Silverthorn Elementary school's exterior. (SD 54 photo/Houston Today)

Houston school reconfiguration gets a green light

School community to see the change starting September 2021

School District 54 (SD 54) is finally going ahead with Houston schools’ reconfiguration plans this year.

Last year in November, the school district began discussions around a possible reconfiguration of schools. What this meant was that the school district wanted to make Silverthorne Elementary School into a focused primary school and to shift Twain Sullivan’s focus completely to intermediate levels.

The school district then held consultations with the stakeholders and reviewed all the feedback earlier this year. In February, the school district finally took the decision to finalize the school reconfiguration.

“The District is committed to providing the best educational experience for all of the students in Houston and it is without reservation that we have recommended the grade reconfiguration at the schools,” said Mike McDiarmid, the SD 54 superintendent.

“The Houston community will be largely unaffected as the biggest change will be where elementary classrooms are located in the community and getting the students to the location. (so a slight change in bussing) At the same time, we do understand that change in schools is sometimes difficult for people and that there are some potential consequences for individual families,” he added.

READ MORE: SD 54 seeking feedback on Houston school reconfiguration plan

Bev Forster, the principal for the Silverthorne Elementary School expressed her excitement over these changes and indicated that this will be a great opportunity to build an Early Learning Centre to service children aged 0 to 8 in Houston.

“I have been a part of the Houston community since 1978, and we are finally looking at a change that has been discussed for years. The advantages are many but from our perspective it allows us to focus on both vision and finances across a smaller range of grades,” she said.

Forster also said that this reconfiguration would make a huge financial difference as more funds will be available for primary resources and activities that will be focused in one place.

Earlier last year, Silverthorne was approved for a $1.5 million funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, to include a variety of new childcare spaces. The elementary school has already renovated its library and the work on the childcare spaces is underway.

“Building a space that focuses on younger children will allow us to take part in professional learning that is more specific to early learning, and we will be able to build programming across grades,” said Forster, adding that a common vision, language, programming, and assessing for K-3 would be helpful in the way the school handles instruction and would also help meet the needs of children as they enter their intermediate years.

Forster also believes that working with the daycare and preschool will give the school the advantage of creating a better transition between preschool age children and kindergarten. Preschool children will get an opportunity to be in and around the building and get to know teachers and staff and vice versa. Children K-3 will have the advantage of working with children younger and experience leadership opportunities at an earlier age that otherwise may not present themselves.

“Between Twain Sullivan and Silverthorne, we have all the student and teaching resources for the new configuration. Teachers will be able to plan and teach together at similar grade levels. This has not been as available in the past, but the potential for both students and staff is exciting!” she said.

This reconfiguration would also mean that all the intermediate students from Grade 4 to 7 in Houston will benefit from the campus program that already exists between Houston Secondary and Twain Sullivan Elementary. The intermediate students at Silverthorne Elementary have been missing out on some of these educational and social opportunities which will no longer be the case with this reconfiguration.

ALSO READ: School District 54 mulls over Houston schools’ reconfiguration


Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist
@PriyankaKetkar

priyanka.ketkar@ldnews.net


Like us on Facebook and follows us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Silverthorn Elementary school's principal Bev Forster. (SD 54 photo/Houston Today)

Silverthorn Elementary school's interior childcare spaces. (SD 54 photo/Houston Today)

Just Posted

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Angelique Houlihan gets her COVID-19 vaccine jab last week at the community-wide clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Vaccine clinic continues this week

Plenty of booking spots available

District of Houston
Council adds flexibility to spending decisions

Singles out road works as potential beneficiary

Filling potholes in Houston
Holes filled on Highway 16

Potholes aren’t restricted to District of Houston streets. Lakes District Maintenance crews… Continue reading

In the past, the pitch-in days saw the community working together to clean-up unlike this year, when they will be encouraged to stay in their own bubbles. (Shiela Pepping photo/Houston Today)
Houston to pitch-in on Apr. 22

The Houston & District Chamber of Commerce’s 60th pitch-in day

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read