Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Some schools just prefer to be left alone
I watched quite the nifty DVD the other day and then talked at length to the parent who’d sent it, the short documentary extolling the benefits that her child and other kids had gained from enrolling in the Laureate Academy.
The mother wanted a feature article on the private school, currently located in St. Norbert after shifting around a bit over the years. She wanted the article to include an upcoming fundraiser for the school’s endowment fund, without which, she said, her family and others could not possibly afford the tuition.
The mother said that her child has special needs, which I certainly won’t challenge if that’s what the parents believe, but those are two words which I know from previous experience infuriate the administration at the Laureate Academy.
The Laureate Academy, like the majority of private schools, does not seek out media attention and has rejected coverage over the years. The exception was when St. James-Assiniboia School Division was terminating the academy’s lease at the empty Spring Valley Junior High, so that the school could be turned over to the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine to convert it into Ecole Romeo Dallaire.
Succinctly, and knowing that any of these syllables can evoke a strong reaction, let me venture cautiously to say that Laureate Academy specializes in educating children who learn better in quiet, small classrooms.
I advised the mom that before we’d even consider doing a story, she had to get the administration and a few more parents onside about talking to me.
Negative stories often come without input from administration or governance officials — the standard line that they refused to comment or didn’t return calls — but positive stories really don’t work with just one family talking about a school, and no involvement from the administration.
So I left it with the mom to pursue.
And in a flawless segue......
Another private school, and an anonymous parent emails to say that there is trouble at the school with an employee making inappropriate phone calls in the hearing of children, and handling private documents inappropriately, and that kids are somehow in danger when they’re standing in the bus loop in front of the school. And the parent provides the principal’s email, and has ignored my electronic replies asking for more details.
This may come as a shock to parents, but principals don’t usually name names and reveal to me every detail of personnel matters just because I ask.
There’s an out-of-province firm which wants me to promote a school art contest. You mailed your request to me on Oct. 23, and the covering letter within says that the deadline for schools to enter the art contest was Oct. 22.
And further to an item last week, the Manitoba School Boards Association says it has registered its domain name at www.mbschoolboards.ca.
If people sign on to the old www.mast.mb.ca for the former Manitoba Association of School Trustees, says Emesbaw, they’ll still be automatically directed for now to the new site.
And in breaking news......
I learned that Peter Correia, principal at Mulvey School, is now in charge of the highly popular inner city elementary schools soccer league.
The spring league, which has put hundreds of inner city boys and girls on soccer fields and provided them with equipment, jerseys, and transportation, was founded by Lionel Pang, then principal at Pinkham School but now principal at Principal Sparling School — which is not considered inner city, but would surely be a splendid addition to the league next spring.
And staying with soccer.......
I do my beep test this evening at U of M, which I must pass if I’m to go through the certification training to be an indoor soccer referee.
Back in May, I did the outdoor fitness test at U of M, which consists of seeing how far you can run in 12 minutes. I beat the 51-plus standard by about 500 meters.
But this one is beeping tough.......I’ve checked the web, and talked to my kids who did the beep tests in school and club sports.........In a beep test, you line up at a cone, there’s another cone at least 20 meters away, and at the sound of the beep you run to the other cone and turn, wait for the beep, then run back.
The beeps, of course, come faster and faster, and you have to reach the far cone before the beep. Both my kids pointed out that a quick touch and go is essential, no wide turns.
The Manitoba Soccer Association, in its infinite wisdom, won’t tell us ahead of time how many we need to do to be considered fit, but child the elder says that even the fittest athletes are really challenged to reach double digits.
More Telling Tales Out of School
More Telling Tales Out of School
(1 of 10 articles for this month)12/4/2013 3:42 PM 0
In keeping with my being ever helpful to the University of Winnipeg — OK, OK, except for those 219 times ...
About Nick Martin
Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.
He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.
Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.
Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.
Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.
Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.
Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.
A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.
Blogs that Nick Martin follows:
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