new school, again right decision, what is the location/address of the site?
Laura D.

To whom it may concern, 

After reviewing the information on the proposed division of the Juniper school catchment area, and trying to understand the cost/benefit analysis that presumably precluded it, we are vehemently opposed to the plan for the following reasons, in the order of what we consider to be relevant and important.  Naturally, other people may agree or disagree in varied measure to these and more, but from our discussions with other potentially affected neighbours in the area, these concerns (and frustrations) are widely and strongly held. 

  • We moved to this neighbourhood for various reasons, but principally among them was the close proximity – walking distance proximity – to a highly-regarded Elementary School.  This was not, and is not, just about convenience but also about the self-contained safety inherent in the “island community” on the Ridge. 
  • It feels unseemly to opine on child development to a body of school executives, most of whom are certain to be parents themselves, but the obvious detrimental effects of the forced division of the junior classes in particular at a key part of their social evolution is surely understood. 
  • Of course overcrowding is a progressively urgent problem, but it is hard to see how, on-balance, splitting school regions within grades (on the basis of geography) makes more sense than splitting school regions between grades.  There is certain to be a fracturing effect.  Keeping grades together maintains other community relationships; it has a network effect. 
  • Common concerns around Ralph Bell’s location – higher crime, transient accommodation, documented law-enforcement flashpoint – exist irrespective of how catchment is determined.  However, it stands to reason that older cohorts such as grades 5,6 & 7 are more aware of the need for increased vigilance in that location, which to us only adds support for a grade-based division of the catchment area. 
  • There was undoubtedly a discussion around where the new catchment boundaries would be drawn, but it is at best unclear as to why developing and as-yet undeveloped sections of Juniper West will benefit over established – recently, but nonetheless established – neighbourhoods. 
  • An injurious effect which will manifest long before Fall 2022 is the suppressed property values.  The buyer pool for properties west of Coldwater will shrink when people need to factor in the school logistics of a separated community.  No-one is entitled to a property value but such a dramatic shuffling of the status quo is punitive. 

We assume – hopefully correctly – that the School District will treat the collective concerns with the gravitas they deserve; it would be a shame if public consultation were simply a box to tick prior to declaring a foregone conclusion.  We trust that the breadth and depth of the opposition to the proposed plan will not be ignored and that there exists sufficient empathy and initiative to arrive at an alternative solution to the problem that faces both parents and the School District, as partners in the community. 

 

Email #2) Please see attached letter.

Matt J.
We moved to Juniper West so that our kids could be walking distance to a good school in a safe neighbourhood. How is that the School District thinks it is a good idea to now bus my kids all the way down to Ralph Bell?

I have also heard that the school will also be instantly over capacity as well.
Alysah P

1. Can someone please clarify where Galore Drive is located? There are only Galore Pl and Galore Cres located in Juniper. (See 4 above)

2. Has the district considered options such as middle school or Grades 5-7 attending RBES to keep cohorts/ friends together?

3. Has the district worked in conjunction with daycare providers to understand the impacts of displacing the 3 daycares out of RB? Will there be options for before and after school care?

4. Will current students attending JRES be moved to RBES or is this only applicable to new registrations in these catchment areas? (See 9 above)

 

5. How is the district going to address overcrowding issues at RBES? Will we be looking at another catchment change in 5 years? According to SD73, the school will reopen overcapacity?

6. What is the district doing to support child mental health? Many students and their families have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and will be further challenged by this change in school.

7. Has the district considered the impacts of cutting off a small section of a tight-knit community? JRES is a vital part of this community and the togetherness that many residents feel living in this community. Shifting only part of Juniper West to RBES will have a significant impact on Juniper as a whole community. Letter regarding Proposed Catchment Change

Steph

Our kids have meaningful relationships with their teachers. Will there be an option to have our Juniper teachers go directly to RB or will the decision be seniority based? I hope that if there is staff (here and at MS) agreeable to moving that they would get right of refusal before opening it up to other teachers. The less disruption the better! 

P. Guilherme

I'm happy to hear the school will be re-opened & functioning again.  Vital to the Community & to ease the overcrowding at Juniper & other schools. Developing & Publicizing a future plan for areas that are allowed to continue monumental growth with all Safety access & future Community needs(Juniper, Sun Rivers, Bachelor) in the plan are ESSENTIAL plus publicizing the real numbers & facts so people can see & be part of the logical solutions. (See 10 above)

Rhea M. 

Concerns: high traffic area for criminal activity and drug use. Extremely concerned, with especially young children, encountering drugs within the school fields/playgrounds. Concern for lack of supervision in an area situated in the heart of criminal activity.(See 8 above)

Suggestion: make Ralph Bell a MIDDLE SCHOOL for age appropriate children who can understand the concepts of don’t talk to strangers, be careful where you step because there may be needles, etc.

I strongly put forth the statement that Ralph Bell is NOT an appropriate location for young children (ages 4,5,6), more so at the amount of children expected to attend RBES upon reopening.

The current daycares who operate there have small fenced in areas for outside play and therefore have less risk for above notes concerns. This suggestion also resolves the issue of extracting children from JELS who have formed significant, important and ever lasting relationships with fellow students and teachers.

If you choose to make Ralph Bell a middle school you will not be breaking up friendships and student-teacher relationship and be saving heart breaks in a time where COVID has already taken so much away from us, especially friendships. Please make the right decision.

