PCHS governing board fights to save school from rebranding

Parents from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School made an impassioned plea to school board officials not to rebrand their school

Pierrefonds Comprehensive High Schoo may be getting a name change after a planned merger with nearby Riverdale High School, which is being turned over to the West Island’s French school board. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette

Parents from Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School made an impassioned plea to school board officials not to rebrand their school in the wake of an impending merger with soon-to-be closed Riverdale High School.

Susan Brown, a parent of two boys at PCHS, told a Monday night meeting of the Lester B. Pearson School Board that simply changing the name of a school doesn’t necessarily make for a more welcoming environment when two schools are merged.

“Just changing the name doesn’t change peoples minds,” said Brown, who’s been a through merger before.

She said her children were transferred to Kingsdale Academy, a merged elementary school (formerly Greendale) in Pierrefonds after Thorndale Elementary closed three years ago.

While the staff and teachers at Kingsdale were welcoming and open-minded to new students and new ideas, she found the parents less so.

But Brown noted that PCHS, as is, offers a welcoming environment that would accommodate the awaited influx of students from Riverdale next fall.

”If they already have the idea of welcoming people, which PCHS does, then they’re open to the concept. And changing the name on top is irrelevant.”

As a member of the governing board at PCHS, Brown said she understands the need to make new students, and their parents, feel welcome. “I will make sure it is a welcoming environment for parents. Their ideas, their traditions. We’ll work together to make the best PCHS we can make.”

LBPSB chairman Noel Burke said the governing boards of both PCHS and Riverdale, which is working with a transition committee, would have input in the final decision whether to merge the two schools or not.

But some PCHS parents expressed doubts about the process, noting that the merger process was launched prematurely by the school board.

Juan Lamosa, chair of the PCHS governing board, was not pleased by what he heard at the school board meeting.

“They still have not answered the one question we asked: Why did we even have to start this process?”

As for the school board’s policy of rebranding schools under mergers, Lamosa said he is not convinced it is the best approach. “There is no evidence to that effect,” he said.

Reaction to the merger has been swift from the PCHS Governing Board, which passed a resolution Feb. 21 stating that it does not want to be rebranded under a shotgun merger.

The resolution states that the “PCHS deed of establishment remain as is, and that the process of welcoming, accommodating, accepting and honouring students the Riverdale community as part of the PCHS community continue through a transition committee.”

Brown said much of the improving academic reputation PCHS has earned in recent years would be lost in a rebranding merger. “Reputation is important. It’s how schools are able recruit new students.

“Taking that away means starting over again.”

Also contributing to the malaise was a letter sent to PCHS teachers which effectively spelled out that were to be reassigned teaching positions next fall under the merger.

“All regular teachers at Pierrefonds Comp. H.S. are receiving an identical letter.  This process is a technical requirement of the contract when one school is closed and merged with another,” the letter said.

PCHS principal Colleen Galley declined an interview request.

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Источник: Montrealgazette.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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