Updated January 27, 2017
Over the next 5 years the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) will be conducting student learning and pupil accommodation reviews that will cover most geographic areas across Ottawa.
What does this mean?
This means we are reviewing our schools, programs and student enrolment to ensure we have sustainable and vibrant learning environments. There will be recommendations for change; this may include changes in grade structure at a particular school (eg. K-5 school becomes K-6), changes in program offerings (eg. adding or removing Middle or Early French Immersion), changes in school boundaries, and in some cases school closure.
Why are we doing these reviews?
The purpose of the Western Area Pupil Accommodation Review is to provide solutions to how best realign programs and services to support student achievement and well-being within available resources. The review provides proposals for the change in organization of schools, programs and services which support:
· more equitable access to program offerings;
· greater consistency in school size;
· school configurations of grades JK-6, 7-12 and grades JK-8, 9-12;
· enriched program offering wherever possible;
· enhanced capacity to deliver special education programs using the geographic model;
· alignment of schools to support the Secondary School Program Framework and the draft Elementary School Program Framework; and,
· optimization of available resources.
The Ministry of Education funds schools on a per-student basis. And in some areas of Ottawa, our OCDSB schools are operating at less than 60% capacity where others are operating at more than 100% capacity. Therefore to help keep education funds focused on student needs, we must manage the costs associated with empty space in schools. These reviews are the process that school districts must use in order to make decisions about school accommodation planning including school closures.
The proposals for change will result in wider program opportunities for students at the District level, better consolidation of support services for students, more equitable access to programs of choice and facilities that are in better condition to support student learning.
The purpose of the Eastern Secondary Area Pupil Accommodation Review is to provide solutions to how best realign programs and services to support student achievement and well-being within available resources. The review provides a proposal for change that supports:
· more equitable access to program offerings;
· the alignment of programs to the secondary school program framework;
· enriched breadth of program offerings to support student achievement;
· enhanced learning environment for students;
· more equitable access to programs of choice in a robust facility;
· better consolidation of support services for students; and,
· the optimization of available resources.
When will the reviews take place?
In September 2016, the first two reviews began; the Western Area review and the Eastern Secondary review. The Western Area review, includes Bell, Merivale, Sir Robert Borden and Woodroffe Secondary Schools and the 22 elementary schools and the Eastern Secondary Review, includes Gloucester, Colonel By and Rideau High Schools. These areas were chosen due to the accommodation pressures and school utilization rates and the opportunities to enhance student learning and consolidate excess pupil space by September 2017.
How will decisions be made?
On September 7, 2016, staff presented a report on each review area. That report included a recommended plan for change. Parents, students, staff and community members will have an opportunity to learn more about the recommended plan and to provide feedback. An advisory committee was established made up of school council representatives in each of the review areas. There were two large public meetings in each review area which anyone could attend. There were opportunities to provide feedback electronically as well.
The Board of Trustees will consider all input for the Western Area Review at the Committee of the Whole on February 13, 2017 and will make final decisions on March 1, 2017.
The Board of Trustees will consider all input for the Eastern Secondary Review on February 15, 2017 with final decisions to be made on March 7, 2017.
The OCDSB recognizes that the prospect of any change and especially school closures may create stress and uncertainty within our parents, staff and community members. It will be important for all of us to work together in the interest of student learning to make these difficult decisions.