SD48 Squamish Grade Seven Reconfiguration Page

Welcome to the Squamish Grade Seven Reconfiguration Page. At the moment, schools in the Squamish area of Sea to Sky School District are currently configured  so that kindergarten through grade 7 students attend an elementary school, grade 8 and 9 students attend Don Ross School, and grade 10 through 12 students attend Howe Sound Secondary School. Our Board of Education has been requested to consider the possibility of re-configuring the Squamish area to relocate grade 7 students to attend Don Ross Secondary School in the future. The board is seeking your input prior to their decision.

Parents have requested that in advance of completing a survey they be given an opportunity to learn more about middle schools and Don Ross in particular. With this in mind, on October 22 at 7 pm, we are inviting interested parents and students to attend an information presentation by principal Nick Pascuzzi pertaining to the middle years program currently being implemented in Don Ross School. As well, there will be a tour of the school with opportunities to ask school and district staff any questions you may have.

Following the information evening, a link to our survey with a password will be emailed to each home and to our partner groups.  The survey will be open from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5, 2013. Paper copies will be provided through school offices by request. The Board of Education will be reviewing all of the information, including the results of the surveys, as part of their decision making process.

Background Information:
This conversation was initially started when the School District reconfigured Howe Sound and Don Ross Schools in 2010. Since then many Squamish area staff, students, and parents have asked the Board to consider moving grade seven students to Don Ross.

 What We Have Heard:

  • Don Ross students indicated in an exit survey that their experience would have been enhanced with a third year at the school
  • Some teachers at the school believe a third year would benefit relationships with students and therefore improve student learning and school culture
  • Some believe the Don Ross building and staff have more resources to provide hands-on learning opportunities through specialized areas such as fine art, cooking, and shops
  • Don Ross is developing a strong middle school program with learning and services designed to meet the specific needs of adolescent development
  • The rapidly increasing enrolment in our Squamish elementary schools is quickly creating space pressures and Don Ross was designed with the space to educate another cohort of students
  • There will be budget implications associated with not reconfiguring (ie. portables)

Some Concerns:

  • People like their elementary school and are attached to the staff there
  • Local elementary schools are often convenient, accessible, and likely much smaller
  • Many grade 7 students attending Don Ross would require bussing
  • There will be budget implications associated with reconfiguring (ie. transportation)

School District 48 Board of Education takes into consideration the following core criteria regarding the possible reconfiguration: 

  • Does it promote effective learning and a good experience for our kids?
  • Does it meet the terms of the Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association collective agreement?
  • Does it support the terms of the CUPE agreement?
  • Does it incorporate ideas and feedback from DPAC and school PACS?
  • Does it incorporate the feedback and calendar survey results from all core constituents?
  • Does it recognize both the needs and challenges of the communities in Sea to Sky?
  • Does it consider financial implications and best use of resources including classroom space?

PAC Meetings:
The School District No. 48 senior staff has attended September PAC meetings to provide information about the Squamish grade seven configuration process, the early French immersion processes, and the calendar selection process, and has used the feedback from those conversations to help shape the options presented.

Timeline:

  • September 7 to October 1: Senior staff visits all SD48 PAC meetings
  • October 15: Reconfiguration webpage active
  • October 16 Emails/letters home to parents inviting parents and student to the information night at DRS
  • October 22: Public information night at DRS at 7 pm
  • October 23 to November 5: Reconfiguration survey open to public
  • November 8: Reconfiguration Survey results posted on SD48 Website
  • November 13: Survey results presented in public board meeting

Here are the slides from the October 22 Information Night: Middle Years Programming at DRS

Squamish area stakeholders will be invited via email to participate in the e-survey to provide input for the Board of Education. Paper copies will be available in Squamish area schools by request.