The Vancouver School Board's District Learning Services has decided that GOLD Information Nights that traditionally were hosted at David Thompson and Prince of Wales in November and January will no longer occur. This decision was made to "bring the GOLD Programs in-line with the other District special programs."
Many of the currently enrolled GOLD students in both the DT and PW programs report that they "felt relief" and some "excited" after having been to a GOLD Information Night when they were in grade 7.
Liam said, "I was unimpressed that my mum wanted me to go to a special program that wasn't at the high school that my siblings had attended. But when I saw that the kids in it were interesting, and heard from them that GOLD had them out "in regular classes" most of the time...I relaxed. I had pictured being trapped in a 'special room' with freaks talking constantly about string theory (which I'm actually interested in, but not unremittingly)."
Hopefully elementary school resource staff and administrators will be able to convey what the GOLD programs feel like to students who are being asked to consider placement. District Learning Services is encouraging the programs to hold an Open House for prospective students and parents in May. The invitations to these events will be extended specifically to students who have been offered placement in one of the programs and will be hosted by the respective program (if grade 7 Stuart was offered placement in David Thompson GOLD, Stuart would attend the DT GOLD Open House).
Not all current GOLD students were present at a GOLD Info Night when they were in Grade 7. The programs may not have been on their radar until later in the academic year, or they may have found the timing/size of the events inconvenient. Some of the non-Info Night veterans report that they trusted their Grade 7 teacher or family friend that recommended accepting placement.
I will try to create a series of posts on this site that will try to approximate what information might be communicated during a GOLD Info Night in the hopes that students and families feel that they are making informed choices earlier in the transition year from elementary to high school.