Columneetza priority for grades 7-9: WLSS 10-12

Columneetza priority for grades 7-9: WLSS 10-12 in new one school, two campus secondary school model being introduced in Williams Lake.

Columneetza secondary will become the predominantly grades 7 to 9 school and Williams Lake secondary will become the predominantly grades 10 to 12 school in the new 7 to 12 one-school, two campus secondary school model being introduced in Williams Lake.

School District 27 trustees announced the decision Wednesday morning after debating the issue at length during a special closed  board meeting Tuesday and also agreed to release their decision immediately to the public.

“Now that this decision has been made, we are looking forward to an inclusive process in reshaping the new secondary school in Williams Lake,” says Superintendent of Schools Mark Thiessen.

“It has been a couple of decades since we have seen these types of substantial changes, and we have a real opportunity to look at how we continue to provide an education to our students.”

With some modifications the school trustees adopted their Initial Options Report of September 2012 on Jan. 22 as their 2013 Comprehensive Plan. The one school, two-campus model was adopted as part of the plan going forward.

At that time, the trustees also indicated that one campus would be predominantly grades 7-9, while the other campus would be predominantly grades 10-12 but the decision on which campus would serve which group of students was left for further discussion.

In making the decision school board chair Will VanOsch says the trustees looked at all the information they have gathered on the facilities and what they had to offer, feeder schools, proximity to elementary schools, proximity to recreation facilities, history, as well as input received during the Initial Options public consultation process.

He said the decision was made in camera because much of the discussion involved staffing implications but the trustees also agreed to release the decision as soon after it was made as possible.

“We really try to have as much in the open as we can,” VanOsch said.

“Through this whole process we tried to use as much information as possible,” VanOsch continued. “I think there was quite a bit of consideration given to the choice and in the long run I think it will be a good choice.”