Vancouver School Board adds more in-person class instruction after complaints from parents

·2 min read

The Vancouver School Board says changes are being made to secondary school schedules to increase in-person class time after parents questioned why high school students were getting fewer instructional hours than students in other districts.

On Wednesday night, the Vancouver School Board's student learning and well-being committee heard from parents.

Parent Nancy Small told the committee she feels her children are being short-changed and doesn't understand how the situation could be considered acceptable.

"Our Vancouver secondary students are receiving one-third of the amount of in-class time that other districts have," pointed out Small.

Those concerns are in addition to opinions from parents collected during a survey conducted by the school district from Nov. 25 to Dec. 6, 2020.

Small said she doesn't understand why the situation has gone on so long in Vancouver when other districts are providing more education during the pandemic.

"Kids across the board like mine are struggling academically with motivation, there is no social interaction, lack of direction, and too much screen time. My Grade 8 son who has just gone into high school is expected to self-direct and self-manage his own homework and his time."

Changes to school instruction

During the meeting, director of instruction Aaron Davis said the Vancouver School District has noticed a trend in student performance.

"One of things that was noticed with Grade 8s is [they] are performing slightly below the three-year average particularly in literacy and science."

Earlier this week, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said a review of Vancouver's instructional model, involving parents, students, Indigenous representatives and unions, was underway.

On Wednesday, associate superintendent with the Vancouver School District, Rob Schindel, announced that beginning on Feb. 4, there will be more instruction and more opportunities for interactive learning.

"We have been listening to students, families and staff, and we have been analyzing information about student attendance and achievement," said Schindel.

The VSB says the changes will allow all Grade 8 students to attend their remote class in person twice a week.

The board also announced that all high schools will go to a one-week rotation of remote and in-person classes and all students will have three interactive learning opportunities per week for remote classes.

Schindel said, "These changes ensure that health and safety remain our top priority for students and staff. The changes also reflect our commitment to student well-being, transparency, and data-driven decision-making."