A look at what’s going into the amalgamation of mt. Begbie and Mountain View Elementary schools
The Revelstoke school district announced the name of the new elementary school last week. They chose Begbie View Elementary – an amalgamation of the names of the two schools that will be merged, Mt. Begbie and Mountain View.
That’s one item superintendent Anne Cooper can cross off her lengthy list of things to do in preparation of merging the two schools for the start of next school year. I sat down with her last week to discuss the issue. She went over everything from equipment to staffing to students.
“To start off with we’ve developed a really comprehensive work plan,” she said, pulling up a long spreadsheet on her computer. “The work plan is basically everything from soup to nuts.”
A few items such as the name have been decided. As well, Shan Jorgenson-Adam is returning to the district to be the principal. She starts on May 14, when she will take over at Mt. Begbie Elementary, where the principal is away for health reasons.
Still, that just scratches the surface on Cooper’s ‘To Do’ list. There’s a work plan for staffing and another for structuring the school day. There are plans being worked out to create school handbooks and set out school processes.
The two codes of conducts need to be merged, as do the Parent Advisory Committees (one joint meeting was held and more are scheduled). An equipment inventory is being worked on to see what can be moved to the new school and what needs to be bought.
“There will be a whole slew of tasks around re-branding – the school identity, school awards, school logo, school mascots and annual key events,” Cooper said. “We’ll be getting staff and PAC feedback on all those issues.”
Talks have begun with the local support staff union and Revelstoke Teachers’ Association about staffing. For the former, some people will lose their jobs; for the latter, Cooper anticipates little change, saying its driven by enrolment.
Cooper quickly touched on everything, but I had to ask her about one significant issue – amalgamating two student bodies. The new school is expected to have about 265 students, making it the largest in the school district.
She said the key will be to make it a true amalgamation, rather than a take over of one school from the other. In that case, lessons learned from the merge of Big Eddy Elementary and Columbia Park Elementary will be used.
She talked about having students taking part in crafting the school code of conduct and create a new logo. There is also talk of a joint art project between the students of the two existing schools.
“I think we’re going to get a terrific amount of involvement from the kids and they’ll feel some ownership right away for something that’s really new,” she said. “This represents a huge opportunity for kids to work with, to learn with and make friendships with.”