There will be no Grade 8 or 9 English classes at Rossland Summit School in September.
Principal Patrick Kinghorn said the school and School District 20 had to make the decision due to a lack of interest from families. After sending out an email to parents, only four families with students leaving Grade 7 and two with students leaving Grade 8 were interested in registering at RSS for next year.
“So when I reported those numbers to the district, the response that I got back from the district was that we can’t provide a meaningful program for that low a number of kids,” explained Kinghorn.
RSS will still have a program for Grade 8 and 9 students in French Immersion, but students in the English program will have to go to J.L. Crowe in Trail or to the Seven Summits Centre for Learning.
Kinghorn believes the main reason students in Grade 8 and 9 are choosing other schools is due to the social aspect.
“In terms of talking to kids, my sense is that kids that age are looking for more of — I guess you would call [it] — a traditional, social high school experience,” he said.
The principal says it’s disappointing, especially considering how well things have been going otherwise.
RSS has partnered with UBC Okanagan’s West Kootenay Rural Teacher Education Program (WKRTEP).
“We have a couple of teachers a year that come and do their practicums here, but the program has identified that our school … is a school that is doing a pretty unique and innovative, remarkable job of implementing the new curriculum, and so that’s trickled down to this year we had a lot of WKRTEP students, beyond those practicum students, here observing, interacting with our teachers,” says Kinghorn.
And thanks to the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that restored the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s right to negotiate classroom size and composition, RSS will also have two and a half new positions come September.
“Two in primary and then partly in student support,” explains Kinghorn.
There are also two teachers going on leave next school year, so in total there will be five new faces in the school.