Letters from Organizations

Our Trustees are in a bind.  School Boards all over BC are chronically underfunded and under huge stress to submit a balanced budget.  Smaller districts like ours have less flexibility, viagra here and any cuts made must safeguard the best education outcomes for our children.

When private sector companies are forced to downsize, tablets their core service areas are the last to be cut.  In our case, dosage a ‘core service’ is anything which directly affects student learning.  When cuts are made, they must be shared effectively around the district, and all discretionary expenses examined.  Our children must not lose services to protect a top-heavy organization.

Given the City’s projected revitalization of the downtown core,  closing downtown schools makes little sense.  It is imperative to insulate the students, keep West Courtenay schools open and working, and not throw our essential resources away.  No single neighbourhood should be made responsible for the shortfall. 

The most viable option: put a full stop to spending until all budget options are evaluated, and a new Treasurer and Administrator are fully integrated.  We need to stabilize our community and avoid rushing into poor decisions out of a sense of panic.   In light of this, we present a list of ways to reduce the shortfall not yet discussed. 

With care, we can find ways to manage our resources and build new revenue partnerships.  To be fair, all of the options on the following list must be considered.  Parents, residents, elected officials all have a stake in these decisions being made in the public trust.   We must look to administrative and discretionary expenses to balance the 2016/17 budget.   

SD71 is facing difficult choices.  Like school boards all over BC, SD71 is chronically underfunded and under stress to submit a balanced budget.  There are limited options available and we want to work with SD71 to find the best solutions possible.  We all agree that any required cuts must allow SD71 to continue providing the best education programming possible now and into the future.   No single neighbourhood should be made responsible for the shortfall.

Mistakes are expensive.  It will be expensive to close Ecole Puntledge and move to a converted Lake Trail facility.  Lake Trail will also lose many of its best resources if it is converted to an elementary school.  We respectfully ask that alternatives be considered.  Similar budget savings can be achieved without rushing steps that may be difficult and expensive to undo.  We ask that SD71 keep Puntledge at Puntledge and take the 2016-2017 school year to consider possible alternative uses of Lake Trail (alternative programming, alternative calendars).  Taking time to consider options is the most prudent way forward.  We can save money now and explore opportunities to keep our best resources working.

The city is working to revitalize Courtenay’s downtown core.  Ecole Puntledge and Lake Trail are essential elements of a successful revitalization.  We are also reaching the end of declining SD71 enrolment.  Ecole Puntledge and Lake Trail will be needed.  However, it is not solely on SD71 to maintain these resources.  Schools belong to the community.  And with ownership comes responsibilities.  We, the community must support and contribute to our schools in this era of underfunded public education.  We ask for time to help and contribute.  Together we can find ways to manage our resources and build new financially beneficial partnerships.   Together we can make all our schools our best schools.

With care, we can find ways to manage our resources and build new revenue partnerships.  To be fair, all of the options on the following list must be considered.  Parents, residents, elected officials all have a stake in these decisions being made in the public trust.   We must look to administrative and discretionary expenses to balance the 2016/17 budget.
Putting your thoughts in writing is the best way to let your voice be heard. Diverse comments from parents, patient teachers, stomach
business owners and concerned residents will show our Trustees there is broad support for Keeping Puntledge at Puntledge.  Remember, doctor
this decision rests on a vote where we need 4 of 7 trustees convinced.

First, we offer you a template letter you can use as a base.  These download LINKS are for an editable Word or RTF document.  Edit, print, and send to the addresses on the CONTACT page.

At the bottom of this page is an ARCHIVE of many other example letters.

TEMPLATE LETTER [RTF]

TEMPLATE LETTER [WORD]

 

TEMPLATE LETTER:

TO:     School District 71 School Board Trustees

Tom Weber, Board Chair, Area B Lazo North
Janice Caton, Vice Chair, City of Courtenay
Cliff Boldt, City of Courtenay
Vickey Brown, Village of Cumberland
Peter Coleman, Town of Comox
Ian Hargreaves, Area C Puntledge / Black Creek
Sheila McDonnell, Area A Baynes Sound, Hornby and Denman

cc: Tom Demeo, Acting Superintendent

Re:     Proposed closure of Ecole Puntledge Park

Dear Trustees,

On March 15th, please vote no to a closure of Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary.  Moving Puntledge to Lake Trail would be an effective closure of both schools and a major loss of resources for SD71. Please keep Puntledge at Puntledge and use the 2016-2017 school year to explore alternative uses of Lake Trail.

Puntledge has successfully started generations of children on a positive educational path.  Please protect this unmatched opportunity for our future generations.

Lake Trail is well situated and equipped to work as a centrally-located hub for alternative K-12 education.  There is demand in the Comox Valley for alternative arts, technology, nature, and trades based programming.  The Lake Trail facility could remain as is – no expensive renos required – and serve as a small, community-based, alternative school.

It is important that we keep our best resources working now and into the future.  Please avoid expensive mistakes and take time to consider options open to SD71.

Please vote no to a closure of Puntledge on March 15th.

Respectfully,

To get you inspired, here are some of the hundreds of letters written so far.

 

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers to our PETITION site

 (to see all the comments, endocrinologist
click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their indviduality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay, Canada

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers to our PETITION site

 (to see all the comments, medical click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, link
I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, visit this site
and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their indviduality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay, Canada

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers to our PETITION site

 (to see all the comments, hair
click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, anorexia
I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their indviduality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay, Canada

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers on our PETITION website.

 (to see all the comments, sale
click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, drug
I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their individuality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers on our PETITION website.

