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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Meeting On Moving Saugeen Shores Students

Saugeen Shores | by John Divinski  

About 200 parents were at a meeting to talk about moving grade 7s and 8s to high school.

Photo By John Divinski 

The Bluewater Board of Education information meeting on moving Grades 7 & 8 students in Port Elgin to Saugeen District Secondary School brought out a couple of hundred parents and students to hear about the plan at the high school.

This time there were arguments on both sides of the ledger.

You may recall a similar meeting in Kincardine last week did not get a good report card.

In Port Elgin, there were certainly a lot of challenges to using excess space at SDSS for senior elementary grades that would free up classroom space for projected growth in primary grade students.

The difference is there was also support for the plan from those at the meeting.

Concerns included safety of students, the layout of the classrooms and lack of a definitive plan for the September 2019 transition.

Parent Katt Wilson, who has a student in Grade 11, says some of the high school population is naturally upset with the pending change and the board and the parents need to talk to the students about how the plan will work.

Wilson says if they can help high school students understand why the change is taking place, it will make for an improved environment for all students affected by the transition.

Todd Warnell, who has two children that will be going to SDSS next year, says he's confident the students will be safe because he has confidence in the teacher's commitment to safety that he believes will continue, despite the change in the building.

Colin Rideout handed in a petition with close to 300 names on it saying they were against turning SDSS into a Grade 7 to 12 school.

Rideout, who has a daughter going to the school next year, is not necessarily against the change but is concerned about the planning that has gone into it so far.

He feels it's a little vague and could affect the new student population next Fall.

On the other hand, parent Laura Howland says she attended a Grade 7 to 12 school, growing up in Oakville, Ontario and recalls the experience as a positive one.

She admits the transition plan in Port Elgin will have its challenges but with careful planning and discussion, the program should work.

Any transition to SDSS will affect Grade 7 & 8 students in Northport and Saugeen Central schools in Port Elgin only.

G. C. Huston school in Southampton is not part of the process.

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