Richard Rolke/Morning Star Trustee Mike McKay speaks about changes to Sicamous schools Tuesday as secretary-treasurer Nicole Bittante looks on.

Grades shift at Sicamous schools

Parkview Elementary will be kindergarten to Grade 6 and Eagle River Secondary will be Grade 7 to 12 starting in September.

Sicamous’ two schools will remain open but some major adjustments are moving ahead.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District decided Tuesday to shift Parkview Elementary to kindergarten to Grade 6 and Eagle River Secondary to Grades 7 to 12 starting in September.

“This needs to be sustained over time,” said Mike McKay, official trustee, of making the new model successful.

The former board was considering closing Parkview and moving all students to Eagle River. However, that plan was scrapped because of the potential $2 million in renos needed to Eagle River to handle 13 grades, the enhanced location of Parkview for younger students and the changes to the use of space due to the restoration of the previous teachers’ contract.

The goal is to address declining enrolment at Eagle River by adding Grade 7 students to the facility.

Glenn Borthistle, superintendent, admits a lot of planning is needed prior to September.

“There are lots of Grade 7 to 12 schools in the province and we’ll look to those to provide examples,” he said.

But teaching staff at Eagle River are apprehensive about the new strategy.

“A lot of time was spent on working on kindergarten to Grade 12. There’s been no consultation of what the 7 to 12 model will look like,” said teacher Kyla Hadden on behalf of her colleagues.

McKay insists district administration will work with school staff to ensure a smooth transition.

“We will put some resources into the issues raised. We will have a focus on the middle years program for Grades 7 and 8,” he said.

Some capital improvements will also be needed at Eagle River.

A task force had suggested in early 2016 that Parkview possibly close. McKay’s decision allows the school to move ahead with certainty.

“We’re pleased a decision has been made,” said Carla Schneider, Parkview principal.