June 13, 2012
Trustees Create Conditions for Student Success in St. Catharines and Thorold
High school students in St. Catharines and Thorold will have access to even more enhanced programming opportunities and improved facilities due to decisions made by the DSBN’s Board of Trustees. At their regular meeting on June 12, 2012, Trustees supported a plan to enhance public education in St. Catharines and Thorold in a long-term, sustainable fashion. The decisions made were a result of the recent Accommodation Review of five area high schools.
“As a Board, we are committed to student success,” said Kevin Maves, Chair of the Board. “I am confident the decisions made by Trustees will benefit students while respecting taxpayers and the communities we serve.”
By initiating the Accommodation Review in 2011, Trustees committed themselves to examining solutions to declining enrolment, which is one of the most difficult challenges facing school boards in Ontario. Since 2001, secondary enrolment at the DSBN has declined by more than 2,100 students and projections indicate that enrolment will continue to fall by another 2,500 students by 2021.
As the Ministry funds school boards based on enrolment, having fewer students to educate, but the same demands to maintain and operate buildings, puts a tremendous strain on Boards’ abilities to offer the range of programming students need to facilitate personal growth and compete in the global marketplace.
The plan endorsed by trustees addresses these issues by eliminating 1530 surplus student spaces through school consolidations. These measures, along with boundary adjustments will result in increased enrolment at the remaining schools which will support enhanced programming for students.
Now that Trustees have made their decision, the DSBN will establish a transition plan that will focus on supporting students. This will include a transition team made up of students, parents, staff members and school administrators. The team will identify the needs of students and establish strategies to support their success in their new locations.
“I would like to commend staff for conducting a thorough review of a very complex and sensitive issue,” said Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education. “From the amount of feedback we have received, it is clear the community is passionate about public education. It is our hope the public will continue to engage with the DSBN with a shared goal of supporting students in Niagara.”
Thorold students will continue to access quality secondary education in their own community, as Trustees voted to maintain Thorold Secondary School (TSS). Trustees also supported a boundary realignment to increase enrolment at TSS. Under the approved plan, TSS will be retrofitted to support Grade 7 & 8 technology classes, helping area students develop a closer connection to the local high school.
Kernahan Park Secondary School (KPSS) will be consolidated into St. Catharines Collegiate beginning in September, 2013. The programs offered at the Collegiate closely align with those currently offered at KPSS. Technology spaces in the Collegiate will also be retrofitted to fully accommodate the incoming students. The increased enrolment at the St. Catharines Collegiate will allow for an enhanced program with a wider range of elective courses to match student interests and abilities.
West Park Secondary School will be consolidated into Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. This move will unite many friends and siblings as over 200 students currently living in the WPSS boundary already attend Churchill for programming reasons. This move will allow current WPSS students to benefit from expanded programming options and fewer multi-grade course offerings.
Trustees voted to split the French Immersion program at Sir Winston Churchill, creating a second program at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in the north end of St. Catharines. This decision will allow SWCSS to accommodate incoming students from West Park Secondary. It also allows French Immersion students currently living in the north end to access programming closer to home.