A lot of things changed when the Annapolis, Kings and West Hants school boards amalgamated back in the 1990s, and a lot of things have changed since.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the school catchment boundaries in the Kingston-Greenwood area. The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board feels it’s time the boundaries were re-examined, and they're right.
Back when the AVRSB was created, and prior to that, Greenwood looked a lot different than it does now.
The two remaining Greenwood schools, Dwight Ross and R.C. Gordon – two other schools on the Greenwood base had already closed – were located in an area pretty much surrounded by permanent military quarters (PMQs).
Today, those houses are no longer there. R.C. Gordon is now Ecole Rose des Vents, a Francophone school under the control of the provincial Francophone school board.
Dwight Ross is now an elementary school, housing Grade P-5, and is actually located within the Kingston and District Elementary catchment area.
The population of 14 Wing Greenwood is less than it was even 20 years ago, and the population demographic has shifted. Today, many military families live off-base, many of them within the boundaries of the Village of Kingston.
A couple of years ago, the AVRSB commissioned a long-range planning study called Successful Schools for Successful Students. Among its recommendations was that the school boundaries for the three elementary schools – Dwight Ross, Kingston and Annapolis East – whose catchment areas straddle the Kings-Annapolis County line be revisited.
Such a boundary review makes sense, particularly in that students who live almost within sight of Dwight Ross school are currently being bussed to Middleton, simply because they happen to reside in Annapolis County.
AVRSB Superintendent Margo Tait suggests that with the entire Valley now part of a single school board, county boundaries no longer apply.
As part of the boundary review, public meetings will be held at each of the three schools. An online feedback component will also be available. With each school having a link to its website, and a link provided to the AVRSB website as well, parents, guardians and other educational stakeholders interested in being part of the process can provide feedback online.
It’s one more example of how the education system is evolving, and how the school board is using technology, already a big part of the school experience, to make it easier for parents and guardians to be hands-on participants in the system.
After input is obtained, the board will meet to develop options for consideration. Stakeholders will then have another opportunity for feedback, both in person and online. Final recommendations are expected to be ready for the board to deal with at its June, 2014 meeting.
Tait stressed there are no plans to close any of the three schools in question, or alter their grade configuration from P-5. As well, the regional French Immersion program will remain at Kingston.
Tait said the board has no preconceived notions of what the outcome of the review might be. There might not ended up being any changes at all, but whatever happens, at least local stakeholders will have had their say.