THE WESTERN STAR
Tanya McFayden doesn't think she'll be the only person from the Port au Port Peninsula watching the next Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board public meeting.
That’s because the board, which meets Saturday, is currently in the midst of a review of the Stephenville and Piccadilly school systems and the issue of ongoing reviews throughout the province will be on the agenda.
McFayden, chair of the Stephenville Middle School Council, said around 30 people attended a recent meeting at which district staff members met with administrators and school council representatives.
That meeting came after the first round of online consultations for the schools in the Stephenville and Piccadilly area.
McFayden said most members of her school council took part in ThoughtExchange, the online consultation process engaged by the school board. She felt it was a good way of gathering data, but she’s pleased other input is being sought by the board before any decision is made regarding the schools.
Saturday's meeting in St. John’s is the regular public meeting of the board of trustees and will be live-streamed on the district website.
In an email, the board said the ThoughtExchange exercise will help the district provide an opportunity for all members of the school communities to participate in the decision-making process.
The district will now review and consider all input and provide options for the board of trustees to consider.
The board indicated no decisions will be made at the meeting and a second round of online consultations will take place if any proposed options involve school closures.
If closures are on the table, there will be a separate public meeting with the school community to discuss that possibility.
The final board decisions would then be made at a subsequent regular public board meeting, likely to be held in March.
Reviews were initiated due to a general decline in enrolment among schools within the system and are meant to ensure the best delivery of programs and services for students, according to the board.
This process will assist the board of trustees in determining what, if any adjustments should be made to Stephenville High and Piccadilly Central High school systems for the 2020-21 school year.
McFayden said public consultations will allow time for school councils and parents to get organized if there are changes coming.
She feels there is a proposal coming. She doesn’t know what it is, but is confident people from the different school councils in the area will be watching the developments closely.
“Really, it all comes down to the community and people being concerned with getting a quality education for their children,” she said.
The Stephenville High school system includes:
• St. Thomas Aquinas, Port au Port (Kindergarten to Grade 8) – enrollment 92.
• Stephenville Primary, Stephenville (Kindergarten to Grade 3) – enrollment 347.
• Stephenville Elementary, Stephenville (Grades 4 to 5) – enrollment 188.
• Stephenville Middle School, Stephenville (Grades 6 to 8) – enrollment 285.
• Stephenville High School, Stephenville (Grades 9 to Level IV) – enrollment 390.
• Pathfinder Learning Center, Stephenville (Level I to Level IV) – enrollment varies.
The Piccadilly Central High school system includes:
• Our Lady of the Cape, Cape St. George (Kindergarten to Grade 8) – enrollment 44.
• Lourdes Elementary, Lourdes (Kindergarten to Grade 8) – enrollment 162.
• Piccadilly Central High, Piccadilly (Grade 9 to Level IV) – enrollment 103.
Source: Newfoundland and Labrador English School District
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