Consultation in process for middle school grades

Sun Peaks Elementary could soon be home to grades eight and nine. Photo SPIN

School District 73 (SD73) is considering adding grades eight and nine to Sun Peaks Elementary school.

The change was requested by the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES), which operates the Sun Peaks Secondary Academy, currently home to grades eight to twelve. SPES is mainly funded by the community, as opposed to public monies. 

SD73 is also suggesting adopting a five day school week instead of the current four days and to change the name from Sun Peaks Elementary to Sun Peaks School.

On Dec. 16 the SD73 board passed a motion to accept the recommended changes and initiate a consultation process with the Sun Peaks community in January. 

While the five day school week has proved controversial with local parents, a memo from SD73 explained the provincially legislated annual classroom hours for grades eight and nine (952 hours a year) do not fit in a four day week. 

Because the upper grades require more time, SD73 recommended all grades attend five days per week to ensure consistency for parents with students in different grades and ease of scheduling shared instruction times for staff and students. It would also shorten days for younger students which, SD73 said in a report on the integration, is optimal for learning. 

Should the two grades be integrated, the school will need another portable building to accommodate students and another full time teacher. 

The public consultation meeting will take place on Monday, Jan. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Hearthstone Lodge.