FH Collins must be rebuilt quickly, says council

The Yukon government must move quickly on plans to build a new school to replace FH Collins, says the council of Whitehorse’s oldest high…

The Yukon government must move quickly on plans to build a new school to replace FH Collins, says the council of Whitehorse’s oldest high school.

“I really don’t want this to turn into Whitehorse Correctional Centre, part two,” said parent Keith Halliday at a meeting Tuesday evening.

He was referring to plans to build a new prison, which have stretched out for more than a decade.

“I hope they actually build one while our kids are still of high school age,” said Halliday.

“We need to accelerate. Let’s get a plan for the school this year and build a school next year.”

Education Minister Patrick Rouble recently confirmed in the legislature that his government intends to replace FH Collins, which is five years past its intended life.

The parent council met to discuss a programming report, commissioned by the Education department at a cost of $200,000. The report was supposed to, among other things, identify what type of facilities a new school would need.

On this matter the report is vague, other than to say a new school should contain bigger trades shops, and that it not be build as a traditional “box.”

The report does make recommendations on programming, or activities within the school. But council members deemed it lacking in some important areas.

The school’s popular French immersion programs should continue, the report states. But this may require additional resources, as demand for the program grows, council members worry. These concerns are not addressed in the report.

French immersion students are expected to make up half the student body within several years.

The report emphasizes more help is needed for struggling students. But there’s little mention of the needs of gifted students, several council members noted.

The school once offered advanced placement subjects, such as calculus, said one councillor. This is no longer the case.

Recommendations to open up the Wood Street outdoor education and drama programs to more kids also met resistance from council.

Outdoor education requires students to be self-motivated, said Rob Florkiewicz. To open it up to all students would change the nature of the program, he said.

Teachers remain unhappy with a recommendation that all students graduate. This is unrealistic, said principal Darren Hays.

“We have students who, 20 or 30 years ago, would have been institutionalized,” said Hays.

Some children will never possess the academic ability to graduate, he said. Keeping these struggling children in school is not a permanent solution.

“Do you want a 29-year-old in a Grade 8 class?” he asked.

Currently, struggling children are funneled into classes that emphasize trades programs and eventually receive a “leaving-school certificate.”

This is not the same as a graduation diploma. Further courses are required before admittance to most college programs or university.

Not all parents of struggling children understand the difference between the Yukon’s leaving-school certificate and a school diploma, the report states.

The program at FH Collins for struggling kids, called Work Experience Life Skills, is ineffective and should be replaced with more one-on-one support for struggling kids, the report recommends.

Work Experience Life Skills has already been replaced with a modified program, said Hays.

Many recommendations in the report would cost a lot of money. It’s unclear how much additional money the Yukon government plans to give the school to fulfil these recommendations.

School counselling is one area that requires more staff, said council members.

The school of more than 600 students has two guidance counsellors.

“You get .3 per cent of a guidance counsellor,” said Halliday.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com.

Just Posted

The Yukon’s current outbreak of COVID-19 is driven by close contact between people at gatherings, such as graduation parties. (Black Press file)
Yukon logs 21 active cases as COVID-19 spreads through graduation parties

Anyone who attended a graduation party is being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Yukon RCMP and other emergency responders were on the scene of a collision at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway on June 12. (Black Press file)
June 12 collision sends several to hospital

The intersection at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway was closed… Continue reading

Artist Meshell Melvin examines her work mounted in the Yukon Arts Centre on June 7. The show includes over 1,000 individual portraits. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Double portrait show at the Yukon Arts Centre features art that looks back

“I hope they’ve been looked at fondly, and I’m hoping that fun looking comes back.”

Sarah Walz leads a softball training session in Dawson City. Photo submitted by Sport Yukon.
Girls and women are underserved in sport: Sport Yukon

Sport Yukon held a virtual event to celebrate and discuss girls and women in sport

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

Kluane Adamek, AFN Yukon’s regional chief, has signalled a postponement to a graduation ceremony scheduled for today due to COVID-19. She is seen here in her Whitehorse office on March 17. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
AFN Yukon’s post-secondary grad celebration postponed

The event scheduled for June 14 will be rescheduled when deemed safe

(Alexandra Newbould/Canadian Press)
In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on.
Terror charges laid against man accused in London attack against Muslim family

Liam Casey Canadian Press A vehicle attack against a Muslim family in… Continue reading

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, poses for a portrait in the boardroom outside his office in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Two cases of COVID-19 at Iqaluit school, 9 active in Nunavut

Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle… Continue reading

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

Letters to the editor.
This week’s mailbox: the impact of residential schools, Whitehorse Connects, wildfires

Dear Editor; Anguish – extreme pain, distress or anxiety. Justice – the… Continue reading

PROOF CEO Ben Sanders is seen with the PROOF team in Whitehorse. (Submitted)
Proof and Yukon Soaps listed as semifinalists for national award

The two companies were shortlisted from more than 400 nominated

Most Read