Options (2018) and Community Consultation
Please note: The first 6 options below were proposed in June 2018. After examining the criteria (listed below) and the results from the thoughtexchange process, a 7th option emerged (proposed in February 2019). All of these options were discussed in detail at the May 1, 2019 Joint Council meeting. Explanations were given for why the first 6 options were not viable.
When considering the options listed below, it is important to keep in mind that after the renovation is completed, Stratford Central will have up to 300 fewer student spaces: as a result, SCSS will not be able to accommodate the same number of students currently attending. We must also keep in mind that the renovation is necessary to address structural concerns in the 1958 wing and to make the building accessible and that the Ministry funding is contingent on the Board utilizing available space at Stratford Northwestern.
In determining how to reduce student enrollment due to reduced capacity at SCSS, there are many important considerations: the impact on the breadth and depth of available programs, the effect on students in all academic streams, meeting the needs of students with special learning needs, students’ sense of belonging, their safety and well being, the impact on extracurricular activities, busing needs, the impact on the daily schedule, space and facility requirements, staffing requirements, ensuring that classes can be effectively timetabled, and many more. This is an incredibly complex challenge.
In light of all the above factors, here are the options that were considered.
Option One relies on boundary changes and concurrent registrations.* In this scenario, SCSS and SNSS would continue as 7-12 schools, but the attendance boundaries for Grade 7/8 would be enforced, meaning that students would attend the 7/8 site determined by where they live. This option would also mean the implementation of boundaries for students in Grades 9-12 to ensure that we have the necessary balance in student attendance between the two schools. Concurrent registration would be expanded, particularly for Grades 11/12 to ensure that students have access to specialty programs at each site. Both schools would remain as distinct schools, each with its own identity and student database**.
Option Two would see both schools remaining as 7-12 schools with boundary changes, program shifts and some concurrent registration.* This option would require the boundaries for Grade 7/8 students to be enforced as in Option One but would also see some specialized programs shifted from SCSS to SNSS. If program shifts result in sufficient numbers of students being moved to SNSS for all or part of their programs, then boundary implementation for 9-12 may not have to occur and there would be less need for concurrent registrations. In this option, both schools remain as distinct schools, each with its own identity and student database.**
Option Three would maintain SCSS and SNSS as distinct 7-12 schools, each with its own student database,** but the two schools would be timetabled as if they are one school. The two schools would be staffed as one with teachers moving between the two schools to offer programming. This would require a considerable amount of concurrent registration and would see students moving back and forth between sites in all periods as well.
Option Four sees SNSS as a 7-12 school and SCSS as a 9-12 school, with two separate databases** for the 9-12 sites, but only one Grade 7/8 database as all the 7/8 students would be at one site. (A variation on this option would see the 7/8 students in the French Immersion program remaining at SCSS, while most or all other 7/8 students shift to SNSS.) SCSS would receive its Grade 9 students after they have completed Grade 8 at SNSS. Some boundary adjustments are likely for this option in order to ensure the required balance in attendance numbers. Concurrent registration would be offered as well but it would not be as critical as a means of shifting students from SCSS to SNSS.
Option Five sees SNSS as a 7-12 school and SCSS as a 9-12 school but with one database only for both schools. The two schools are combined into one school with two campuses. There would be one database** for all the Grade 7/8 students and one database for all the Grade 9-12 students. As in Option Four SCSS would receive its Grade 9 students after they have completed Grade 8 at SNSS. There would be one timetable for all Grade 9-12 students with classes offered at both sites. While students could take classes at either or both sites, a major goal of timetabling would be to reduce the amount of travel required.
Option Six is a variation of Option Five, with the difference being that both schools would be 7-12 but they would be treated as one school with two campuses. There would again be one database** for 7/8 students and one database for 9-12 students. Teachers would be able to move between schools to offer program. While students could take classes at either or both sites, a major goal of timetabling would be to reduce the amount of travel required.
Option Seven would also be treated as a one school two campus model. Stratford Central would be converted to a middle school model, comprised of grades 7-9 and Stratford Northwestern into a senior secondary school with grades 10-12. The two schools will essentially become two campuses of one school without the need for students to travel back and forth between sites.
*Concurrent registration means that students who are registered in one of the two schools take courses at the other. It is important to keep in mind that for concurrent registration to work as a solution, it must happen in all periods of the school day in both semesters.
**Student database refers to the computerized register that is used to record student information, attendance, marks, etc. and is used to develop school timetables.
Transition (2019/2020 school year)
A transition year was required during construction when all students need to be out of SCSS and transferred over to SNSS. The key focus for planning was on the health and safety of staff and students, but there was also a need to minimize the disruption in learning and provide the best possible facility while in transition.
We used an online tool called thoughtexchange to gather broad public input regarding our Stratford Schools Renovation Project between October 22nd and November 5th, 2018. You can view the details and results by clicking on the links below.