Thursday, September 11, 2008

A third high school set to open in February

A new name and a new focus seems to be on the agenda for Pacific Coast School, the third high school for the city which will open its doors in February in the Cow Bay area of town.

And while the name may eventually evolve into a different moniker, the direction of the schools agenda will remain similar to it's predecessor, there will be new ideas in place to offer a variety of options and challenges to students who have had difficulty in the more established curriculum of the city's other two high schools.

Taking away the stigma of being identified as an "alternate school", the Pacific Coast School will have a staff of five to help guide the anticipated 50 students expected to enroll for February to take courses ranging from Grade eight to twelve, allowing students to achieve their Dogwood certificate or Adult Graduation certificates.

The Daily News featured a front page, headline story inw Wednesday's paper, with some background on the plans of the School District for the school, outlined by Principal Steve Riley.

Rupert's third high school will offer range of new options and ideas for its students
The Daily News
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Pages one and two

Prince Rupert will have a third secondary school in operation come February, which School District 52 hopes will provide more options for students working toward graduation.

The principal of School District 52's new and revamped alternate school Steve Riley made a special presentation to school board trustees at last night's first regular meeting of the 2008-09 school year, outlining an initial plan for how the school will operate when the doors open in February 2009.

As reported last month, the new school will be housed on the east side of Sea Sport building on First Avenue East in 4,000 square feet, with room to expand should enrollment surpass expectations in the future.

"We have an initial name, which is the Pacific Coast School," said Riley. "It's not written in stone, but it gives us a moniker which we can hang our hats on.

"Because of the concept of this school, we wanted to get away from the word 'alternate' and the connotations it has of 'less hope' or 'less chance.'"

There will be five full-time staff members at the school including Riley, with three teachers and one support staff worker to meet the needs of the anticipated 40 to 50 students that will begin classes in February.

Pacific Coast School will teach students from Grades 8 through 12, and will enable them to achieve either their Dogwood certificate or Adult Graduation certificate.

Riley said students will have access to various models of vocational training that will have the benefit to tying into the Provincial Apprenticeship Program, and that the school's location couldn't be better situated for students to take advantage of those skilled trades opportunities.

"Because we've got to be relying on a very flexible and accommodating approach for students, by utilizing technology, we're going to be able to offer some courses in computer technology and other academic disciplines for students who perhaps have problems with physics in high school," said Riley.

"Especially for our Grade 8 and 9 students, we're going to provide a type of education which is tailored to further developing individual and interpersonal growth," said Riley.

"Because we are small, it also allows us to build programs that capture children's imaginations in different ways."

Riley reported that Sea Sport planned to turn over the space to School District 52 within the next week.

A good portion of the materials and resources needed for the school will be coming from the closed schools Kanata and Seal Cove, and in the coming weeks and months Riley and other staff will be engaging prospective students to find out what programs they want at Pacific Coast School.
"We're going to start in small steps because we want to get it right," stressed Riley.

"I think the success of the program and the students in it will lead to it's growth. I hope that it won't be a last option, but rather a first choice for students."

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