Allison K. 
The projected enrollment numbers provided by SD73 clearly show that Ralph Bell will be over capacity from day 1, increasingly so each year, and a higher percentage more over capacity than Juniper and Marion Schilling will be. It feels incredibly unfair to have to uproot children from a school they love, leave behind school friendships, and move them out of their neighborhood to a school they can no longer walk to, only to place them into the most overcrowded school.
Raimey O.
It is well known that several of the students in Juniper Ridge no longer reside in the community. Before making decisions regarding catchment changes an audit should be done to ensure that children currently enrolled at the school live within its current catchment area. I purchased a house in Juniper West specifically so that I would legally be within the Juniper Ridge Elementary School catchment. My children have now built friendships and relationships with children at this school. According to this plan their friends, living a few houses over, would be able to remain in our neighbourhood while my children would not. This is our neighbourhood, why should this small sliver of our community be disregarded, geographically it does not even make sense. We may be closer to Ralph Bell on a map, but by road we are not the closest section of Juniper. Shuttling the kids in and out of their own neighbourhood and stripping them from finishing elementary school with their best friends is an incredibly disturbing suggestion that perfectly demonstrates the lack of government consideration for the people their decisions affect most. I would hope there is public disclosure of if any members involved in this decision residing in the protected area of Juniper that will remain in the catchment for our neighbourhood school.
Johan K.
As an affected Juniper parent I am extremely concerned with this change and will most certainly oppose it in the strongest terms on several grounds.
 Jodi S.
I have some concerns about changing the catchment. I completely agree that something has to be done - but has anyone thought about creating a middle school option out of Ralph Bell? Splitting up friends and comfort so late in the game, what if K-5 stays at the elementary school within their catchment, while 6+ go to Ralph Bell. Older kids would be more comfortable catching a bus then such little kindies. Just a suggestion? Perhaps it's not so easy as that either.
 Jesse P.
Very good plan, it needs to happen, at least kind of.
Not sure separating the west side of Juniper is a great idea. Lots of friends cross that east/west boundary. The obvious choice is to keep the west side of Juniper inside the Juniper Ridge catchment but leave everything else the same.
Also, I'm sure the School district is already planning this, but they will need to assist the daycares that currently occupy Ralph Bell find a new home in Valleyview.
 Amy P.
I understand that both Marion Schilling and Juniper Elementary need additional capacity. Why isn’t the district considering a middle school at the Ralph Bell site to deal with this issue? Opening a middle school at the Ralph Bell site would allow small children to continue going to their neighbourhood school with their neighbourhood friends while the older children make use of bus service and potentially travel further to get to Ralph Bell.
 Jody H.
There are a number of homeless people who are residing now permanently in the motels in Valleyview. These individuals are unpredictable due to the fact that they use hard drugs and suffer from severe and persistent mental illnesses. They’re quite close proximity to the Ralph bell elementary school, so I’m just wondering what measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and separate from exposure to these individuals and their lifestyles and comments etc? (See 8 above)
As well, the school looks to be in need of some renovations. Will there be an investment in this school prior to re-opening? (See 7 above)
Maureen D.
The high crime activity in the motels adjacent to and nearby the Ralph Bell property is very concerning.  Having a transient population and a lot of drug activity nearby with children potentially unsupervised (as there is just not enough staff to supervise everyone at all times during recess/lunch) is frightening.  You never know who is going to be staying in those motels or what they could do.  The day this proposal was announced there was a large cache of guns seized from the motel on Commazzetto.  Currently as a daycare, children are outside only under direct supervision but that is just not the case at an elementary school.  What will be done to address this matter? (See 8 above)
Raimey O.

It is well known that several of the students in Juniper Ridge no longer reside in the community. Before making decisions regarding catchment changes an audit should be done to ensure that children currently enrolled at the school live within its current catchment area. I purchased a house in Juniper West specifically so that I would legally be within the Juniper Ridge Elementary School catchment. My children have now built friendships and relationships with children at this school. According to this plan their friends, living a few houses over, would be able to remain in our neighbourhood while my children would not. This is our neighbourhood, why should this small sliver of our community be disregarded, geographically it does not even make sense. We may be closer to Ralph Bell on a map, but by road we are not the closest section of Juniper. Shuttling the kids in and out of their own neighbourhood and stripping them from finishing elementary school with their best friends is an incredibly disturbing suggestion that perfectly demonstrates the lack of government consideration for the people their decisions affect most. I would hope there is public disclosure of if any members involved in this decision residing in the protected area of Juniper that will remain in the catchment for our neighbourhood school.

Part 2 Letter

Allison K.
The projected enrollment numbers provided by SD73 clearly show that Ralph Bell will be over capacity from day 1, increasingly so each year, and a higher percentage more over capacity than Juniper and Marion Schilling will be. It feels incredibly unfair to have to uproot children from a school they love, leave behind school friendships, and move them out of their neighborhood to a school they can no longer walk to, only to place them into the most overcrowded school.
Rhea M.
Concerns: high traffic area for criminal activity and drug use. Extremely concerned, with especially young children, encountering drugs within the school fields/playgrounds. Concern for lack of supervision in an area situated in the heart of criminal activity. (See 8 above)

