Ontario Government to Support Rideau High School Community Hub

Ontario has selected four projects across the province that will receive support under a new program to help establish community hubs, offering a number of public services for local residents under one roof.

One of the projects selected includes establishing a hub at Rideau High School in Ottawa.Through the Surplus Property Transition Initiative (SPTI), the province will provide funding to cover property holding costs such as ongoing operating and maintenance costs for up to 18 months. During this time community groups will be able to find additional partners and develop long-term business plans to transition the properties to community hubs.

The proposed community hub at Rideau High School is a joint project between the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre and Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Rideau High School in Ottawa, which are focused on Indigenous and non-Indigenous services including: alternative secondary school, urban Indigenous healthy living, life-long care, programs such as those for homelessness and bail, community justice, healing and wellness, cultural resources, a food bank, Indigenous job fair, housing, HIV/AIDS awareness, employment and training, and Inuit supports for students and youth. Other community services will include: health, social, recreation, life-long learning, and community engagement services.

The government says that supporting community hubs is part of a plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.

QUICK FACTS

  • The Surplus Property Transition Initiative was announced by the Government of Ontario in May 2017 and started accepting applications in July 2017. This initiative is designed to provide more time for local communities to develop viable business plans and complete due diligence before transitioning surplus properties into community hubs.
  • While community hubs are locally-driven, the province’s role and objective is to make it easier for community partners to offer services that are integrated and coordinated, strengthening community partnerships and making the best use of public space.
  • CommunityHubsOntario.ca offers free resources on community hub development, including webinar training sessions, a community hub mapper and various other tools.
  • In 2017, Ontario released its second progress report on Community Hubs, describing the progress made since the release of the Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan.

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

sos-rally

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

rideau-high-school
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

save-rideau

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.

adobe_pdf_file_icon_32x32

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.