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Abbotsford parents riled by school district's cohort shuffle

Last Updated Sep 18, 2020 at 11:27 am PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

Abbotsford parents are reeling as the school district moves students and cohorts around

One parent says her daughter came home crying about 'reconfiguration period'

Three Abbotsford teachers have said they feel abandoned, betrayed and scared because of the shuffle

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — Abbotsford parents are reeling as the school district moves students and cohorts around in an effort to maximize class sizes.

One parent, Brenna Sigouin, said Friday her daughter came home crying the day before after finding out about the “reconfiguration period.”

Her daughter is in Grade 3 at King Traditional Elementary and didn’t understand why the Abbotsford School District is combining grades into split grade classes to fit in more students during what Sigouin called an already stressful school year because of the pandemic.

“Kids have been ripped out of their class and now some of them aren’t even in the same cohort, so they won’t even see each other throughout the year,” she said.

Three Abbotsford teachers have said they feel abandoned, betrayed, and scared because of the shuffle.

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The school district says combining grades into split-grade classes in response to enrollment is a standard best practice.

“In cases where enrollment is below projected, classes are reconfigured to provide appropriate support levels for students. Some classes are combined, and a teacher is reassigned to another school in the District,” says a statement from the Abbotsford School District.

“This reconfiguration period is not unusual in school districts across the country, and the process is considered a typical best practice to ensure schools are structured in a financially responsible way,” says the statement.

Sigouin said the move shows the district doesn’t have the best interest of students in mind.

“All these kids are mixing cohorts. Again, completely different cohorts. Not only that, there are some kids who are now the classes that have been broken up, and they’re not even in cohorts with kids in their grade.”

Meanwhile, Sigouin wonders where money allocated to school districts to help cope with COVID-19 is being spent.

“There’s no, you know, the janitors, there’s no extra cleaning. There are no extra people being hired. It’s just mind-boggling to me. These cuts are all being made not in the best interest of our kids and there’s nothing being shown for it.”

-with files from Ash Kelly and Dean Recksiedler