Newspaper story will discourage Glendale students

I am utterly appalled that a news story headlined Radical changes coming to school, which included a very damaging figure, was deemed worthy of the Advocate’s front page on March 12.

I am utterly appalled that a news story headlined Radical changes coming to school, which included a very damaging figure, was deemed worthy of the Advocate’s front page on March 12.

This article implies that a trend exists where only 46 per cent of all Glendale students will complete high school on time.

Firstly, this figure relates only to the 2002-2003 school year, as stated in superintendant Don Falk’s report, Back to the Future; yet, the Advocate published that this is true for all years.

To predict and insinuate that this is the success rate for all past, present and future school years is ludicrous. A trend study takes 10 years for it to be considered accurate and worthy, and publicizing this figure out of context publicly degrades and humiliates the students of Glendale Middle School.

These students face discrimination from other middle schools and high schools in Red Deer at present.

As a parent of past Glendale students, I have often heard and still hear today snide remarks such as, “You went to Glendale?”

This article does nothing but further their cause and perpetuates the existing degradation that north Red Deer students are presently handed.

Publicly announcing that 46 per cent of the present student body at Glendale will not complete high school on time is setting them up for failure, not to mention injuring self-esteem and self-confidence. The message has been sent to the students that they are expected to fail.

After reading the report prepared by Falk, if I were a parent of a present or future student of Glendale Middle School I would be asking these questions during these proposed informal discussions:

• Why are the students at Glendale achieving significantly lower on math and language arts achievement tests? There is no mention of the why in Falk’s report.

• The report states that 50 programs have been implemented to address the low student achievement. Perhaps you might question and ask for the specifics of these programs — names and length of implementation.

• Perhaps the reason why completion of high school is delayed deserves consideration. According to a study commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training Special Education Branch, school experiences are believed to have a significant effect on the health and behaviours of youth.

To the students of Glendale: Do not believe that you are a failure. There are many success stories that have come out of Glendale Middle School:

• Students who have achieved honour roll status for their entire four years of high school;

• Students who have received writing awards and sport awards;

• Students who have successfully auditioned for school choirs;

• Students who have been asked back to Glendale to tutor;

• Students who have gone on to college and university to pursue their chosen careers.

You are all capable. If you believe that you are a success story, you will be a success story.

Lynne Harris

Parent Advisory

and Liaison Society

Red Deer

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