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‘Effectively Canceled’: MBNS parents appeal district decision to convert school

Families who attend the Mill Bay Nature School are expressing some concern, after School District 79 announced it would be converting it to a K-2 satellite school for George Bonner Elementary. 

According to the Parent Advisory Committee, this would see their nature-based learning program effectively cancelled. 

Emily Jaimeson is a nature school parent, and she says the school is a “viable alternative to traditional schools for many families in the Cowichan region, especially children with neurodiversity, for which there is no other suitable option available.” 

The conversion would see teachers from the MBNS moved to other schools in the district. 

SD 79 cited population growth and a decline in enrollment at MBNS as the reason for the conversion. George Bonner will be reconfigured into an intermediate school of grades 3 to 7.

“Future students in K-2 at Mill Bay Nature School will have nature-based learning experiences,” said Jeff Rowan  Assistant Superintendent of Communications and Community Relations.

According to Rowan, the transition will take place in stages over the next three years and for the 2024-25 school year students at MBNS will have the choice of staying at the school, going to George Bonner or returning to their home catchment school.

The Parent Advisory Committee says in a release that they will formally appeal the “decision to end the program.”

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