Suggestion: make Ralph Bell a MIDDLE SCHOOL for age appropriate children who can understand the concepts of don’t talk to strangers, be careful where you step because there may be needles, etc. I strongly put forth the statement that Ralph Bell is NOT an appropriate location for young children (ages 4,5,6), more so at the amount of children expected to attend RBES upon reopening. The current daycares who operate there have small fenced in areas for outside play and therefore have less risk for above notes concerns. This suggestion also resolves the issue of extracting children from JELS who have formed significant, important and ever lasting relationships with fellow students and teachers. If you choose to make Ralph Bell a middle school you will not be breaking up friendships and student-teacher relationship and be saving heart breaks in a time where COVID has already taken so much away from us, especially friendships. Please make the right decision.
P.G.
I'm happy to hear the school will be re opened & functioning again.  Vital to the Community & to ease the overcrowding at Juniper & other schools. Developing & Publicizing a future plan for areas that are allowed to continue monumental growth with all Safety access & future Community needs(Juniper, Sun Rivers, Bachelor) in the plan are ESSENTIAL plus publicizing the real numbers & facts so people can see & be part of the logical solutions. (See the Long Range Facilities Plan) 
Steph G.
Our kids have meaningful relationships with their teachers. Will there be an option to have our Juniper teachers go directly to RB or will the decision be seniority based? I hope that if there is staff (here and at MS) agreeable to moving that they would get right of refusal before opening it up to other teachers. The less disruption the better!
Matt J.
We moved to Juniper West so that our kids could be walking distance to a good school in a safe neighbourhood. How is that the School District thinks it is a good idea to now bus my kids all the way down to Ralph Bell?

I have also heard that the school will also be instantly over capacity as well.

Better planning is needed.
Michael K.
Does this affect paul lake students at all?
Francy H.
I don't have a question per se, but I would like to request that you discuss at the public meeting the transportation plans for students from Juniper West, as keeping with the policies in the City's new Climate Action plan, and the SD's Active Transportation plan.
Amber M.
Thank you for actually doing something about the over population of Juniper Elementary. I think opening up Ralph Bell is a great idea, but I hope the Daycare’s aren’t left without anywhere to go because we need childcare as well. I know change during covid will be tough and nobody will be happy no matter what you do. But doing nothing and ignoring the problem is the worse thing you can do. As long as the school is offering bus service, then I think we can all make the adjustment and spread the kids out. Thank you!
Jennifer H.
I am parent of two children who would be affected by the proposed changes in catchment areas for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling.  I have a few questions that I’m hoping to get answers to in advance of the public meeting on May 5.

1. Could you confirm what the current and projected enrolments are for Grades 6 and 7 for Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling?

2. I called today and spoke with the Education Department but thought I would incorporate my question into this email as well.  Do you have the current and/or projected enrolments for Valley View Secondary? (see page 18, LRFP)

3. Given the current proposed catchment changes, do you know how many students (all grades) would be directed away from Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling? (See 11 above)

4. Have the daycares in Ralph Bell been notified of the proposed changes and is there any plan to assist with their relocation?  Given the current and severe shortage for early childhood education, this will be a huge loss for our community if the two daycares cannot be replaced/re-homed.
Nicolette H.
I am against the change to Juniper West residents having to relocate out of their neighbourhood to attend a school that is in a very unsafe, poor neighbourhood. I do not feel comfortable sending my kids to that neighbourhood and the taxes that I pay I should be able to send my kids to the school that is right down the street from me that I can walk to and feel safe that there are no drug trafficking, sex trafficking and child molesters staying at the hotels backing onto the school property.
Ryan V.
Why Re open Ralph Bell school at the cost of removing the multiple daycares using the facility? The statements of the board in the media that there is no plan to accommodate the daycares somewhere else is a disgrace.
Raj D.
With the lack of after school care programs available and difficulty securing childcare because current providers are full; would we not be trading one set of problems for another.  Has the district given any thought about how this would affect working professionals ? If they are closing one of the 2 providers that provide after school care and the other one possibly might not supply care to the new school, what are parent going to do?
Heather A.

I moved to Juniper Ridge West 5 years ago knowing that the elementary school was excellent and my then 3 year old and newborn girls would receive excellent education in this outstanding neighborhood.

The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have me concerned for multiple reasons:

1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (See 7 above)

2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? (See 5 above)

Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill.

3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.

 

Email Number 2

1) there are no time booking available for this meeting and I would like to put in a formal request to be added. Maybe an additional meeting with parents would be necessary. This is a very complicated proposal.

2) have you considered how his would affect housing values in Juniper West? As I mentioned, a main reason for choosing this neighborhood was the elementary school it provided. I feel that many would consider the neighborhood surrounding Ralph Bell and the school itself undesirable as therefor decrease value and desirability of Juniper West homes.

3)  I feel that reopening of Ralph Bell is simply a “band-aid” and a short term “solution” (it really doesn’t solve anything). There will be far more increased costs needed that would be far better allocated to permanent solutions. For example, busses needed to ensure kids have a safe way to attend school, the loss of funds from the Daycare’s currently leasing space, and simply upgrading the school to meet “standards”. These funds would be far more useful to either:
A) expand Juniper Ridge Elementary or
B) Place priority on a new school in Juniper West that will:
*have less impact on the housing market, costs in terms of maintenance and upgrades needed for Ralph Bell
*allow daycares to still serve their communities. I have been notified by the daycares that serve children in need of before/after school care in Juniper may not have the ability to deliver children to 2 different schools so far apart from each other. In an already challenging time with Daycare, this is a HUGE concern.

 

Jessy S.

