Monday, November 24, 2008

Planning on track for newest learning location for School District 52

They're into the final steps of preparation over on 1st Avenue East as School District 52's newest addition to the learning curve gets ready to open its doors.

The Pacific Coast School will welcome its students in February, offering a new destination for those that have found that the past initiatives didn't always engage them in an effective manner.

The School which will host students from Grades 8 to 12 as well as adult learners seeking a return to the educational system will be set up in a space beside the Sea Sport Marine building at 1st Avenue East and Third East in the Cow Bay area of the city.

Friday's Daily News outline the plans for the new school and how the instructors hope the program they have created will reap rewards once the doors open.

City's newest school begins to take shape
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, November 21, 2008

Page five

With less than three months left until the first students begin class at Prince Rupert's new Pacific Coast School, staff are confident their new students will be "blown away" by the education offered.

Taking a different approach to high school for Grade 8 to 12 and adult students, the school will make social-emotional learning a priority with the goal of engaging students and helping them create an attachment to their education and field of study.

While Pacific Coast will still focus on helping students having little success in traditional settings as did previous alternative education models, the school staff will cater to students needing teacher-led, individual-based learning, including accelerated courses.

"Our target is for students who don't fit inside the box, and it's open to all," said teacher Doug Brown. "We're not pigeon-holing it."

Brown and fellow teacher Miguel Borges, along with school principal Steve Riley have been busy preparing the curriculum and physical layout of the new school that will be housed on the east side of the Sea Sport building on First Avenue East. On Tuesday night Brown and Borges made a presentation to the School District 52 board, updating trustees and senior management on how the 4,000-square-foot space will operate when the doors open to students in February 2009.

The building will have an open-concept design, with windows and glass walls separating the three learning areas to give students an inclusive and less isolated learning environment.
Students will also have access to a kitchen, mini-gym and showers, and a high-tech studio utilizing multimedia for learning. Camps and outdoor excursions will be woven into the fabric of learning and utilized when possible, and students can expect to engage in a communal meal and council circle to begin each school day.

Brown and Borges told the school board they are excited to share the details of Pacific Coast School when they visit classrooms throughout the district, as they have taken the best aspects from various schools they visited in the Okanagan and Edmonton and incorporated them into their model.

Physical exercise will be incorporated into the everyday life of students, and because of the access students will have to the latest technology, there may be courses offered there that Prince Rupert Senior Secondary and Charles Hays Secondary School cannot offer.

School District 52 used $100,000 from the school closure savings to devote to the start of Pacific Coast School, most of which is being spent up-front on furnishings and technology.

Superintendent of Schools Eric Mercer said he believes the school will be sustainable with minimal additional cost after the start-up is complete.

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