School District 27 trustees released the following rationale Wednesday morning on why they chose Columneetza secondary to become the predominantly grades 7 to 9 campus and Williams Lake secondary to become the predominantly grades 10 to 12 campus next fall.
The board of education met Feb. 5 and discussed at length the configuration of the one school, two campus model secondary school in Williams Lake.
The following motion was passed identifying which campus would house which grades:
“That the board of education designate the current Columneetza Secondary School as the predominantly grades 7-9 campus and the current Williams Lake Secondary School as the predominantly grades 10-12 campus, in the one school, two campus model and that this information be released to the public immediately.”
Rationale considered for choosing the WLSS facility as the predominantly grades 10-12 campus included:
• Older students travelling – In order to facilitate student choice and in order to utilize both present facilities to their fullest capabilities, some extent of student travel will be necessary.
The board believes strongly that the majority of travel should be done by older students. When timetabling is complete, older students will certainly need to travel to the Columneetza campus for trades courses and may possibly need to travel for upper level science courses or other courses.
With this configuration, younger students will have to travel very little or not at all.
• Technology infrastructure: Superior at WLSS when compared to Columneetza. Better suited for senior students as we move forward into more personalized learning.
• Proximity to Skyline/GROW: We have far more students involved in alternate education at the Grades 10-12 level than at the Grades 7-9 level. It is an advantage having the senior campus with Grades 10-12 within walking distance so that students will easily be able to move back and forth between both educational settings.
• Proximity to recreation facilities (i.e. hockey, skating, swimming, bowling, etc.): As older secondary students transition to adulthood, more sports and fitness opportunities are provided to them to give them exposure to the types of healthy activities they may participate in once they have graduated.
Preferable for older students to walk as opposed to the younger students.
• Proximity to downtown for work experience opportunities.
• Superior band and musical theatre facilities.
• Industrial kitchen: For cafeteria training/dual credit (secondary and post-secondary credit) chef’s training courses.
• Commons/stage: A central location within the school as a gathering place for older students.
Rationale considered for choosing the Columneetza Secondary School facility as the predominantly grades 7-9 campus included:
• Student engagement: The board recognizes the importance of trades training within the new school.
If younger students are given the opportunities to be introduced to a variety of trades experiences before they reach Grades 10, 11, and 12, they will be more likely to travel to the predominantly grades 7-9 school campus to take these courses as part of their graduation program.
In having these trades training courses offered at the predominantly grades 7-9 school campus, younger students will not need to travel to be exposed to these types of opportunities.
This will help soften the transition for students in grades 10-12 as they will be returning to a familiar campus to access these courses.
• Location: The Columneetza campus is much more secluded in a predominantly residential area closer to larger elementary schools.
Whether or not the predominantly grades 7-9 is an open or closed school campus, younger students will not face the constant lure of distractions located downtown (i.e. the park, the mall, convenience stores, etc.).
• Supervision: Easier to supervise due to long hallways.
• More field space: Space for two fields to allow for more intramural activities.