‘It’s going to be a big change’
Middle school model means many students will be switching schools
Grading day marked the end of a school year and the beginning of one of transition for hundreds of students impacted by the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board’s move to the middle school model.
With many junior high schools set to become home to Grade 6 to Grade 8 and many high schools to house Grade 9 to Grade 12, students who were in Grade 5 and Grade 8 this year will find themselves in new schools in September — a year earlier than expected.
It meant grading day on Tuesday was one of mixed emotions.
“Nervous and excited,” summed up Grade 5 Mira Road Elementary student Freda Whitall, when asked how she felt about making the transition to Malcolm Munroe school. “I’m excited about going off to a new school and getting to meet new friends.”
Fellow Grade 5 student Ryley Forget is also headed to Malcolm Munroe.
“It’s going to be a big change,” he said. “It’s a bigger school.”
Even for Grade 6 students like Madison Mrazek, moving to the middle school will be a transition.
“I think it’s going to be a big change,” she said, noting she’s looking forward to meeting new people and being enrolled in the French immersion program.
At Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High, Grade 8 student Madalina MacPhail said she would have liked to remain at the junior high for her Grade 9 year, but noted the move to Sydney Academy will be made easier by the fact that most of her classmates are headed to the same school.
“(I’m looking forward to) seeing all my friends again, they’re all going to be there,” she said.
Fellow Grade 8 student Daniel Bowles will be going to Grade 9 in the French immersion program at Riverview High School. He said he’s adjusted to the idea of attending a high school next year.
“I was nervous because I obviously didn’t expect it, but I’m not really anymore,” he said.
The new grade configurations will also be a transition for staff at the affected schools.
“There’s been a lot of preparation in a short period of time,” said Whitney Pier Memorial principal Art MacDonald. “We’ve been doing a lot of planning and in-servicing, and then we’re moving into delivery of that model in Sept emb er, which is going to be a whole different experience.” But MacDonald, who officially retired Tuesday, won’t be around to see the school in its new composition.
“It feels kinda strange. It hasn’t really sunk in completely that this is my last day,” he said. “But I’m pretty excited for what’s to come.”
Mira Road Elementary principal Paul Mombourquette said there will be an adjustment for the students moving to the middle school but noted that staff have worked hard to prepare them for it.
“It’s going to be interesting in September seeing the new dynamic with the elementary school with P-5 and more so with the middle school having Grades 6-8,” he said. “The middle school concept, I think it’s going to be great for the kids. It looks a lot more like the elementary model as opposed to the high school model that the junior high usually looked like.”
Mira Road Elementary School Grade 6 student Madison Mrazek and Grade 5 students Ryley Forget and Freda Whitall walked the halls of the school for the final time Tuesday, as all three are moving on to Malcolm Munroe next year.