Student vacation extended

Summer holidays for students planning to attend the former high school turned elementary school have been extended by two days.

It’s every kid’s dream: an extension to summer.

Summer holidays for students planning to attend the former high school turned elementary school in Rossland have been extended by two days.

A missive sent out by School District 20 (Kootenay Columbia) on Monday morning is instructing parents of students at the new kindergarten to Grade 9 school to hold off sending their children to school until Sept. 5.

Granted, the window for renovation and refurbishing of the school to transition it from secondary to primary instruction was small—not even two months—but SD20 board chair Darrell Ganzert said the delay will be for teachers to get prepared for the students.

“There is all sorts of planning that has to take place so that transition (between grades) can happen as smooth as possible,” he said.

Teachers need to have “team” meetings, as well as one-on-one meetings with neighbouring grades, as the special needs and requirements of each student is made known to the new teacher, said Ganzert.

Although some demolition took place by SD20 staff before the school year ended in June, it wasn’t until nearly mid July that the contractor could get on site to begin the task of converting former high school workshops and resource rooms into classrooms.

SD20 superintendent of schools, Greg Luterbach, said the district met with school contractors to look at the final outstanding items late last week to assess the situation.

“What we found is that while the contractors will be done, the vast majority of the work will not leave any time for teachers to prepare their rooms to be ready for the students,” he said in a press release.

The contractors will finish the majority of their work on Friday, Aug. 30. Over the long weekend a school district crew will clean the remaining areas of the school and move furniture and boxes into each classroom.

On Tuesday, Sept. 3 and Wednesday, Sept. 4 school staff will be in the building preparing their rooms for students. School will open for students on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 a.m. for a full day of school.

Over the first few weeks in September, outside of regular school hours, the last of the contractors will be installing some millwork, sinks in primary classrooms and painting some common areas.

“The school will not be completed on the first day of school,” said Ganzert, “but education will still take place.”

No date has been set for the completion of the project.

The loss of two days from the school calendar will be made up over time, said Ganzert, likely with the inclusion of extra minutes tacked on to each school day.

“Management hasn’t come up with a strategy for how that will take place,” he said.

MacLean and the Annex

The Francophone School will still be holding classes in the MacLean Annex come September, and will not be moving into the former MacLean Elementary School building, Ganzert confirmed.

Nothing of significance has come forward over the summer months to warrant the closure of a sale on the school building, he said, although it was noted earlier in summer the Francophone school administration was interested in the prospect of buying the building for their school district.

Bargaining time

Although the teachers’ union took much of the spotlight last year in their contract negotiations and labour actions with the province, they could take a back seat to CUPE workers this fall.

The province has made it known that contract talks with the B.C. Teachers Federation will not begin until later this year, after a contract has been settled between the province and CUPE.

editor@rosslandnews.com