classroom270 1Several transition activities and initiatives are underway to prepare students, their families, school staff and members of the community for a positive experience when Meaford area schools are reconfigured in September 2016.

The Meaford Naming Committee, which consists of student, parent, staff, trustee, and community representation, has selected a new school name to coincide with Georgian Bay Secondary School’s conversion to a Grades 4 to 12 facility.

The new name, which was determined through a recent public vote, will be recommended to Bluewater District School Board trustees for approval at the Regular Meeting of the Board on June 21 (the school board will reveal the new name after the June 21 meeting). The name will also apply when a replacement junior kindergarten to Grade 12 school is built to accommodate all Meaford area students thanks to $24.1 million in funding received from the Ministry of Education.

Transition meetings for the Grades 4 to 12 school continue to occur as staff work to address a number of items. Some of these include the organization of the parking area and main entrance for bus loading and unloading, the extension of cafeteria services to Grades 7 and 8 students, ensuring that each elementary class receives three periods of physical education in the gymnasium per week, the provision of lockers for students in all grades, and the coordination of a Developmental Learning classroom. Architects have also been working with board staff to ensure that adequate outside play space is available.

On Saturday, June 4, open houses were held at all three Meaford schools. Incoming Grades 4 to 8 and secondary students and their families were welcomed at Georgian Bay Secondary School to tour their soon-to-be new surroundings. The event at Meaford Community School served as a farewell and reunion of sorts, as current and former students, parents, and staff came for a final visit and to share memories in view of the school’s closure effective June 30. Elsewhere, St. Vincent-Euphrasia Elementary School hosted current and incoming junior kindergarten to Grade 3 students and families, including those who will be transferring from Meaford Community School.

Transition activities have also been occurring during class time. For example, Meaford Community School Grade 6 students recently had an opportunity to ‘plant roots’ at their future home, so to speak, by visiting Georgian Bay Secondary School to work on the community garden on the school property.

Additionally, a special activity on June 15 involved St. Vincent-Euphrasia Elementary School and Meaford Community School students from Grade 3 onward walking together to Georgian Bay Secondary School to meet their new secondary peers. The students were led by a local piper and one of his understudies who has attended all three of the schools in town. On Monday, June 20, all current junior kindergarten to Grade 2 students were greeted by a piper upon arrival at St. Vincent-Euphrasia Elementary School as they joined their new classmates for a tour of their new school, and enjoyed a shared lunch and recess.

Meanwhile, more transition meetings for staff are being planned, from which further information will be shared with students, families and the community.