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Overcrowding sends elementary school students to high school for the year

Centennial Secondary welcomes new students from Sir John A. Photo by Vanessa Stark.

Centennial Secondary welcomes new students from Sir John A. Photo by Vanessa Stark.

By Tara Henley [1] and Vanessa Stark  [2]

BELLEVILLE – Students from Sir John A. MacDonald [3] Public School [3] began classes Tuesday at Centennial Secondary School [4].

The Grade 7 and 8 students were relocated to the high school after enrolment numbers were too high to be accommodated at the public school.

Kerry Donnell, communications officer for the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board [5], said more students enrolled over the summer and during the first week of school than anticipated.

“It was found that Sir John A. had more students than they had counted in the spring. The school has really run out of space so they were looking to move the (classes) over to the high school.”

Sir John A. principal Nicola Wand said that over-crowding had affected the facilities to the point where moving classes was the only option.

“We needed to provide this for our students so we could make some space in the building and still access our gym and learning commons effectively.”

Wand also said Centennial classrooms were not the only ones to undergo changes. Sir John A. completely reshuffled to allow for smaller class sizes and better learning outcomes.

“Every single class in our building was affected. They either had kids leave or kids join depending on the situation.”

Principal Wand escorted the Grade 7 and 8 classes to Centennial for their first day, which included a tour of the school.

A meeting was held Monday night at Centennial to answer any questions and address any worries parents might have.

Though Wand said some parents were concerned with the changes, she also said there were steps taken to ensure contact between the secondary and elementary school students was minimized. These measures include having a separate entrance, keeping the Sir John A. schedules and different lunch and outdoor break times.

Both Wand and Kim Sampson, the principal of Centennial Secondary, said they are excited to be working closely together and are excited for the outcome of the relocation.

“The relationship between Sir John A. MacDonald and Centennial has always been strong,” Sampson said. “That hasn’t changed, and if anything it’s growing.”

The relocation is a short-term plan lasting the 2016-2017 school year only. Donnell said if enrolment concerns arise next year, they will be dealt with then.

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