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Extra-Curricular Activities in Saanich

Extra-Curricular Activities in Saanich
by Shelley Hardcastle - Thursday, 12 April 2012, 11:37 AM

Extra-Curricular Activities in Saanich

As always, we extend our appreciation to our teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and community partners who keep our schools alive with excitement through their voluntary work as coaches, managers, sponsors and organizers of extra-curricular events. As of the writing of this notice one example that comes to mind is the 30-team Rugby Scrum Fest that has teams from across BC, as well as Ontario, Alberta and Australia, competing in a friendly three-day tournament at Claremont. Normally, that is just one of dozens of spring events, sports seasons, performances and year-end activities that are underway from April to June.

However, as readers will know, this is not a normal year, with teachers’ opposition to Bill 22 having resulted in many teachers standing down from extra-curricular involvement. That stance may be strengthened through a province-wide vote being conducted by the BCTF of its members on April 17-18.

In Saanich, the status of Elementary extra-curricular activities for the spring is as follows:

For the remainder of this school year all Saanich teachers have decided to withdraw their voluntary participation in extra curricular activities at this time. Athletic activities such as cross country or track and field, as well as other extra curricular activities like drama or choir, will not take place.

It has been suggested that elementary administrators could have parent volunteers run extra curricular programs with administrators acting as sponsors for practices and events. Although administrators appreciate parents’ willingness to step forward, there are several factors that have led to a decision to not use these volunteers:

1. It would be difficult to get consistent qualifications of volunteers (skill set, experience with diverse groups of children, commitment to confidentiality).

2. It would be difficult to get the number of coaches necessary to effectively run these programs

3. It would be impossible for an administrator to be present at each practice and or event, making it difficult to ensure that School District expectations for student behaviour are met by all.

4. Liability issues arise when District personnel are not present.

We regret that elementary schools (and for the most part middle and secondary schools) will not be offering extra curricular opportunities for our students at this time. We understand the clear benefits to children from participating in these activities and look forward to these resuming, hopefully in the near future.