Re­zon­ing readi­ness for new school year

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

It’s al­most time for stu­dents to head back to class, but some ed­u­ca­tion em­ploy­ees have been work­ing all sum­mer to en­sure ev­ery­thing is ready for the up­com­ing aca­demic year.

Teach­ers, school ad­min­is­tra­tors and even con­struc­tion crews have been on the job since last spring to en­sure public schools af­fected by re­zon­ing are ready for the new con­fig­u­ra­tions of stu­dents.

This has meant sig­nif­i­cant work in some schools, no­tably West Kent, Don­agh Re­gional and Birch­wood In­ter­me­di­ate.

Paving to add space to park­ing lots at Birch­wood and West Kent was com­pleted, walls of some class­rooms were shifted, equip­ment such as desks and chairs have been moved be­tween schools and more com­put­ers have been added to some class­rooms.

Over­all, the phys­i­cal tran­si­tions of these schools will cost $100,000.

“It’s been a sig­nif­i­cant piece of work, for sure,” said John Cum­mings, director of cor­po­rate ser­vices for the Public Schools Branch.

Ap­prox­i­mately 1,200 stu­dents across Prince Ed­ward Is­land are be­ing moved to dif­fer­ent schools in Septem­ber as a re­sult of re­zon­ing de­ci­sions made by the board of direc­tors of the Public Schools Branch last April.

The big­gest zon­ing changes are hap­pen­ing in Char­lot­te­town and Strat­ford.

In Char­lot­te­town, West Kent has be­come a dual track school, of­fer­ing both English and French im­mer­sion pro­gram­ming.

This will mean an in­flux of stu­dents from across the city, many of whom were at­tend­ing Spring Park.

Birch­wood is also get­ting an in­flux of new stu­dents from Strat­ford. Those who live in the Glen Ste­wart/Strat­ford El­e­men­tary zone were re­zoned from Stonepark, which was strug­gling with over­ca­pac­ity is­sues, to Birch­wood for Grades 7-9.

The pre­vi­ous dual zone of Glen Ste­wart and Don­agh was elim­i­nated and added to the Don­agh catch­ment. This means Don­agh is also get­ting more stu­dents who were pre­vi­ously at­tend­ing Glen Ste­wart and Strat­ford El­e­men­tary.

A num­ber of other more mi­nor zon­ing changes were also made across the province.

Some par­ents were un­happy with the changes and com­plained about their chil­dren hav­ing to move, but school of­fi­cials have been strictly en­forc­ing zon­ing catch­ments.

Cum­mings says many of the schools af­fected by re­zon­ing have held open houses for in­com­ing stu­dents and par­ents to help them feel wel­come and to fa­mil­iar­ize them with the prop­er­ties.

Stu­dents across the province will re­turn to class on Sept. 7.

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