PAC representative Sabine Cooperman speaks during a school board meeting held on March 13 at Clearwater Secondary School to discuss whether the Grade 7 class should be moved there from Raft River Elementary. The general consensus was that the parents feel comfortable with the proposal, she reported.

PAC representative Sabine Cooperman speaks during a school board meeting held on March 13 at Clearwater Secondary School to discuss whether the Grade 7 class should be moved there from Raft River Elementary. The general consensus was that the parents feel comfortable with the proposal, she reported.

Meeting looks at moving Grade 7s to CSS

Final decision won’t be made until school board meeting on April 23

Should the Grade 7 class be transferred from Raft River Elementary to Clearwater Secondary?

School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) will continue to gather feedback from various interest groups, including the students at Raft River Elementary School on that question.

That seemed to be the outcome of a public input meeting held by the school board at CSS on Tuesday evening, March 13.

The meeting was held to discuss whether next year’s Grade 7 class, which otherwise would continue at Raft River, should instead attend Clearwater Secondary.

“Please know this is a concept only. No decision has been made,” board chair Meghan Wade told the approximately 40 parents, students and teaching staff in the audience.

The school board will make the final decision during its meeting on April 23.

READ MORE: School board looking at moving Grade 7s to CSS (Dec. 12, 2017)

The idea for the transfer originally came from community members in Clearwater, Barriere and Chase, said school superintendent Alison Sidow.

The trustees and principals heard the idea, saw possible benefits in it, and now are looking for feedback.

The idea would basically be to create Grade 7 and 8 cohort as a mini-mid school within the secondary school.

This would allow greater opportunities to organize for problem-based learning.

If people say they would prefer to stay with the status quo, that would be fine, the superintendent said, as there is good learning happening already.

On the other hand, if people say the school district should go ahead with the change, she is confident it would be good for the students.

CSS principal Darren Coates said he answered over one hour of questions during an information session held at the school in February.

The feedback he had gotten from students council was they didn’t think there would be a problem, other than that they expected the Grade 7s would be noisy, like the Grade 8s, and that they would need mentoring from older students.

A survey of teaching staff did not show much concern either, with the only comment received saying the school would need more teachers if there were more students.

Feedback from parents centered on three areas of concern: athletics, timetabling and social and emotional considerations.

A rule that students can only participate in secondary school athletics would not be a worry as it does not apply to Grade 7 students, he said.

Arrangements could be made that the Grade 7 students could participate in athletics at Raft River.

Some of the sports teams at CSS, such as the girls’ soccer team, are open to all grades, he pointed out.

Others, such as boys’ rugby, are definitely for senior students only

None of the Grade 7 students on the North Shore in Kamloops attend elementary schools, he said.

As for timetabling, the plan likely would be to “pod” the Grade 7 and 8 students together to give them a wide variety of experiences.

“They could try everything and then take more specialized electives in the senior grades,” Coates said.

Having a different bell schedule for different age groups was tried at another school and turned out to be a disaster, he reported.

An existing mentoring program at CSS could be expanded to help deal with the social and emotional aspects, he felt.

For example, poor readers are paired with students from Grade 11 or 12 for silent reading.

Informal teaching assistants help out in the junior grades.

CSS has an active students council, which provides an opportunity for younger and older students to get to know each other.

Otherwise, he didn’t expect there would be a lot of interaction between the different age groups.

In response to a parent who was concerned about the older students being a bad influence on the younger ones, the CSS principal noted that, in a small school, it is pretty easy to know who is who.

Clearwater Secondary was built for well over 400 students but now has 185, he pointed out.

“We are blessed we have lots of space,” he said. “We definitely have room for the Grade 7s.”

Raft River principal Lori Bradstock said the Grade 6 students seemed a bit nervous about the possible transfer but that she had not heard a strong voice either way from students.

“I’m not going to let him steal teachers,” she said, referring to the possible movement of staff to the secondary school, but she added that there is always some change of staff between school years.

Some parents had told her they were concerned about the lack of playground equipment at CSS as compared to RRES.

Bradstock pointed out that the equipment is mostly used by the younger students.

The older students were more likely to want to take a soccer ball outside and play on the field (once the snow is gone).

While there is no need to move the Grade 7s out, with 280 students, Raft River is essentially full, she said.

Parallel meetings were to be held in Barriere and Chase the following evenings.



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Raft River principal Lori Bradstock speaks to members of the School District 73 board. Listening are (l-r) chair Meghan Wade, Gerald Watson, Rhonda Kershaw, Kathleen Karpuk, Joseph Small, Shelley Sim, Care McKelvey, and Joan Cowden.

Raft River principal Lori Bradstock speaks to members of the School District 73 board. Listening are (l-r) chair Meghan Wade, Gerald Watson, Rhonda Kershaw, Kathleen Karpuk, Joseph Small, Shelley Sim, Care McKelvey, and Joan Cowden.