Many points have been raised by members of this community in regards to the catchment boundaries being proposed for September 2022. Our family moved to Kamloops in 2017 and we picked the community of Juniper for many reasons, one being the fantastic reputation of its school and teachers. Since that time, we have seen the growth in the neighborhood and understand the constraints on the current school. However, the proposal being put forward for the 2022 school year seems harsh and punitive to those families and children that have chosen Juniper as their home. Some of the concerns I have are:
1.      Moving/Closing three preschool facilities when working parents are already struggling to find child-care and after school care for their children.
2.      Will there be future plans to open a school in Juniper West? If so, then what would happen to Ralph Bell? If the population would not support this elementary school and it would be closed, then are we just spending public funds for a temporary/band aide solution?
3.      Staff and culture of Ralph Bell. What would be the plan for staffing at the school? Would teachers from Marion Schilling and Juniper be moved or would new teachers be hired? Have teachers and principals been given the opportunity to voice their opinions and offer up alternative solutions? It will take some time for the new group of staff and principal to develop the culture for this newly re-opened school and the fear would be that students suffer during that transitional period.
As you can see there are more questions than answers and rather than having one sweeping solution, alternatives should be explored and debated in order to find resolutions that take into account the best interest of our children and have the least impact on the communities that these schools serve. It is also very surprising that this is only coming forward now for community consultation as the time horizon is quite short for funding and planning.

Poonam G.
I have some great concerns regarding this catchment change. We specifically moved to Juniper so our children could attend this school and to be part of this wonderful community.
Juniper is a very close knit community and sending kids down to Ralph Bell would completely separate them. There are lots of children who have friends on Juniper East and vice versa. The children have well established friendships and relationships with teachers at the school. There will be a lot of devastated children which is also a concern as a parent regarding their mental health and well being.
From a mental health perspective, has the district considered the fact that we are in a worldwide  pandemic still and there does not seem to be an end in site. In 2020, children were being homeschooled from spring break onward. They were very happy to be back in September of 2020. If the dust settles with Covid come September 2022, we as parents have to communicate another change which is a huge one for our children. After all the restrictions and changes being expected from them and the community at large, switching schools will create more instability and stress for these kids.
Another concern is the motels and inns that are located directly behind the school. It is very clear that the population of people that frequent these places are transient people, IV drug users, sex trade workers, and the homeless. As a parent, I am definitely not comfortable sending my kids to a school where this type activity is going on. Also, the crime activity in  and around Valleyview is quite high compared our Juniper Ridge neighbourhood.
I would be happier to consider Ralph Bell being a 6/7 school. This way our neighbourhood is not divided and the children of this community can still go to school with their friends.
I just can't see any benefit from our children being taken out of their community and moved to a different neighbourhood where they will be attending a school that will still be well over capacity!
Merissa N.
I am a parent of a K student this year that moved to Juniper (in Juniper west) for the terrific school and community.  I have concerns:
1. About splitting the community and my son from friends if he were to be bused to Ralph Bell. Especially after the pandemic uncertainties.
2. The upgrades needed for Ralph Bell.  We have put a lot of time and money into JRES and it is infuriating to see it taken away from our kids. They should not be downgraded and lose what the JRES PAC has worked so hard for!
3. Why is a middle school not being considered!? The K-5 should remain in Juniper and the older elementary students, who are all ready preparing to bus down for VVS can go to Ralph Bell.
4. I have childcare here in Juniper that is in the proposed JRES catchment. If my son needs childcare and she can not pick him up in Valleyview as she has children from JRES then he will need to stay in Juniper. What are the options here? (See 9 above)

Like many other parents I think there needs to be some more options for alleviating over crowding in our schools. Please reconsider splitting up our younger primary community and look at options for the older students.
Ashlee G.
I moved to Juniper Ridge West knowing that my now 5 year old would be attending Juniper Ridge elementary school with family already working at the school we knew first hand how excellent the education is in this outstanding neighborhood.
The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have me concerned for multiple reasons:
1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (see 7 above)
2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill. I feel like Ralph Bell being utilized as a middle school would be great for this whole community
3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.
Nicole H.
My daughter has attended juniper since kindergarten and has only known that school. We purchased our home so we could send her to this school and raise her in the community we bought in. If the change goes through will children already attending Juniper be grandfathered in and allowed to stay? (See 9 above)
Amanda 
I just want to say that I am all for the changes and reopening Ralph bell school. Juniper Elem. Is bursting at the seems. Moving some children down the hill will allow every child more opportunities and growth, as well as more time in the library and gym. I know there are a lot of emotional parents over this issue, but ultimately the children's education is what matters.
Jennifer D.
I was wondering what reasons were at play in considering opening Ralph Bell as an Additional Elementary and not as a grade 5-7 or grade 6-7 school? What does the research say regarding if learning is better in a k-7 environment or a smaller age cohort of learners?
AM
I am opposed to the catchment changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary.

1) Friends will be separated from each other.  Students at the school have friendships from all areas of the neighbourhood.  By removing students from Juniper West you will be splitting up friendships that students have worked hard to build.  While some may be able to easily adjust and make new friendships, others will find this extremely upsetting and challenging and cause more stress in a time that is already stressful for many.

2) You will possibly be moving special needs students and families who have worked closely with staff to create programs and make connections that are important to their learning and development.

3) By drawing the line at Galore you will be removing students from a school they have been at for a number of years (some possibly up to 5 years or more) and allowing families in the new Trailside development who have not even built their homes yet to register their children in JRES.

4) While there are great teachers at every school it is not just the teachers that make the school, it is the community.  The community has worked hard to make JRES the school that it is.  Students who are forced to leave will be losing out on the resources and opportunities their families and the community have worked hard to provide for the students at JRES.

