We have received Ministry funding for required renovations at Stratford Central Secondary School. The receipt of this funding, augmented with some Board funds, affords us the opportunity to address accessibility at Stratford Central. Once we receive final approval from the Ministry, we will demolish the 1958 wing and examine how to make the building more accessible for all students.
There will be a transition year during construction when all students will need to be out of the school and at the Stratford Northwestern site ( and any required satellite campus).
While our key focus is on the health and safety of staff and students, we want to minimize the disruption in learning.
Our goal, within our fiscal limits, is to improve the facilities and enhance the programming for all students
Senior Administration originally came up with 6 possible options, which required further analysis to determine feasibility. This is a very complex task as we need to take into consideration the needs of all students in all pathways, profiles of students (students with special needs international, Newcomer, LGBQT, students at risk, etc.) extracurricular activities, teams, what our buildings can offer, available space, ability to timetable, and several other factors. After receiving input from parents, students, staff and community members, a 7th option emerged.
- We want what is best for all students, staff and community, with financial and structural parameters in mind (Stratford is one part of the system plan)
- We are looking at a number of options, which may require tradeoffs
- We want the process to be meaningful, efficient and the best use of resources
- We are hearing your priorities and concerns
- We are open to your ideas
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 enrolment 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 being 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.
Criteria for Option Consideration
- Creating positive, inclusive environments and maximizing outcomes to meet the needs of all student profiles
- Breadth of program
- Sense of belonging
- Movement of ~ 300 pupil spaces
- School and class organization
- Staff teaching more often in specialty areas
- Reduction in stacked classes
- Student and staff timetables/collective agreements
- Space and facilities
- Boundaries for schools
We require a transition year during construction when all students will need to be out of SCSS and the 9-12s and/or the 7-12s in SNSS. We are having discussions over where the 7/8s will be located, and if not at SNSS due to space restrictions, what school would look like for them. While our key focus is on the health and safety of staff and students, we want to minimize the disruption in learning and provide the best possible facility while in transition.
Due to the complexity identified, and to ensure that students get the best education possible, we are seeking broad input from students, staff, parents and community in order for senior staff to make the best decision.
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. The findings are available via links in the sidebar menu on this page or you can see the results provided by thoughtexchange here.
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