By Anne Cooper, superintendent, Revelstoke School District
Another school year is underway. This year we celebrated the opening of our glorious Begbie View Elementary School. Many citizens will recall that this school opening culminates our two-school closure plan that we set in place in 2002 with the closure of Big Eddy Elementary School.
Fewer facilities will support sustaining the level of programs and services that the district currently enjoys. Fewer facilities, especially with the condition of the two new schools, also makes it possible to now invest in our two older elementary facilities, Columbia Park and Arrow Heights.
Despite the declining enrollment in our district over the past decade, from 1,600 students to 1,000 students, our Board has placed the budget priority squarely on services to children in our schools. This focus has brought about phenomenal success.
Our small little community boasts the highest graduation rates in the province over the past two years. Our children in grades four and seven are reading in the top five per cent of their peers provincially. Children with unique needs have programs and services unheard of in many communities. Our students are respectful, caring and responsible citizens in our schools.
The partnerships that we have forged to support early learners have paid off immensely, with Revelstoke’s children being the least vulnerable in the province for the past eight years.
The support that our community provides young children and their families makes the difference for them being successful in school, rather than struggling with school.
Community literacy initiatives support all of our learners, K-12 and beyond.
We are now finalizing our Performing Arts Center management plan with our colleagues from the Revelstoke Arts Council and look forward to an outstanding relationship to utilize this facility to its fullest.
Begbie View Elementary houses a brand new early learning hub, which opened on Monday, Sept. 10, a real asset to sustain the work we are doing in early learning.
Another Neighborhood Learning Center space for gymnastics will open the following week and we are looking forward to our partnership with the Revelstoke Acrobats to ensure that our children and youth have opportunities that many of their counterparts in other small communities can only dream of.
Yes, it is a school system we all can be proud of.
Anne Cooper has been the superintendent of the Revelstoke School District since 1999. She is retiring at the end of the current school year.