Reducing triple grades for Arthur Henderson Public School and Central Algoma Elementary School

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At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Superintendent Marcy Bell reviewed the transition plan for junior grades (4, 5, 6) from Arthur Henderson Public School (AHPS) in Bruce Mines to Central Algoma Elementary School (CAES) in Desbarats.  She provided the background and context for the decision to the Board of Trustees.

Earlier in April, an information night was held at Arthur Henderson to discuss the organization for 2016 / 2017. At this meeting, Algoma District School Board (ADSB) Senior Administration shared the proposed organizations for Arthur Henderson Public School and Central Algoma Elementary School based on enrollment. Between the two schools, five of eight classes (124 of 190 students) would be in triple grade classrooms for the 2016 / 2017, a situation that Senior Administration noted could be avoided.

At this meeting, the recommendation from the Accommodation Review Process which culminated in June 2013 was also reviewed, which noted that Senior Administration would monitor AHPS’s enrolment, program and multi-grade situation in the future. At this time, the community was advised that Senior Administration was proposing to move:

“…a division within a school without entering a formal accommodation review process, when the enrolment in the grade(s), or programs constitutes less than 50% of the enrolment of the school. Additionally, Senior Administration could move forward and consolidate a division (i.e. Junior Division), should they feel that the numbers are too low and students in Johnson Tarbutt Public School (currently Central Algoma Elementary School) and Arthur Henderson Public School would be better served by consolidating a group of students.” (as per Ministry legislation)

By consolidating the Junior Division (Grades 4, 5, and 6) from the two schools at Central Algoma Elementary School and by adding one additional classroom teacher to the eight currently allocated between both sites, all of the triple grades at both schools are eliminated and there are straight Grade 4, 5 and 6 classes for 2016 / 2017. Senior administration offered that this move is in the best interests of the academic programming for students, and that the proposal would be brought to the Board of Trustees.

At the April 5, 2016 regular Board meeting, the Board approved the organization for 2016 / 2017 which included this Junior Division consolidation (Grades 4-6) at Central Algoma Elementary School. A transition plan (from April to September) has been developed and school administration will work closely with School Councils, staff, parents and students to support and ensure our students’ well-being with this move.

Parents and community members are encouraged to attend the monthly School Council meetings and upcoming events at both schools which will provide opportunities to ask questions and provide input into supporting this transition.