2016-2017 is indeed a banner year for our learning community as when we close our doors on Friday, June 23, 2017, Beachy Cove will have graduated its last classes of grade five and six learners.
When I joined the Beachy Cove learning community twelve years ago, our learner population hovered around 450; however, it was during this twelve year period that we witnessed unprecedented growth in our population and conversely, unprecedented shrinking of space in our school in which we were to work and learn. There were nineteen classrooms back then and as we close this coming June, we have thirty-five. Along with construction which saw the addition of nine rooms (six permanent and three modulars), we also converted our cafeteria space into two classrooms and we utilized what were designed to be tutorial rooms as regular classrooms. Finally, since just after Christmas this year we began to use a space in our library to accommodate a group of grade five learners. Suffice it to say, we are now fully and completely out of space.
Thankfully, through the lobbying efforts of our school council and our school district, the provincial government committed the necessary funding to construct a brand new educational facility in our town to accommodate learners from grades five through nine. While it has been a long time coming, we ought to share a collective pride in this fantastic achievement both for our learners and the town itself. The Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is a growing vibrant community and this investment in educational infrastructure is testament to this growth and to the sense of community which is so palpable here.
Our school will be staffed with 10.75 fewer teachers next year and we will have 27 classrooms as opposed to our current 35. The whole dynamic of our learning community will also change as we move from serving learners up to grade six to now serving learners up to grade four. This marks a radical change in the make up of our school as we will no longer have the buzz and excitement of our adolescents in our mix. Our grade fours will now hone their unique leadership skills as they take over the most senior roles in our school and that will have tremendously positive dividends for them.
There’s one area in which we are not anticipating changes and that is in parental support. Our families have been incredibly patient as we witnessed our population increase and our learning spaces shrink and for that we are immensely grateful. We thrive because of our strong partnership with our families and we know that given the importance they place upon formal education, we know that support will continue into the future.
2017-2018 will be characterized by reinvention. We will reinvent ourselves in terms of grade configurations, available spaces, and with our own personnel. The professional face of Beachy Cove will shortly undergo a metamorphosis as we say good bye to some of our colleagues who will not be with us next year. Many of the staff that remain with us will be assigned different teaching responsibilities from that which they currently have by virtue of us becoming a K-4 school. On your behalf, I thank each and every one of them for their immense contributions to our learning community during their time with us.
I look forward to September and leading our reinvention with a truly dedicated and committed team of teachers and support staff.
Thanks for reading.