Large crowds turned up for the middle school consultation held at D.W. Poppy High School earlier this month. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Long-time D.W. Poppy teacher opposes possible middle school changes

A letter by science teacher Rory Allen was dissemenated at Peterson Elementary consultation

Langley School District’s latest middle school community consultation saw more parents, students, teachers, and even police show up.

Assistant superintendent Woody Bradford and communications manager Joanne Abshire led the meeting at Peterson Elementary School on Oct. 23, which included a special handout.

Various parents disseminated a letter written by a D.W. Poppy High School teacher Rory Allen entitled, Why D.W. Poppy Should Remain an 8-12 School.

In the typed letter, Allen, a science teacher for over 30 years at the school explained why he thinks Poppy should remain in its current Grades 8 through 12 configuration.

Allen refuted the basis of the three middle school options presented by the district for East Langley – to provide more opportunities for its students – in three claims:

1. There will not be more opportunities at Aldergrove Secondary if it absorbs Poppy students.

2. Students will not be connected to their “local and global community,” like the school district’s mission statement suggests.

3. The district is not considering the vast impact Poppy has on its students, the broader community, and its network of involved graduates.

As a volunteer school basketball coach, Allen said that if Poppy students are absorbed by Aldergrove Community Secondary School (ACSS) sports teams will be forced to “cut students from their rosters.”

The same goes for classes including metalwork, woodwork, and auto shop, he said.

“ACSS has the ACE-IT program… which leaves only half the teaching-blocks available for students who wish to explore.”

Allen added that the likelihood of students staying for extra-curricular activities after school at ACSS will be lessened due to its 13-kilometre distance from their current school.

And that he feels students who struggle with school success – including those in the school’s life skills and autism resource programs – should not have the added burden of making more transitions, Allen said.

Finally, the teacher lauded the school’s “unbelievably rich heritage,” and would be sad to see it come to an end.

“There’s a hundred guys who come back every year for the Greg Leino tournament,” Allen said, “which is now the largest privately funded scholarship in the district.”

The basketball tournament raises money for a post-secondary scholarship awarded to a Grade 12 student. Last year the group raised $2,900.

Allen graduated from ACSS in 1983 and expressed his respect for both schools.

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