Neighbourhoods of Learning needs your help

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
November 11th, 2010

The Neighbourhoods of Learning team, led by new coordinator Ami Haworth, is continuing to push forward on their ultimate goal of preserving quality K-12 education in Rossland. 

The momentum building behind the project that has received widespread support around the city and are pursuing a new funding avenue to help continue their efforts. The NOL team is putting out the call to Rossland residents to get behind their project with two specific and immediate calls to action for folks to step up and support the concept.
Received earlier this year, the first phase of the grant provided $20,000 to the group with the City of Rossland matching the $10,000 grant from the province for the initial NOL planning work to be done.
That first section yielded a host of results on a shoestring budget, proof in itself of the dedication, passion and support for the project. So far the group has prepared and followed a work plan , researched and compiled information about other successful NOL Centres and alternative school models all the while liaising with potential stakeholders, school boards, the Ministry of Education, city councils, and the public. In addition, the group has held an event providing information to the community as well as garnering feedback through active brainstorming to continue growing the overall concept.
Potential users of such a centre are a critical piece of the equation. To that extent, through Phase One of the grant a host of potential stakeholders in the project were contacted and informed about the project and its goals. Their potential needs were surveyed in order to determine how they might participate in the project. Even though SD20 has denied Rossland’s request for up to $30,000 in funding for Phase Two of the project (Fruitvale and Blueberry Creek’s NOL projects were accepted and advanced to round two) the group has now got a strong foundation to move forward with as they continue to look for additional funding and granting opportunities.
That is one area in which they are now putting out the call for supporters of K-12 education in Rossland to give them a helping hand–or mouse click.
One potential grant that could be worth between $25,000 and $100,000 is the Aviva grant.
The Aviva grant is a competition, actually,” explained Haworth. “Any kind of community project can apply. For example the Nelson Skate Park Association has also applied. There are applications from all over Canada. “
Following a Survivor-style series of rounds, communities which show the most support for their local projects are awarded the grant.
“What we need is for people to vote for the idea and then each round anybody that registers on the site can vote,” added Haworth. “If the community wants to support this ,they need to vote every day for ten days straight: from November 16th to the 26th. If we win one round, then people vote again and the next round is the same thing until you get to the finals. So we really need community support.”
You can Vote for the Rossland NOL project here 
The next major milestone the group will face is completing two main scenarios on the setup of how NOL could work in Rossland and submitting them to the School District by December 15th.
“Basically the main goal is the overarching idea of trying to create community learning spaces while maintaining quality K-12 education within Rossland. The two scenarios are variations around that. Whether it’s K-12 in one building or Neighbourhood Learning in the high school, ultimately the school board needs to decide, so we’ll present a few different scenarios to them around those option and then we’ll present details in terms of funding and different partners that would be interested in that scenario.”
One potential scenario would be to transform an entire wing of RSS into a Neighbourhoods of Learning centre. In recent weeks, Haworth has toured the school assessing potential setups along with RSS principle Terry MacDonnell. The basic concept is to use one section of the school to lease out to community stakeholders who could develop natural synergies by being located in the high school. That money would be used to offset the costs of maintaining RSS in Rossland.
To assist with their efforts and provide some backing science and data to their claims, the NOL group is urging Rosslanders to take their survey now before the deadline closes. The online Survey Monkey survey is a series of questions that pose some basic philosophical questions to Rosslanders on the importance of maintaining K-12 education in Rossland.
To date, 290 households have filled out the survey. The group is shooting for a minimum response of 370 surveys. That would give them 25% of residents responding, adding credibility to the data gathered.
Fill out the survey here 
 With a substantial foundation now set in place to move forward on the next steps of establishing a NOL Center in place, the group is now depending in large part on the people of Rossland to step up to the plate and directly show their support for the project to help keep the momentum going.
“If people are serious about maintaining K-12 education in Rossland, we need their help now. There are two things they can do that take just a few minutes right now to support the projects. If they haven’t already, fill out the online survey. The deadline is this Friday. The other is to go vote for the Aviva Grant between November 15th to the 26th.”
And with that, the ball has temporarily been placed in the public’s court.
Do you support NOL? If so have you completed the survey?

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