Special Report: Education

Parkview and Early School Leaving

Stop the school closures to allow due process within a democratic society and find a suitable building for Parkview, the specialized programs and students.

By Cheryl Hobbins
Published March 26, 2014

The extended quote below is taken from a report done back in 2005 on early school leaving, prepared by Community Health Systems Resource Group at the Hospital for Sick Children for the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, Special Education Branch:

Early school leaving also involves youth outside of those identified by high risk factors such as race and class, and studies focusing only on these variables may overlook the complex interconnections which can lead to premature school withdrawal.

Changes at the level of the school and community can result in positive outcomes in school retention and success. Schools must develop innovative ways of assisting youth in developing and enhancing the skills they need to succeed both in school and in life.

Students thrive when there is a proper fit between school climate and their developmental and academic needs. They respond to teaching styles that support their involvement and participation in learning and recognize popular culture and they thrive in environments that encourage and apply innovations in teaching and student interaction.

Early school leaving is a multidimensional and long-term process that can be different for different groups of students. Understanding the complexities related to early school leaving is essential in order to modify existing school programs and to create effective practices for increasing graduation rates and reducing early leaving rates.

Educators and policymakers must understand the complexity of these root causes before they can design effective strategies and programs that will transform schools into environments where all youth have equal access to a diploma.

The statements reflect a vision of Parkview Secondary School, a unique constitution over the years for students with complex mental health needs. The image demonstrated with pure dedication and perseverance to students' unique strengths, connected with the personal challenges that arise within an educational environment.

Parkview is a solid yet flexible model of standard for specialized programs, together with a solid foundation that has materialized over many years.

The Principal, in partnership with qualified teachers, educational assistance, support and staff, is able to identify and attend to an educational disparity that would attribute to the inequality for many with exceptionalities in a regular school structure.

The bricks and mortar structure itself has been intentionally neglected over time, dismal, compared to the extraordinary quality of Parkview's residents and valued traits that make up the inner framework.

There is nothing routine or tedious beyond the large blue doors where every student is recognized and part of something much bigger than a $34 million office complex. It is a testament to the research summary: "That a student thrives when there's a proper fit between school climate and their developmental and academic needs".

The writing is on the wall.

To follow a system baseline that continues to validate success solely on statistics does not understand the complexities of the individual student enrolled at Parkview. The unique challenge and strengths identified must be time honored for every individual student in attendance.

There is no value in policies and regulations that only create invisible barriers for students with varied emotional, behavioral and physical challenges. Based on numbers and a timeframe, that creates nothing more than a path to nowhere beyond Parkview's front door.

The pressure to evaluate and measure individual success with time is a prejudiced demand to learn within a four-year period as policy states: a condition of inferiority and not of appropriate accommodation.

Parkview must be granted a moratorium on closure. It needs a fate worthy of a structure that is identified as a vital part of a separate educational service sector, responsible for the student unable to function within a regular school setting.

Until the decision makers begin to acknowledge their own obstinate policy and regulation format, students with complex mental health needs will drop out of the education system and never return.

There is hope for the students only if Parkview survives. When policy is defined with good intention and without added condition, we may then see change unbiased and fair.

Stop the school closures to allow due process within a democratic society and find a suitable building for Parkview, the specialized programs and students.

Cheryl Hobbins lives in Hamilton with her family.

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By JMcgreal (registered) | Posted March 30, 2014 at 16:19:28

We must not give up on the right of our students.White our school trustees to stop the closure of Parkview .the trustees have to vote to reconsider their vote to close Parkview HWDSB should follow the lead London board (TVDSB) who recognized their students B.Davison "Vocational School of Excellence" Parkview Students/Parents challenge the Board to stop drinking the Kool-Aid of DR. John Malloy inclusive theory.

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