5) There is a lot of focus on the social emotional needs of students in the current curriculum, and training that teachers are receiving and focusing on.  The teachers work hard to build connections with students. By removing students from their community and school we are ignoring these needs and the connections that are so important to their learning.

I understand that JRES is over capacity but removing students from their community to another school that will be over capacity is not the answer.  A 5-7 or 6/7 school for the 2 schools (JRES & MS) would allow students to keep their connections to their friends, teachers,  and community.
 Adrienne Y
 As a Juniper Ridge parent, I support the opening of Ralph Bell. The growth in our community has been huge. Having overcrowded schools with an empty school nearby doesn't seem like the best use of resources.  Thanks for all your hard work and consideration.
 Laura P
We moved to Juniper Ridge West 6 years ago knowing that the elementary school was excellent and that our children would receive excellent education in this outstanding neighborhood.

The reopening of Ralph Bell and proposed catchment changes have us concerned for multiple reasons:

1) how will this older school compare to the existing Juniper Ridge Elementary? What upgrades are available in the budget? Maintenance fees? I’m worried my kids are being “down-graded” with an unavailable budget to improve Ralph Bell. (see 7 above)

2) how/when will it officially be announced it will be a K-7 school? (See 5 above) Is a middle school being considered? I would feel more comfortable with older kids taking a bus down that hill.

3) would it be possible to consider updating/expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget proposed to re-open Ralph Bell. This would allow Juniper East and Juniper west kids to remain together. I’m extremely concerned that by separating the West from the East you are creating a segregation in this community which is currently very connected. I worry about my kids handling this change and having to attend a school away from many of their friends. This devastating impact after just going through a pandemic is disheartening.

4) we bought here planning on walking to and from school. That will no longer be an option for us. Our kids will be in kindergarten and grade 2 if this all goes through. Not ages I would feel comfortable on a school bus or at a school that back onto drug hotels.
The area in which the school is located is disturbing.
Thank you for listening to my concerns.
Danya L
Absolutely a must! Juniper is so packed in there, our students miss out on so much programming. My kids get actual physical education 1 day out of 2 weeks and go on BOKS walks or do videos in class the other days. They don’t learn volleyball, basketball, soccer any other games they should be. They’ve been playing dodgeball if anything, totally unacceptable and they’ll never make any high school teams because of it. This is so poor. They have no music program let alone band or choir. There is no room and no time. Whatever compilation of students to move that works, must be done. Gr. 6&7 from east catchments makes a lot of sense due to small school and rather than breaking up neighbourhoods but something has to happen to relieve the pressure. It should be done next September, but if not January at the latest, not September 2022.
Pamela F.
I am a resident of Juniper Ridge with a child due to start elementary school in September 2022. My husband and I moved to the area in 2019. Our son’s education is our main priority. Therefore when we relocated to Kamloops we did our research and chose to buy a property as close to the school in Juniper as we could.
We are however concerned that the school is currently over capacity and how this will effect the education of the children if this continues over time. As a Registered Clinical Counsellor who works primarily with children I am concerned how the children will get their individual needs met during school hours with the current teacher to student ratio. In my professional role I see how children are struggling with their mental health during this pandemic and we often suggest they share their feelings with their teachers. If the teachers availability is effected by the overcapacity of the school then this is a big issue that needs to be resolved.
I understand that it is a difficult decision to find the best solution to this problem and thus why the opening of the Ralph Bell school and changes to catchment boundaries has been proposed.
All I ask is that the final decision is solely based on what is best for the children’s education and mental health. If that can be improved by making any changes then I believe those changes should be made.
Heather S.

I am writing with respect to the proposed school catchment area change for the students of Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary, and the reopening of Ralph Bell Elementary. (Link to Letter)

Part 2...

A member of the school board has been quoted as saying "If we do open it, all we’re doing is sharing the pain.” I'm having trouble understanding why a decision that will most certain cause pain and disruption to children's lives is being used as a band aid solution. Perhaps we should be giving kids as much stability and community as possible until a proper solution can be implemented, especially on the heels on a pandemic.
Is it possible to consider expanding or upgraping Juniper Ridge Elementary with the budget allocated to the reopening of Ralph Bell? Could priority be placed on building a school in Juniper West? Another solution would be to reopen Ralph Bell as a middle school and avoid splitting up existing friendships.
I think we can all agree that while something needs to be done with respect to the over capacity of Juniper Ridge, however, changing the catchment area of Juniper Ridge and sending a small portion of the community down the hill to a reopened Ralph Bell is not in our children's best interest.

Part 3...

When my family and I moved to Kamloops almost 2 years ago, we specifically picked Juniper Ridge for the school that we wanted our girls to attend. It was hard enough having to start over at a new school for my oldest daughter (who was entering Grade 1 at the time), then throw in a pandemic and the isolation that came along with that, needless to say it has not been the easiest transition. I can’t imagine having to start over again at a new school after finally starting to settle in at Juniper Ridge Elementary.
I am not naive in the fact that something needs to be done, however, I don't believe splitting up a community and friendships that have been made (and maintained during a pandemic) is the right answer. In the short time that we have been in Juniper RIdge, it has become quite clear that this is a neighbourhood that prides itself on community. The proposed catchment area change would be essentially segregating a small portion of the community.
I have read over the projected enrollment numbers published by SD73 for the three schools involved in this catchment change, and should this change proceed as proposed, Ralph Bell would be the school most over capacity after this change. This would mean the children involved have to leave their schools and neighbourhoods and relocate to a school that would be the most over capacity of the three schools involved. This does not seem like a fair solution. Additionally, the area where Ralph Bell is located is frequently in the news for crime, drug use, and issues with homelessness, a less than ideal location that I for one am not comfortable sending my young children to. To put it bluntly, if I wanted my children to attend school in Valleyview, I would have bought a home in Valleyview.

