As many of you know, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
is undertaking a review of schools and program offerings across the
District. The Western Area Review focused
on four families of schools - Bell High School, Merivale High School, Sir
Robert Borden High School and Woodroffe High School, and the 22 elementary
schools which feed into these high schools.
The purpose of the Western Area Pupil Accommodation Review was to find
solutions on how best to realign programs and services in these communities to
support student achievement and well-being within available resources.
Over the past six months, we have put forward proposals for discussion with the
community, and considered a range of options in terms of grade configurations,
program offerings, school consolidations, and school closures.
After months of consultation and deliberation, the
Board has made final decisions on the Western Area Review. I want to
thank everyone who participated in the review process. We are fortunate
to have such an active community and all of the feedback received has helped to
inform decision making.
You may find out more about the final decisions, by family of schools,
in the links below.
The school district is committed to ensuring these changes are managed
as smoothly as possible for all staff, students and families. In the
weeks ahead, transition committees will be established to help us create the
best new learning environments for our students. As always, our focus on
student learning and well-being will ensure that students feel welcome and
schools are ready for learning in September 2017.
Accommodation reviews are never easy. This has been
an emotional and challenging task for everyone involved. Now that the decisions have been made, we can
turn our attention towards uniting school communities.
Many years ago, in my former school district, I was
a new principal in an elementary school that was slated for potential
closure. It was a tough process. But I distinctly remember a turning point in
student, staff and parent morale. We had
arranged for my students to spend a half day with their grade level peers at
the new school. At the end of the day,
one of the grade 7 students danced into my office saying: “Ms Adams, their water fountains have chilled
water!” This was one of the funniest
comments, but each student had a story about the connection they had made to
their new school. Some recognized
children they knew from sports teams in the community, some were attracted to a
physical feature of the new school, others talked about a new friend.
All this to say… We are looking forward to the next
steps in our student learning and school accommodation planning.