Carman’s Grade 6 students will be going through a bit of a change this year as the Prairie Rose School Division has officially bumped the students to Carman Collegiate for the 2018-19 school year.
“It’ll be a change but the staff and administration at Carman Collegiate have spent a great deal preparing and a lot of transition-work was done in the springtime to support the students with the adjustment,” said Superintendent, Terry Osiowy. “We’re moving the majority of the students together in one facility to allow us to have more program planning and development for our Grade 6-8 students at Carman Collegiate. Focusing and bringing the students together was one of the main reasons we’ve done this.”
Grade 6 teachers that were previously at Carman Elementary have been moved over to Carman Collegiate. The board made the decision to move in this direction in January and presented it to the public in March. Middle years is Grades 5 to 8 and Carman had Grades 5-6 in one building and Grades 7-8 in another, so this will help bring the students together.
“We want to make sure our focus is with literacy and numeracy development, the social and mental well-being of the students, and getting kids ready for high school so that they’re successful particularly students going into grade 9,” said Osiowy. “Middle years kids need really engaging programs and a lot of it comes down to the facility and the resources and Carman Collegiate has to offer.”
Carman Collegiate has a lot of space compared to Carman Elementary. The building once housed close to 700 students and it currently sits around 300 with Grades 7 to 12. There is a large, beautiful theatre, a very big gymnasium, industrial arts and home economics programs, and a state of the art science lab all located within the collegiate. The division is trying to strengthen the middle years programming the facility can offer in terms of providing a structure to match the kids with the resources.
“The other thing we have there that we felt was important to support our middle year’s kids is the additional personnel there,” he said. “We have a career counsellor there, and that’s what the province wants to see more career education at the middle years level, the Addictions Foundation also has a staff member around that can help out too.”
Carman Elementary was running out of space with the Grade 6 class remaining behind, which meant no flexibility in terms of proactive in their planning. With the change, Carman Elementary now has the ability to look at all their programming for student’s needs with some extra space. As Carman Elementary grew a computer room was shut down to accommodate a large number of students.
Carman schools are running the largest class sizes across the division and they’re looking at restructuring everything to bring more balance to the classrooms. Some parents were concerned through the consultation process everything was worked out as the reasons behind the change were explained.
“It was a challenge but we learned a lot from the process,” adds Osiowy. “Our staff that have worked at both schools have responded positively and they’re looking forward to the change. As last year moved forward people seemed to be more comfortable with the idea, there will be some anxious eyes watching but as a division, we need to support Carman Collegiate as we move forward with this decision.”
Middle years students are back to classes September 5, while Grades 9-12 return September 6.