‘It’s go­ing to be a big change’

Mid­dle school model means many stu­dents will be switch­ing schools

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAURA JEAN GRANT

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.”

LAURA JEAN GRANT/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

MacPhail

Mom­bour­quette

Bowles

Mac­Don­ald

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