JF

1)What upgrades are available in the budget? would the upgrades include resources and special education materials for students with special needs, including a sensory room comparable to Juniper Ridge Elementary? (see 7 above)

2)What can you say to reassure families who have children with special needs that attend Juniper Ridge Elementary that will have to transition so unexpectedly to a new school?
these families have worked closely with staff and an Inclusive Education team to create programs and make connections that are imperative to their social, emotional, and academic growth. Have you considered how difficult this transition will be for families who have children with special needs or diverse learning needs?

3)It is apparent that the school is not in a safe and very busy location. Will there be additional supervision during drop-off/pick-up, recess and lunch hours to keep our children safe? I know many families who are concerned about sending their kindergarten students down the hill on a bus, knowing that more supervision would be in place may ease some anxiety. What can you say to families with children who have special needs or delays who are not mature enough to take the bus? many families will now have to travel further to drop their children off at school.(see 8 above)

4)Would it be possible to consider expanding Juniper Ridge Elementary? I'm extremely concerned that separating Juniper West from the East you are creating a separation in the community which is very concerning! I worry about how this will affect our children socially, emotionally, and academically.

5)Will current students attending Juniper Ridge Elementary be moved to Ralph Bell or is it only applicable to new registration in the catchment areas? Most families chose JRES because of the school. (see 12 above)

Jody H.

I have multiple concerns with my catchment changing to Ralph Bell.
1. This elementary school is located right next door to motels being used to house people who suffer from severe and persistent mental illnesses and people who are homeless and use injectable drugs. Needles have been found in the grounds area at Ralph bell during the time it’s been a daycare. Hepatitis C can live on surfaces for upwards of 7 days. Meaning, the live virus survives on needles and can be transmitted to any child who unknowingly and innocently picks up the needle. I’ve never in my life come across a district or municipality who would be comfortable with an elementary school in this type of location. At this point, we would be better off with any of the schools on the north shore because at least the grounds wouldn’t be riddled with infectious viruses. Not to mention the fact that the exposure to the needles is just one potential consequence of this location, there could be many more. I foresee this location exposing the children to aspects of an incredibly mentally ill lifestyle, to comments, to even potential abductions. It would be highly unusual for any city to house criminals in a halfway house adjacent to an elementary school. Are we as a community invested in protecting the lives of our little ones? Or, is Kamloops saying to parents: you’re on your own to protect your child.

2. The state of the building. Apparently the building is riddled with asbestos. We moved to juniper to live in new construction and protect our children from the harmful aspects of older building materials. What has been done to ensure the building is safe? (see 
3. A school has been in the community plan. WhTs the delay? Certainly the need is imminent. If a house can be built in 6 months, a school can be built in a year.

Overall, I’m very disappointed that this would even be contemplated as an option.

Corinn B

Although our youngest child will be gone from Juniper next year, I acknowledge that a change is desperately needed.  JRES is busting at the seams.   I think the JRES/MS elementary split is a very good plan and no matter what the change, some people will be upset. 

I was discussing the change with my kids.  My kids thought that a JRES (K-3) and MS (4-7) split would make a lot of sense.  It would keep the cohorts together and the concerns over small kids/motels by MS would be addressed by having the older kids there.  Both schools would be fit for elementary school kids (unlike the make MS a middle school which would require massive structural changes).  My daughters also thought that it would benefit the sports teams. 

Wondering if this split was considered between the two elementary schools?

Carol A

I strongly oppose the current plan to send kids from Juniper West down to Ralph Bell. Has anyone considered the option of making the newly opened Ralph Bell a French Immersion school? With the growing population of Kamloops, there needs to be more French Immersion options offered. When we moved to Kamloops 2 years ago, we considered sending our kids to South Sahali to attend the French Immersion program, but ultimately decided against it because of the distance from our home in Juniper Ridge (>15km) and lack of door to door school bus service. If there had been an option of a French Immersion school in Valleyview with school bus service from Juniper, we would have absolutely chosen this option for our kids. I think a lot of other families would also have opted in to a French Immersion school that is more accessible to kids in Juniper Ridge.  By making Ralph Bell French Immersion, parents would volunteer to send their kids there, which would alleviate some of the overcapacity of Juniper Ridge Elementary. I am shocked that in a city of this size, there isn’t even an option of late French Immersion anywhere in the city. Maybe Ralph Bell could be the first school to offer this.

Mark F.

I would like to start by agreeing with your decision to change the Juniper Ridge elementary catchment area. My wife and I moved as close to the school as possible so our 3 year old could go there when he is ready, the school is the primary reason we moved to Juniper Ridge. The suggestion of Ralph Bell be a middle school primarily voiced by residents of Juniper West are only thinking of themselves and not the school as a whole, moving schools is traumatic so having children do it one extra time is unnecessary. I feel any decision you make should only affect new enrolment and not have children that are already there having to move schools.
As all your signs state around the school it is a ‘no idle zone’ so surely the people who have the ability to walk there should be given priority over anyone that drives from the farthest distance away in Juniper. They have to drive anyway so why not drive down the hill, it’s probably on their way to work anyway.

