More than 200 students from Vaughan Road Academy forced to split up

Some will transfer to Forest Hill C.I., but others face much longer commutes


Published:

Jason Kunin has taught at Vaughan Road Academy for the past 17 years

For the 220 students and 30 staff members of Vaughan Road Academy (VRA), slated to close later this year, feelings range from resentment to bittersweet acceptance as they ramp up for a spring season of farewell events and prepare for what comes next. 

The 149 Vaughan Road Academy students not graduating this year will be dispersed into 18 schools across the GTA: Students in the International Baccalaureate program will join the IB program at Weston Collegiate Institute and the Interact program to Oakwood Collegiate Institute. 

“It’s still kind of traumatic for them. I think for kids it was less about the programs and more about tearing apart their social network,” said Jason Kunin, a teacher who has spent 17 years at VRA. “They were all trying to see where their friends were going.”

Kunin argued optional attendance at Forest Hill C.I. (FHCI) is largely to blame for the closure, since many of the students that wound up at FHCI were technically in VRA’s catchment area.

According to Cynthia Zwicker-Reston, principal of VRA, 31 students will be transfering to FHCI, which is already over capacity. 

“It was less about the programs and more about tearing apart their social network.”

The utilization rate at FHCI for the 2016-17 school year is 119.8 per cent with 959 students. Priority has been granted to VRA students transferring next year, but Toronto District School Board trustee Shelley Laskin said the school can accommodate more students, as class sizes often range above the standard set by the Ontario Ministry of Education of 21 pupils per classroom.

“If each classroom hosted a class of 26 students, but was rated for 21, the school would be able to accommodate five extra students for every classroom than what the capacity otherwise reflects.… FHCI has operated between 117 and 128 per cent for the last 10 years.” 

Meanwhile, other students have elected to go elsewhere, and some will face longer commutes.

“We live in the community, so it’s been great to be able to walk to Vaughan Road,” said Jean Birch, a mother of two VRA students who will be moving on to schools further away. “For my daughter, there are going to be things that she does, extracurricular activities especially, that are not going to be as accessible because of the distance to travel to school.” The commute to Weston C.I., where her daughter is enrolled next year, takes between 35 to 45 minutes by bus. 

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

A massive pop-up park is coming to Yonge and Bloor

A massive pop-up park is coming to Yonge and Bloor

The intersection will be car free and green for four hours this weekend.
Posted 1 day ago
Condo of the week: A $4.28 mil suite with a wine cellar and gym in the Annex

Condo of the week: A $4.28 mil suite with a wine cellar and gym in the Annex

There's 900 bottles of wine on the wall and a charming terrace.
Posted 3 days ago
The male, pale and stale Toronto city council

The male, pale and stale Toronto city council

A lack of diversity could be why the big issues just aren’t being addressed.
Posted 1 week ago
Introducing the world of sex technology in Toronto

Introducing the world of sex technology in Toronto

Many local and GTA-based companies are at the forefront of this emerging industry.
Posted 1 week ago
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module