Parent Bruno Zilli had his four-year-old son on the now defunct wait list to enter Cloverdale Traditional School in 2019. The wait list was nullified and a new process will be installed for 2019, meaning Zilli, who lives near the school, will either line up early in the morning if registration becomes first-come, first-serve, or be forced to leave it to chance in a lottery registration. Travis Paterson/News Staff

District surprises parents by scuttling wait lists for Cloverdale, South Park schools

New registration process coming for Cloverdale Traditional, South Park schools

Parents who’ve wait-listed their children for several years ahead of the annual kindergarten registration at Cloverdale Traditional and South Park elementary schools are learning the wait lists will not be used going forward.

Both schools had been using wait lists with many children on it up to four years.

They’ll be disappointed as School District 61 has chosen to remove the wait list for the 2019 intake, says Bruno Zilli, an outspoken parent who hopes to register his child at Cloverdale, despite learning earlier this year the wait list will not be recognized.

“We only live around the corner here from Cloverdale and we really like the school,” Zilli said. “Our son was born in 2014 and in 2016 we toured the school and were told we were No. 27 on the wait list and I was assured we’d get in.”

The change in the registration process comes in the wake of SD61’s priority enrolment re-ranking done in 2017. Cloverdale and South Park are schools of choice and are run on a district-wide catchment model with themes, and were using different rules from the neighbourhood elementary schools. However, SD61 wants to do away with the years-long existing wait lists.

Instead, both schools will move to a first-come first-serve or lottery model, though that is still to be decided, said SD61 superintendent Piet Langstraat.

“We can understand a parent being frustrated that they can’t get their child in the school but there’s no favouritism in the selection of students, it’s a fair process,” Langstraat said. “We don’t want people camping out over night, so we are considering how we’re going to do that.”

What makes SD61 schools of choice different are their themes. Students at Cloverdale Traditional School (at Quadra and Cloverdale) wear uniforms and follow “the traditional values of citizenship, responsibility and respect,” among other values outlined on its website. Parent volunteers at both Cloverdale and South Park are relied on, including teacher-encouraged class involvement by parents at South Park.

In the mean time, Zilli and his wife are no longer guaranteed a spot for September of 2019 at Cloverdale. However, though they’re guaranteed a spot at their neigbhourhood catchment school of Quadra elementary, they’d much rather be at Cloverdale, a school they liked and will either to line up early in the morning, or even camp overnight, to get in.

“I will camp out if it’s first-come first-serve, that part is not a big deal for me, but it’s not fair for all,” Zilli said.

South Park, some may recall, was the sight of previous overnight campouts by parents willing to brave the cold January nights. However, that was for the district’s Nature Kindergarten pilot project which has since come to an end.

SD61 also had early morning line-ups for some of its French immersion programs as recently as four years ago SD61. That was moved to a lottery system.


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