The public feedback part of the project to merge Cumberland’s two schools into one campus will pick up when students are back from spring break.
Cumberland Elementary School co-principal Katy Doran says the process until now has mostly been informational, including a community information night in late-February outlining the draft educational vision to parents. But, school administration will focus on the community consultation phase of the project next month.
Doran adds so far parents and staff have been supportive of the junior and elementary schools merging into one kindergarten-to-Grade 9 campus.
“Most of (the feedback is) really, really positive,” says Doran. “A couple people are concerned about maybe the behaviours of the older kids with the younger kids, and that’s a legitimate concern of some parents. But the vast majority, teachers included, and parents, believe that the behaviours of the (older) kids will actually improve when little ones are around.”
Students will be grouped into multi-year cohorts, but Doran says the campus will truly be shared by all grades, giving more opportunity for cross-grade learning.
“We’re looking at more cross-grade relationships certainly, between the students,” she says, noting one example could be to bring the kindergarten class into the home economics classroom to learn cooking skills alongside older students. Another similar idea would be to bring younger children into the shop classes to learn with older students.
“We wouldn’t let little guys use power tools but they could work with big buddies using some hand tools, maybe the Grade 4s with the Grade 9s or something like that,” she continues, noting these ideas are an extension of the Grade 9 leadership buddy program already in existence.
Meanwhile, learning on the campus will continue to move in the direction of individualized learning or personalized learning, with a focus on skills like critical thinking, collaboration and communication.
“We’re looking at getting inquiry at all levels, so play-based learning for Grades K to 3, project-based for Grades 4 to 7 and then inquiry-based learning for Grades 8 and 9,” she says.
As well, Doran says administration is looking at moving the pre-school over to the campus, too, and strengthening working relationships with groups like the Cumberland Recreation Institute and Cumberland Community Schools Society.
For more information about the draft educational vision, visit http://cumberlandschool.ca.