Overbrook supports Rideau Community Hub Project

Over the last year, the Overbrook Community Association petitioned the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board aggressively to keep Rideau High School open, in order to provide a local educational option for our young people.

Working in joint partnership with the Vanier Community Association and Pro-Active Education for All Children’s Enrichment (PEACE), our organization formed the “Friends of Rideau High School” group to represent scores of community activists and the interests of thousands of neighbourhood residents to keep the school open.

With secondary school dropout rates higher in Vanier, Overbrook and Castle Heights than in other parts of the City of Ottawa, we believed that Rideau High School was absolutely essential for improving educational outcomes and increasing the life skills and opportunities of our youth.  Unfortunately, the School Board made the wrong decision when it voted to close the school since half the children in our area live below the poverty line in social housing.  Because of the school closure decision, racialized, Indigenous and immigrant youth in our neighbourhood are disproportionately suffering.

Our organization believes that a key contributor to our children’s social mobility is access to both quality local education and essential social services.  Though we would have preferred the school remain open, and pursued actions to have an administrative review of the decision conducted, we are now currently committed to the transformation of the property into a community hub.

A community hub can be a former school that offers co-located, coordinated and integrated services such as health care and social services. Community organizations, including our association, are committed to the vision of the Rideau High School property being retained in public hands and used for the delivery of public services.  A community hub would allow a number of agencies to provide social and cultural services to our neighbourhood, as well as contribute to economic development opportunities.

While community hubs are as unique as the community they serve, a key commonality is their concurrent ability to deliver both person and community-centered care. We therefore unequivocally support the efforts led by the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre to examine the feasibility of operating a community hub at the Rideau High School location. We acknowledge the fact that in lieu of an operating secondary public school, a community hub can contribute tremendous value to local residents, which can be measured and demonstrated in social and economic terms.  Our community looks forward to such  social and economic enhancements with the emergence of this community hub project.

Save our School Rally

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Parents, students, and supporters will rally on the lawn of the legislature on April 26 to tell the Ontario government to keep Rideau High School open.

Friends of Rideau High School are organizing busses to attend a rally at Queen’s Park on April 26th to demand a moratorium on school closures and need your help.

We need to raise money to ensure that our diverse student population, which includes Syrian refugees and many Indigenous students, can voice their opinions to decision-makers.

Please consider giving $5 or $10 to the cause!  It’s time to stop the madness that is destroying education, communities and our quality of life.

 

Parents call into question board’s process for accommodation review

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Ottawa Community News has published an article about Friends of Rideau High’s effort to petition the Ontario government about the flawed process concerning pupil accommodation review.

The article notes that Friends of Rideau High have launched a petition and a request to the province’s Ministry of Education, asking the ministry to review the school board’s process to decide to close the school.

The petition and request call upon the provincial Ministry of Education to order an administrative review of the board’s process following the decision to close Rideau High.

According to the ministry, when participants believe that the school board’s process did not comply with its Pupil Accommodation Review policy,they may submit a formal request to the ministry for an administrative review of the process.

The community’s reason behind the petition and the request is simple — the petitioners and others surrounding the school believe that the review process was flawed in a number of ways, including:

  • Limited scope
  • Ineffective consultation and outreach
  • Limited, faulty and, in some cases, missing information and analysis to inform consultation and decision-making

According to the president of the Overbrook Community Association, Rawlson King, the newly formed Friends of Rideau High School believes that the school should remain open to provide a local education option for youth in the neighbourhood.

“With secondary school dropout rates higher in Vanier, Overbrook and Castle Heights than in other parts of the city of Ottawa, along with high numbers of Syrian refugees and Indigenous youth attending the school, we believe Rideau High School is absolutely essential to improving educational outcomes and increasing the life skills and opportunities of our local youth,” King said.

The Friends of Rideau High School is a joint “social action” partnership between the Overbrook Community Association, the Vanier Community Association and the Pro-Active Education for All Children’s Enrichment (PEACE) organization, and represents scores of community activists, parents and students, along with thousands of concerned neighbourhood residents.

The group highlights the flaws by noting that feeder schools were excluded from the review,  and that other reasonable options were ignored.

King said the group’s analysis of the board’s process found that the board did not conduct a meaningful consultation, adding that at public meetings during the review, views, data and public concerns were excluded.

The group added the online consultation forum, which was described by the board as a “key method of consultation,” was ineffective for non-English-speaking parents and parents with no computers.

Save Rideau High

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The Friends of Rideau High School are petitioning the Ontario Ministry of Education for an Administrative Review of the accommodation review process undertaken by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for the following schools: Rideau High School, Gloucester High School and Colonel By Secondary School.

We are a community group that believes that Rideau High School should remain open to provide a local educational option for our young people. With secondary school dropout rates higher in Vanier, Overbrook and Castle Heights than in other parts of the City of Ottawa, we believe Rideau High School is absolutely essential to improving educational outcomes and increasing the life skills and opportunities of our youth

As petitioners, we believe that the review process that led to the recommended closure for Rideau High School in Ottawa was flawed due to it limited scope, ineffective consultation and outreach, and limited, faulty and, in some cases, missing information and analysis to inform consultation and decision-making.

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Download our Request for Administrative Review

 

Our analysis found that the Board did not conduct a meaningful consultation, as it did not provide fair and reasonable opportunities for substantive and public consideration of any option but the one recommended by Board Staff: to close Rideau High School.

Consequently, Friends of Rideau High School are advocating for the Ministry of Education to appoint an independent facilitator to review the Board’s accommodation review process.

The Friends of Rideau High School is a joint partnership between the Overbrook Community Association, the Vanier Community Association and Pro-Active Education for All Children’s Enrichment (PEACE) organization, and represents scores of community activists and thousands of neighbourhood residents.