Following its recent Justice, Not Charity conference on child poverty, COPE is calling on the provincial government to provide money for breakfast programs in all 14 designated inner-city elementary schools.
COPE wants the Vancouver School Board to begin simultaneous planning and aggressive lobbying of the province so breakfast programs can run at all 14 schools in September 2013.
Breakfast programs run at six of the 14 inner-city elementary schools with money from companies, labour unions, service clubs, churches and national organizations such as the Breakfast Club of Canada, says Marcy Toms, the co-chair of COPE’s education committee. She said the province’s CommunityLINK program does not fund breakfast programs and argues theses essential programs need more than ad hoc, charitable donations.
It’s difficult to estimate how much money would be needed to pay for 14 breakfast programs because some enrol more students than others. Toms said Strathcona Community Centre funds the food program at Strathcona elementary that serves babies, toddlers, caregivers and students and costs between $85,000 and $100,000 per year. Toms, who has volunteered there since 2009, says the food program has seen a 25 per cent increase in clientele since the start of the school year. She said a conservative cost estimate for all 14 programs would be between $1 million and $1.5 million per year.
“Clearly, at the very least, getting healthy breakfasts into the stomachs of hungry kids is a necessary start to fulfilling the mandate of public schools,” Toms, a retired secondary teacher, wrote in an email.
COPE also calls for support to be restored for learning assistance, special education, English as a second language programs and counselling services.
Gladstone secondary teacher Janet Thompson will receive a 2012 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.
She’s had her social studies 10 students scouring atlases to track the climate and geography of Upper Canada so they can better understand what pioneer life was like centuries ago. She encouraged her students to play representatives from a British North American colony at a hypothetical 1864 conference where students decide whether to join a proposed Canadian