Save MACC! Urge the VSB to Protect this Vital Special Education Program.

Save MACC! Urge the VSB to Protect this Vital Special Education Program.

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Why this petition matters

Started by Save MACC

Join us in advocating against the Vancouver School Board’s plans to end a full-time district Special Education program, the Multi-Age Cluster Class (MACC) without proper consultation from stakeholders, parents, alumni, subject matter experts, or involvement from School Board Trustees.

MACC is a multi-year program designed to help Grade 4-7 students who are neurodiverse and highly able learners, with a ‘P’ learning designation (Gifted) from the Ministry of Education. MACC enables autonomous learning and provides a community of like-minded peers for this vulnerable group, in line with best practices in Gifted Education.

Most MACC students have not found success in a mainstream classroom, and many also struggle with issues such as perfectionism, anxiety, ADHD and depression. They receive both academic challenge and social-emotional supports built into the MACC curriculum. Like all VSB Special Ed. ("Learning Services") programs, MACC students are referred by school-based teams. 

VSB is introducing new short-term enrichment centres (“GECs”) to replace MACC, but says it is a "revisioning" of MACC. VSB is calling this a “change” instead of what it is: Cancelling MACC and replacing it with a new program. This is significant: Calling it a “change” doesn’t allow VSB Trustees to vote on it.  These are two entirely different programs, designed to meet the needs of separate groups of students. There should be room for both, without sacrificing MACC for the children who need it.

For 30 years, MACC has transformed children’s lives and allowed them to go on to success in high school and beyond. We are advocating because this group of children, and future students, still need the services MACC provides to support them: not just academically, but socially, mentally and emotionally.

All MACC families involved, current and past, have been overwhelmingly and vocally united in their opposition to the VSB’s plan. However, we have been dismissed and our voices excluded.

By signing this petition, we are calling on our elected Vancouver School Board Trustees to fulfill their responsibilities:

1. To provide equity for this vulnerable group of students served by the MACC Program.

2. Recognize that this is not a change. It is a cancellation. Because this is a cancellation of a district program, the Trustees must be involved.

3. To participate fully in any evaluation or decision on the future of the MACC program. This requires including stakeholders such as MACC alumni families, Gifted Ed academic experts and psychologist(s) familiar with assessing these students’ learning profiles.

4. To acknowledge that the VSB Staff consultation is about the new proposed “Enrichment Centres,” an entirely new program for a much broader student population. There has been no consultation about the cancellation of the MACC Program.  

5. To ensure that, until there is reliable and sufficient data on the impact of the GEC pilot, MACC classes continue. This requires VSB Learning Services continuing to accept school-based referrals for the MACC intake process for Fall 2022.


Background on MACC, Gifted Education and Stakeholder Exclusion:
MACC is not an Enrichment-centered program. It is for Grade 4-7 students who are neurodiverse and highly able learners, with a ‘P’ (Gifted) learning designation from the Ministry of Education. (For more detail on Giftedness, see ).

MACC is a multi-year program based on autonomous learning, a conceptually advanced curriculum, and a community of like-minded peers, all in line with best practices in Gifted Education. Most of these children have not had success in a mainstream classroom and struggle with issues such as perfectionism, anxiety, ADHD, bullying and depression. MACC weaves both necessary academic challenge and social-emotional supports into its curriculum.

MACC is based on best practices in Gifted Ed research, which calls for these students to be grouped together, learning with like-minded peers and developing the skills they need in order to succeed.

The Enrichment Centres proposed by the VSB are entirely different:
- They would serve a different population (not designed for Gifted learners)

- They’d be 6 weeks, rather than MACC’s full-time, holistic approach.

- They would focus on specific themes instead of the autonomous learning skills and social-emotional support MACC provides.

- The ECs sound like a great program for many students, but they are not relevant for our children’s needs.

- VSB already offers enrichment programs, such as multi-day Challenge Centres, Gifted Summer Schools and Seminars. The proposed Enrichment Centres pilot should be an expansion of these existing programs if VSB cares about increasing equity and access for all students who seek enrichment.

VSB says they’re ending MACC due to a lack of “equity.”
Equity for whom? No one would say that a program for students with autism or dyslexia is not “equitable” because it isn’t open to everyone. Cancelling MACC sets up a bigger inequity for these students: Parents with the resources will move their children to private school, and students from less wealthy families will be stuck without options.

- MACC students are a highly diverse group (racially/culturally, geographically, socioeconomically), but the VSB has a continued responsibility to seek out and identify students from all backgrounds -- particularly underrepresented groups -- to ensure all students who need the MACC Program have access to it.

- Like all VSB Special Ed. ("Learning Services") programs, MACC students are referred by school-based teams, which increases equity. A private psychoeducational assessment test ("psych-ed") has historically not been necessary for MACC, as the VSB ran group assessments several times a year.

- The three other districts with MACC (Surrey, Burnaby & Coquitlam) are continuing their programs as usual. Why not Vancouver?

- Families have been told this is not a budget issue, and MACC is not an expensive program to run. This is the only program under Learning Services targeted for cancellation.

- The VSB argues that MACC isn’t geographically equitable. That’s easily handled: There are four MACC classes; it should be possible to move one to each quadrant of the city.

VSB’s “Consultation” is excluding and silencing stakeholders.
The VSB is using the terms “enrichment” and “equity” to pit parents against each other.

- At the VSB’s “pre-engagement” and “engagement” sessions, moderators announced that the decision has been made to end MACC and refused to allow any discussion of the current program--even by students trying to advocate for their own education. Participants in the sessions were asked for input only on the EC’s themes (e.g., Minecraft, Drumming), methods of learning (“plant-based activities,” “arts and crafts”), and time frame (4 - 8 weeks).

- When parents and MACC alumni overwhelmingly (and respectfully) expressed their frustration and opposition to the VSB's plans their comments were ignored, their concerns were not addressed, and some were even removed from the Zoom consultations.

- There are now 30 years of former MACC students. The VSB did not reach out to any of these MACC alumni for its "consultation."

For more background on MACC and the VSB's flawed "revisioning/engagement" process, please see:


1,513 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!