 (to see all the comments, illness click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their indviduality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay, Canada

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

Letter from the Comox Valley Social Planning Society

 January 15, mind
2016

Dear Trustees,

 At the last regular monthly meeting of the Comox Valley Social Planning Society it was regularly moved, seconded and CARRIED that the Society write a letter to the School Board requesting that the Board postpone the decision to move Puntledge Park students into Lake Trail School. And, that it take another careful look at the negative impact this disruption will have on students throughout the School District, including the impact on Programs & physical space in Lake Trail School.

 The students at these two schools have a unique setting for learning when so many schools in Canada are trying to address the “nature deficit” of children in these electronic times.

 We heard from parents and a longtime community school administrator the importance of stability for these students. The City is working on a plan to revitalize the downtown core. What impact will the closing of the elementary school have on this revitalization? What will be the impact on Programs at Lake Trail?

The CVSPS respectfully requests that you delay this decision until next year.

Sincerely,
EM (Bunny) Shannon, President, CVSPS

Letter from Lush Valley Food Action Society

January 18th, 2016

Dear Superintendent Tom Demeo and Board of Trustees,

As a local non-profit focused on food security in the Comox Valley, we are writing to express our concern regarding the proposal to close the home economics kitchen at Lake Trail School to renovate as classrooms for incoming students from Puntledge Elementary.

LUSH Valley supports food-related projects that educate and empower people in the Comox Valley. Due to the rise of diet-related illnesses among children and youth, we have developed programs focused on improving eating behaviours among this important demographic. The primary goal of our youth-focused programming is to expand their relationship with healthy food and connect them with food systems in their community. We are currently planning on expanding these programs even further for 2016.

The kitchen at Lake Trail serves as an excellent teaching space for our Young Cooks Afterschool Program and as a preparation area for our Hot Meal Lunch Program where students have access to a weekly nutritious, locally sourced hot lunch. Both programs have been an incredible success with over 300 meals served in the Fall of 2015. At the end of each hands-on, experiential lesson we sit down and share a nutritious meal together. For many youth at Lake Trail, this is the only nutritious meal they get in the day. The meals are often served to those who come from economically disadvantaged families who may not otherwise have the means to provide regular nutritious meals at home, especially in light of rapidly rising food prices.

Our programs at Lake Trail not only foster practical food and cooking skills, but youth also build self-efficacy and self-esteem, while improving their social determinants of health. These programs in the kitchen provide an opportunity for social connectedness among peers and to develop relationships with positive role models in the community.

Lake Trail is recognized as being a community school and Lush Valley firmly believes that food is at the very center of community. Losing this kitchen space and subsequent programming for the Lake Trail community would be a huge loss for parents, teachers, citizens and our children. Not only do youth benefit from this space, but the community as a larger whole through public dinners and events.

In our experience with local kitchens, the facility at Lake Trail is a top notch learning and community space where people can learn about the power of good food. Keeping the kitchen fully operational ensures we can continue to provide access to healthy meals and hands-on learning through programming and community events.

Lush Valley believes no matter what happens with the movement of students, that the retention of the home economics kitchen is absolutely imperative for the future of food security in the Comox Valley. We strongly urge you to reconsider the closing of this incredible space.

Thank you,
The Board and Members of Lush Valley Food Action Society

Letter from Comox Valley Community Arts Council

January 14, 2016

Dear Trustees,

 In a motion carried unanimously at our meeting Jan. 12, 2016, the board of the Comox Valley Community Arts Council (CVCAC) requested this letter be written to you. The CVCAC exists to animate all the arts in the Comox Valley by acting as a resource for the arts community, informing the public about the arts, and celebrating the Comox Valley as an arts producing centre.

 As the Board of Education is facing provincial funding challenges and had indicated it is looking for a solution to alleviate a projected deficit, we hope you will consider options to preserve Lake Trail School as a valuable capital resource both to the community and the schools system in the Comox Valley.

 

Lake Trail is ideally located to act as an alternative community arts school. The facility, with its numerous amenities, could provide School District 71 with an excellent opportunity to offer dynamic alternative programs, such as Navigate Academy, in an accessible location where students can excel both artistically and academically. A centrally located public arts school could have great draw for families looking for alternative programming options.  The current Navigate location, 10 kilometres from Courtenay city centre and 15 km from Comox town centre, is likely now under-subscribed by potential participants, due to its distant location.

In addition, the Comox Valley currently suffers from a shortage of facilities to facilitate community arts programming and presentation. The metalwork shop, woodwork shop, computer rooms, home economics room, and science rooms could be utilized for arts programming and presentation through community partnerships. With careful consideration and planning, some of these rooms could help address the facilities gap that exists within the arts community in the Comox Valley, while providing an additional revenue stream for the School Board.

 Our organization is very interested in exploring possibilities for arts activities within the Lake Trail facilities, such as arts workshops, programming, meetings, presentations, and perhaps even gallery space.  And our Board is open to working with the school district to help implement partnerships within the arts. Other local arts organizations might well also be interested.  We have had already had positive feedback to this idea from Elevate Arts festival and Just in Time Choirs.

 While the District funding situation is a challenge, it is also an opportunity for innovation and leadership in the community in coming to a solution.  We encourage the Board of Education trustees to consider consultation with the arts community around the potential use of vacant space and amenities at Lake Trail, rather than retrofitting for another purpose and losing these valuable resources.

 We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

 Sincerely,
Bobby Herron
Vice President

On behalf of the CVCAC Board of Directors,
Dallas Stevenson
Executive Director
Comox Valley Community Arts Council

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