Move To Public Schools

In the early 1970s the philosophy of integration became a topic of discussion provincially in Alberta. The Association began to look for ways to integrate disabled children in to regular classrooms. Students from the segregated Peace School of Hope moved into the Public School System for the first time. The move was very controversial, with opposition from teachers and parents alike.

The transition to the Public System was a gradual one, the first step involving the establishment of a Peace School Wing at Montrose Junior High School. The Peace School of Hope students attended classes at Montrose where programs encouraged their interaction with the regular students. Course credit was given to public school students who spent time volunteering in the Peace School classrooms.

One of the many issues to deal with at the time was the certification of teachers who were working at the Peace School of Hope. The Alberta Teacher’s Association and the Government Teachers’ Certification Board allowed the instructors to teach in the public system with temporary teaching certificates, providing they upgraded to meet the Provincial standard.

Grande Prairie’s Crystal Park School became a location for integration of the more severely handicapped children into the regular school system. Crystal Park’s program included physical and occupational therapy and speech pathology. When that concept developed, the move to full integration became much closer to reality.

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