Kimberley’s schools may have a very different configuration in the future

; Public meeting on Oct. 6, 7 p.m. at McKim Middle School

Rocky Mountain School District No. 6

Kimberley’s schools may have a very different configuration in the future as Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 Board and staff sift through a draft Long Term Facilities Plan prepared by Planning Works Consulting.

The LTFP, which is required by the Ministry of Education, outlines facilities in each of the three SD6 zones and looks at the configuration and needs of each building.

And right off the bat, there is an indication that Kimberley’s schools — which are currently comprised of two K to 3 elementary schools, one 4 to 7 middle school and an 8 to 12 secondary school — may be changing.

The report states that the desired grade configuration is K to 7 for elementary schools and 8 to 12 for secondary. The report cites research which indicates that transitioning to new schools is difficult, and there is significant achievement loss during those transition years. Research cited also shows that sixth graders in K to 8 and K to 12 schools generally out-perform those in middle schools, and that early adolescent girls can experience self-esteem issues as they transition into middle schools.

The population of the entire Kimberley Zone is 8,398 (2014) and is project to hold fairly steady through 2025.

Lindsay Park Elementary in Townsite is operating at capacity, Marysville and McKim are just under capacity, and Selkirk is only at 67 per cent of capacity.

The report says that Kimberley students from one neighbourhood can currently attend three different schools — not efficient for busing. Populations in Lindsay Park and Marysville are likely to gradually decline over the next ten years, while McKim stays steady. Selkirk will increase as the larger elementary school cohort moves up. But overall, there will be flat or declining enrolment at all Kimberley schools over the next decade.

The LTFP offers three options for Kimberley and the preferred is option A. This option converts all three schools to elementary K to 7 schools, and students would attend those schools depending on which neighbourhood they live in. Selkirk would remain an 8 to 12.

Option B would see Lindsay Park become a K to 5 and the other two K to 7. Option C would be to reopen Blarchmont and make it, Lindsay Park and Marysville K to 7 and convert McKim to a secondary school. This would close Selkirk, which is due for replacement.

The report does indicate Option A is the most likely. You can read the entire report at http://www.sd6.bc.ca/docs/governance/FINAL_DRAFT_LTFP_SEP_8_2016.pdf

If you would like to offer some feedback on the plan, the Board is hosting public meetings in all three zones. Kimberley’s meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 6 at 7 p.m. at McKim School.