CS

I disagree with the idea of Ralph Bell opening up as a K-7 school and bussing Juniper West kids, who are leaving their friends and close community feel. My biggest concern is bussing my Kindergarten child down to an area that already has so many concerns. We will also have to pay for before and after school care if we are sending our child down the hill. This is more money coming out of our pocket that we wouldn't have to do going to JRES. If my child was older (Grade 6 or 7), I wouldn't mind sending her down, as she will be transitioning to the high school down there in the near future. This is why I think Ralph Bell would be better off as a Grade 6/7 (or even 5-7), intermediate school. She is old enough to understand safety and making proper choices.

I am leaving this message as short and sweet-- I do not want to see Ralph Bell as a K-7 school. Please consider a Grade 5-7 school, or reconsider not taking the Juniper West children away from their own community.

Karen H.

I understand that the current proposal calls for catchment changes to have K-7 schools at both Juniper and Ralph locations. My question is, many people are requesting a 6-7 or 5-7 school at Ralph Bell and younger students all remaining at Juniper. Would this be a consideration and if so, would individuals being given time to voice opposition or support before a decision was made?

Brian G

One of the frequently asked questions is about school being kept clean from needles and transient people. The reply is “each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of the day…”, what is this, school staff members and/or increase police presence? How can this team really look thru the entire site to ensure its clean/safe? Is there going to be a check before school breaks? Are we going to rely on a teacher asking people to leave the area?
Project enrolment chart shows the school will be over capacity on day 1. With SD73/governments lack of foresight to be able to plan and execute new schools, what is the 5-10 year plan to correct the overcrowding of these schools? For Day 1, will there be portables, or will classrooms be over filled? What is the planned number of students per classroom?
Valleyview road traffic has increased a lot since Ralph Bell (RB) was last open and will continue to increase each year. With just the daycare you can already see there is a problem with the current design. What is the plan for safe pickup/dropoff not just for the kids but for traffic?
Alot of money has been donated by the community of JR for the current school. This money was used to purchase item for this school with the donors knowing that their child will be using these items. Those children are now being sent to a different school, how should this be addressed. If a teach has those items in their classroom and choose to relocate to RB, will those items be allowed to go with them?
Are teachers in JR being given the option to change schools without any penalties if they are to switch? Are the JR teachers given the first opportunity to go to RB? (see 13 above)
The forecasted money for renovation to RB, what are the planned renovations? (see 7 above)
The meeting on May 5th, what is the SD73 talking points going to be? Would like to understand these items before the meeting, as this may bring up more questions or comments.

Laura P.

After reviewing the information on the proposed division of the Juniper school catchment area, and trying to understand the cost/benefit analysis that presumably precluded it, we are vehemently opposed to the plan for many reasons that we cannot put into 2000 Characters. Naturally, other people may agree or disagree in varied measure to these and more, but from our discussions with other potentially affected neighbours in the area, these concerns (and frustrations) are widely and strongly held. We assume – hopefully correctly – that the School District will treat the collective concerns with the gravitas they deserve; it would be a shame if public consultation were simply a box to tick prior to declaring a foregone conclusion.  We trust that the breadth and depth of the opposition to the proposed plan will not be ignored and that there exists sufficient empathy and initiative to arrive at an alternative solution to the problem that faces both parents and the School District, as partners in the community.

CS

We moved to Juniper for the tight-knit community that it offers and the thought of our children being removed from JRES is very upsetting. Our oldest child struggles daily with anxiety and I know that detaching him from his current school and friends would be extremely detrimental. Our youngest is starting kindergarten at JRES this September and I can only hope that she isn’t forced to move schools after building a sense of community and creating strong bonds with her peers & teachers. Considering the negative impact that Covid 19 has already had on mental health & well-being, I urge you not to pull existing students from their community schools. The students deserve a sense of security and after this past year it would be greatly unfair to uproot them.        

Kristyne d.

Please see attached letter outlining my concerns regarding the Juniper Ridge/Marion Schilling Catchment Boundary Change. (PDF of Letter)

Toni T.

As residents of the Juniper West community and family that currently attends Juniper Ridge Elementary School, I am writing today to voice our concerns of the proposed catchment changes.
We, like most families in this community, chose to be in a neighborhood to provide our children with the opportunity to build lifelong, community-based friendships and to attend their neighborhood school through their elementary years.
While I do agree that our schools are overwhelmed and bursting at the seams, I do not agree with the changes as they are currently proposed. What we need is a solution to ensure the longevity of the growth of the region and to support our children and their learning environments equally and fairly.
•       What kind of sense of community are we instilling in our children by separating them by geographical region?
•       Will the supplies and equipment for the school and classrooms provided be the recycled, overused remnants from the school district community or new? (see 7 above)
•       Are other alternatives being considered: Ralph Bell being reopened as a middle school in alignment with the North Shore communities?
•       How is this short-term solution going to positively impact long term change in our growing communities? Upon reviewing the Long-Range Facility Plan, new schools are years away from being built.
•       What learning assistance support will be provided? My son has attended the reading support group for the last 2 years. Already facing learning challenges, he will now be moved to a new location, with new teachers and their different teaching styles and will now add a new worry of building trust & new relationships if this support is even available.

I implore all those within the School Board/District No 73 with voting rights to please listen to the voices and suggestions from the communities that this change is directly impacting.

I asked both our sons who attend JRES what they think of these proposed changes, here are their responses:
Question:  What do you think of the s

Tiffany C.

