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Students, tutors brace for academic pinch

Mar 02 2012
Zoe Brauer and Jessica Manitoski, Grade 11 students in Belmont Secondary's soccer academy, have been told their team's trip to Seattle likely will be cancelled. 

Zoe Brauer and Jessica Manitoski, Grade 11 students in Belmont Secondary's soccer academy, have been told their team's trip to Seattle likely will be cancelled.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com (March 2012)

A highlight of the Grade 11 school year for Zoe Brauer and Jessica Manitoski was going to be a soccer trip to Seattle, but, with teachers set to strike next week, the senior girls soccer team at Belmont Secondary School has been told the trip is probably off.

"It is really disappointing," Brauer said.

The strike is also putting a wrinkle in the team's practices, which are part of regular classes at the Belmont soccer academy, she said.

"We were told the teachers can't coach us anymore."

Both Brauer and Manitoski say the gap in their academic schoolwork is the biggest concern.

Teachers are "quite emotional about the strike," but have not yet given them a study plan, they said.

"I think it will really affect my work, for sure. I don't want to fall behind in my studies," Manitoski said.

The strike is probably hardest on Grade 11 and 12 students, said staff at tutoring organizations around Victoria.

Most report a trickle of new students, but expect there will be more when the reality of a strike sinks in.

"I expect to be hearing from people after work today," said Melissa Lee, Oxford Learning education director, on Thursday.

One problem is the threeday strike comes just before spring break, so students can lose a lot of valuable time, Lee said.

"In Grade 12, the curriculum is moving along so quickly that if you miss something like a Math 12 class, it's a real loss," she said.

At Infinity Tutoring, Julie Giasson is expecting the influx to come after spring break as students realize they have fallen behind.

Those in Grades 10, 11 and 12 are facing provincial exams in June, so need to keep up, she said.

At Sylvan Learning, the numbers are up over the same period last year.

In an emailed statement, Penny Loome, executive director of Sylvan Vancouver Island, said Sylvan "is ready to help any families who need our services."

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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