Help Us Save Louise Dean School
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Calgary Board of Education is planning to close the Louise Dean Centre, a school program for pregnant teens and young mothers, located in northwest Calgary.
For those who aren't familiar with the Centre, it currently has 47 students and has proven particularly successful, offering a unique educational environment that includes on-site child care, life skills programs, and other critical supports needed to help pregnant teenagers and young mothers graduate.
The CBE says that this closure is happening because of declining enrollment and that the program will continue as part of the Jack James High School in Forest Lawn in southeast Calgary.
But that's no consolation for the current students, and it remains to be seen whether the program remains successful once integrated with an existing school.
Programs like Louise Dean have been found to be successful in many school divisions, including Calgary's, precisely because of the customized experience they can offer, as well as the benefits from reduced bullying and harassment thanks to their separate nature.
Now, it certainly is true that enrollment numbers are dropping - thanks primarily to reduced rates of teen pregnancy in Alberta in recent years - but the rest of the CBE's arguments don't stack up.
Yes, Louise Dean is below Alberta Education’s 85% "utilization threshold" for enrollments, but many other schools are being even less utilized.
The Calgary Board of Education alone has 46 schools below a 70% utilization rate, so why is this one unique and successful school being targeted?
Or, perhaps the bigger question... why are those in charge of our kids' education more interested in "utilization rates" than in education outcomes?
Educators are constantly telling us that learning is not one-size-fits-all.
But, when they have a chance to prove that point, and put their (our!) money where their mouth is, they'd rather close schools offering something different.
We need more innovation in schools, not less.
Louise Dean must stay open.
This critically important program must not be relocated or shuttered.
We shouldn't make young women choose between their child and their education.
If the CBE isn't up to that job, then that's just even more evidence that our current school funding system is in dire need of reform, in favour of a system where funding follows the student to whatever school can best meet their needs.
If you agree, please sign our petition to Save Louise Dean School:
Once you've signed, please forward this email to your friends and fellow parents across Alberta so they can too.
Alberta Parents' Union