Baythorn’s arts program saved, others nixed
Parents and students are celebrating after learning that the threatened Baythorn arts program will remain open.
Baythorn Public School, at Yonge Street and Royal Orchard Boulevard, came under scrutiny when York Region District School Board trustees condemned the arts program’s audition process as elitist.
Trustees introduced Policy 316, to promote equal accessibility across all schools, leading to the closure of all specialty programs, with the exception of French immersion.
Last month, trustees approved Policy 316, effectively creating all elementary school programs equal across York Region, with the exception of the exclusive music, drama, dance and visual arts program at Baythorn.
When trustees put the program in jeopardy, it sparked an immediate backlash from parents and students.
Elana Korman, whose son will be graduating from the program this year, said the victory is bittersweet.
“I have very mixed feelings,” Korman explained. “I’m happy it’s still there, but I’m upset there won’t be room for growth.”
Spokesperson for the York Region District School Board, Christina Choo-Hum, said Baythorn was spared for “historical” reasons.
She added that the board is putting together a committee to further study the 25-year-old program’s audition process.
“Ratifying Policy 316 is a significant step forward to … focus on continuing to improve the consistency and quality of programs in all of our elementary schools,” said trustee chair Anna DeBartolo.
Students vying for a spot in the program must audition, which will determine whether or not they will be accepted.
As for whether or not the program is elitist or discriminatory, Korman said all children have different learning methods.
“I didn’t fight it because my son was in the program,” she said. “I fought it because I believe that there is a need for the program. I believe that there are children who learn and develop with this type of learning. It’s not just this school. I believe there is a need for more of this type of school, and I’m afraid our board is falling behind. ”