- Galore Drive is not an existing street in Kamloops. (correction, see 4 above)

- This is not an adequate response: "What measures will be taken to ensure the school is kept clean and needle-free, and the children safe?
Each school has an approved supervision plan prior to the start of school to ensure adequate supervision is provided during the school day.  Adjustments are made throughout the year to ensure the supervision plan is meeting the needs of the school."

You are going to have to do a lot better than "approved supervision plan" when you are talking about kindergarteners  being a stones throw away from known meth labs, needles and loaded guns (just to name a few).

- Why is the school district being so dismissive about turning Ralph Bell into a middle school?

- According to you own numbers, this is not a solution, it is a TEMPORARY fix that doesn't address the fact that the infrastructure is not sufficient for the current population in the neighbourhood.

- Why is the City of Kamloops still issuing building permits and allowing future development when the current infrastructure is INSUFFICIENT?

- Have you considered the mental health of the children being affected by this?

- What is being done about the children who do not reside in this community, but attend Juniper Ridge Elementary School?

To say that I am disappointed with the school districts plan would be an understatement. I have lived in my home for 11 years, paying property taxes for 11 years and members of an amazing community for 11 years and we are being told that our child is no longer able to be a member of this community's neighbourhood school.

I understand that this public consultation period is a requirement, but I NEED you to truly hear us and listen to our concerns. Please do not dismiss our pleas, we don't want our young children bused out of our neighbourhood to go to school.

Laurie T.

Although I am pleased another school will be put in to utilization to aid with the rising communal population of West Juniper. I would like to be put on record that I am concerned with current students attending Marion Schilling.  More to the point I am concerned about those students, upon the proposed opening date of Sept 2022, who will be entering their final year at Marion Schilling. My youngest has attended the school since kindergarten and I feel moving her and her fellow students at this stage would be, for lack of a better word, pointless as they would be entering grade eight in the 2023/2024 school year. I am imploring you to let these students, at the very least finish out their attendance at Marion Schilling since they have been already registered.

I appreciate your time and understanding of my concern and hope this issue is taken into consideration when reconfiguring the catchment areas in question.

Raj and Preet D.

As a tax payer and resident of Juniper Ridge, I am writing to express my deep concerns and opposition to the proposed changes in catchment area for Juniper Ridge Elementary School.

This letter outlines my firm opposition and concerns, which are shared by many in the Juniper Ridge community.

Amy B. 

Good evening Minister Whiteside,

I hope this email finds you safe and healthy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

I am writing to express my disappointment to learn about the proposed catchment boundary changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary Schools in Kamloops, British Columbia. The attached letter outlines my firm opposition to these proposed changes that impact the close-knit Juniper Ridge community.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. (Letter attached)

 Graham K.
 I do not support the catchment changes as proposed.  Please view my attached letter outlining my concerns with the proposed  changes, as well as my recommendations for a viable alternate temporary solution to alleviate the rising enrollment pressures. (Letter attached)
 Joel & Jennifer H.
Please see the attached letter regarding our opposition to the proposed catchment changes for Juniper Ridge Elementary School and Marion Schilling. (Letter attached)
Petition: Kids First! Say No To Proposed catchment Changes for ... Schools. (signed by 141 as of May 12, 2021)

The Kamloops-Thomson School District (SD73) is proposing to change the catchment boundaries for Juniper Ridge Elementary School (JRES) and Marion Schilling Elementary School. As part of this proposed change school age children in Juniper West would be removed from JRES and diverted to Ralph Bell Elementary in Valleyview. Children from Kindergarten to Grade 7 and as young as 4 years old would be transported out of their neighbourhood and away from their beloved community school, peers and teachers. We, the undersigned are firmly opposed to this proposed change for many reasons:

1. The proposed changes would impose a huge divide in our close-knit neighbourhood and remove access to a local community school for many children. One of the main reasons parents chose to live and raise our families in this community was to have our children attend JRES. The benefits of attending a community school are well studied and documented.

2. The proposed change would have major impacts on our children’s well-being, social development, health, and community connection, which have already suffered through the covid-19 global pandemic.

3. The marginal effect of spreading overcrowding to more schools by reopening Ralph Bell is overshadowed by the impacts and complete absence of benefits to affected families in Juniper Ridge. Our children would make up the majority of those impacted and would be paying too high a price if SD73 approves the proposed change in catchment. Affected Juniper Ridge children would lose their community school, be forced to commute, and would attend the most overcrowded school (Ralph Bell) according to SD73 projections.

4. The proposed changes would have immense negative impacts on access to daycare and before and after school care. The changes would displace approximately 8% of all licensed childcare spaces in Kamloops comprising three licensed facilities that currently occupy the Ralph Bell location and serve the broader community. This would worsen an existing crisis for many families desperate for limited childcare spaces.

5. There are real safety concerns about our younger children attending school in the proposed location of Ralph Bell. This is an area with significantly higher crime levels, right beside low-budget motels frequently featured in media for criminal activity and open drug use.

6. There are more effective and more respectful options to address the overcrowding challenges that recognize the importance of community design, our children’s well-being, the value of attending community schools and the precious interdependencies and relationships within our neighbourhoods.

This proposed change in catchment is a band-aid solution that will not solve the capacity challenges facing our schools. Meghan Wade, the Board of Education’s Vice-Chair, was quoted saying “…if we do open [Ralph Bell], all we’re doing is sharing the pain” (Kamloops This Week, April 19, 2021). We demand that SD73 find a solution that minimizes impacts and avoids creating additional problems. Let’s pursue solutions that give our children as much stability and community as possible!

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