Joanne’s letter to trustees

Oct. 19, 2013

I am writing to urge you to reconsider the motion to NOT consider Connaught as a heritage school.

We know that Connaught is the oldest school in Regina.

Connaught School is a key component of the Cathedral neighbourhood. This is recognized by the School Board trustee from our area, who voted for heritage consideration.

It offends me that others from elsewhere are so willing to go against the clear and obvious expression of people from the community, to go in a different direction in spite of community members’ expressed willingness to put in the extra effort that is needed to maintain Connaught School. Don’t people from the community itself know best what is good for their own neighbourhood and community?

On the one hand, teachers are expected to not only teach but be aware and responsive to the family and community situation of their students. And the families and communities are expected to do the best to prepare children to participate fully in educational opportunities. On the other hand, when the School Board has a choice to make decisions that could positively impact a neighbourhood, keeping it livable and walkable and maintaining community values, such as Haultain School in the Eastview area, or maintaining Connaught School which is clearly desired by the Cathedral area community, suddenly the School Board says – “We are not responsible for those community issues – we are only concerned with education.”
Where is the teamwork and inter-sectoral analysis and collaboration that is talked about by leaders, administrators and professionals?

Learning is about the teachers who come prepared and willing to work with students. Connaught School has been a successful learning environment for 100 years. Go ahead and try other types of schools where new schools needs to be built. But why destroy something that has worked for so many years?

The decision about the condition of the building is being made with only the views of one engineering consultant. The School Board has refused to get other types of assessment done, even if Connaught School parents and community have offered to pay the costs of such an assessment. In this regard the School Board is not showing due diligence and is negligent in carrying out its financial responsibilities.

Heritage Canada has recognized the heritage value of Connaught School through adding it to its list of endangered buildings. Yet we locally cannot see its value?

Schools in Moose Jaw I have seen, and both of my elementary home schools in Winnipeg, (Wolseley and Laura Secord), have successfully maintained their heritage. I would like the same for the school that my children attended in Regina.

The knowledge about our history is not just contained in books – it is in art, and music, and multimedia resources, and in the buildings and natural spaces that surround us. Of course we will have new buildings and innovations in Regina and in Saskatchewan. But retaining our heritage reminds us about where we have come from and the core positive values that have built our communities.

Please reconsider and have Connaught School obtain heritage status.

Joanne Havelock
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