February 8, 2019
To Parents/Guardians of Stratford and area,
As you know, Avon Maitland District School Board received funding to address significant structural issues at Stratford Central Secondary School. The funding requires us to reduce the number of student spaces at Stratford Central by about 300. We have supplemented that funding with board funds to address accessibility issues at the school.
Throughout this process we have remained committed to the renewal of our schools; renovating and enriching Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern to better meet the needs of our learners. At the same time, we need to balance enrolment and fiscal realities, and provincial regulations. It has not been an easy process. We understand, and have been clear from the outset, that this is a sensitive issue with no one solution that will meet the wishes of all stakeholders.
On January 11th, we provided an update on our status. We highlighted our thorough, consultative process as we analyzed our six options against the criteria, and considered the stakeholder input gathered through thoughtexchange. That input told us that high-quality education, breadth of program and a sense of belonging were everyone’s top priorities for students.
The review showed significant challenges within each of our six original options. They were not possible without significant consequences, such as increased concurrent programs, travelling back and forth between locations and loss of some program options at both schools. However, through this exploration and with consideration of the input provided, another exciting option for consideration emerged — Option 7, a ‘One School-Two Campus’ model.
To remain transparent, we want to make sure that we communicate that this new option is preferred, as it meets the criteria and matches, most closely, the input gathered in thoughtexchange. Option 7 provides an incredible opportunity to create innovative and enhanced programming for all of our Stratford students, grades 7-12, and not unlike other options, would see the migration of Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern to a ‘One School – Two Campus’ model:
- Central Campus housing grades 7 to 9
- Northwestern Campus housing grades 10 to 12
This dual campus model ensures maximum program flexibility for our students now, and in the future. It provides equitable access to a wider variety of high-quality course options in all grades, driven by student choice, and finally, it allows for all students to develop a sense of belonging in each school over a period of time. We are excited about the possibilities this option affords, and are beginning to explore with our curriculum, student success and pathways teams.
We know that this has been stressful, but it is important that we get it right because the impact these decisions have on students, parents and the community, are profound. We are working on the most appropriate process to evaluate all options and reach a final decision.
We will keep you up-to-date and inform everyone on our next steps as soon as possible.
To receive notifications as this process unfolds, please visit the Stratford page of our website and subscribe to the mailing list for updates: yourschools.ca/stratford-public-schools/.
Please know we are always open to hearing and responding to your questions. These can be posted at bit.ly/StratfordSchoolsFeedback.
Dr. Lisa Walsh
Director of Education and
Secretary of the Board
December 5, 2018
To Parents, Guardians and Caregivers
Re: Transition Year Program and Accommodation Update for Stratford Public Schools Renovation Project
In May of this year, Avon Maitland District School Board announced Ministry of Education funding of $5,135,207.00 for the required renovations to address structural issues at Stratford Central Secondary School. The renovation currently in design will require Ministry approval. Our intention is to have the renovations completed and the school re-opened by September 2020.
As part of the transition year, Stratford Central will close for renovations as of June 21, 2019. During this year, all students will be together at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School. We received a lot of information for consideration from our thoughtexchange input gathering process, and for this, we are grateful. We are committed to minimizing the disruption to learning, by having all students together to ensure the smoothest transition possible for students, staff and the community.
The school day during the transition year will closely resemble existing start and end time for both school communities, and will remain within the current busing window. AMDSB will offer one course calendar for both schools so that every student has access to a full breadth of program. To accommodate all program offerings for students, the use of satellite spaces such as the Stratford YMCA is presently being examined, as well as the addition of portables.
The steering committee is committed to looking at the details that matter to our students such as program development, building a sense of belonging for all students in one school, sports teams, clubs, transportation, locker space and many other important considerations. There will be additional opportunities for students, staff and parents / guardians to provide input into how to make the transition year run smoothly.
To stay up to date on transition plans, please visit yourschools.ca/stratford-public-schools.
If you have any questions about this information, please contact your principal at either Stratford Central Secondary School, or Stratford Northwestern Secondary School.
Dr. Lisa Walsh, Director of Education – Avon Maitland District School Board
2018 10 24
RE: TRANSITION YEAR 2019/2020
Dear Parents/Caregivers/Students of Stratford Northwestern and Stratford Central,
After multiple discussions with the Ontario Ministry of Education over the past several weeks, the modifications outlined below are being made to this current school year calendar (January to June 2019). The reason for these changes is the necessary asbestos abatement (removal) required prior to any demolition occurring at Stratford Central. Please note that the asbestos is all encapsulated, so safe for all students and staff in the building. See the revised 2018-19 school year calendar for Stratford Northwestern and Stratford Central.
Consultations over the past several months with asbestos abatement specialists, an environmental consultant, and an architect have led us to the conclusion that the timelines for demolition and rebuilding must be altered to provide sufficient time to support the re-opening of Stratford Central in September 2020. Demolition must begin July 2019, so the asbestos abatement related to the 1958 wing must happen prior to the end of June for demolition to begin at the first of July. It is also important that both secondary school populations of grades 9 to 12 are aligned and able to write the majority, if not all, of their exams in their home schools.
We are working to ensure that all details are considered with this modification of the calendar to ensure a smooth end to the school year, while reducing anxiety for students and staff. We continue to do all we can to support student achievement and well-being.
Students in grades 7 and 8 will be moved to Stratford Northwestern from June 24 to June 27. There will be classes and activities to involve students in the transition to the new school. More information will follow as details are confirmed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your school principal.
Emma Watts, Principal, SN
Kevin Mills, Principal, SC
June 22, 2018
Thank you for your patience as we work towards answering the many questions regarding the Stratford renovation project slated to begin in the summer of 2019. We do understand the unease you may be feeling as you contemplate the future without having all the answers. We want to arrive at the best possible options for our students’ education moving forward.
Given the complexity and time crunch with summer approaching, we are extending Phase 1 into October. This will allow us more time to consider the best possible options that we will share with students and parents for input.
|Phase 1||May – October 2018||School-based construction concept for Stratford Central based on programming|
|Phase 2||October 2018 – May 2019||Transition planning to move students and program from Stratford Central for one year|
|Phase 3||May 2019 – May 2020||Transition plan implementation|
|Phase 4||January 2020 – August 2020||Transition plan to move students and program back to Stratford Central|
|Phase 5||Sept 2020||Re-Opening of Stratford Central|
We encourage you to continue to read the FAQs page on our website, which has a page dedicated to this project. https://yourschools.ca/stratford-public-schools.
It is there where we are providing answers as they become available. We are also using social media (Facebook and Twitter) to alert the public when we have updates.
The date and format for consultation will be provided as soon as it becomes available. The best viable options for moving forward will be shared with senior staff, trustees, staff, students, parents and the community for further refinements and consideration.
Again, thank you for your patience, understanding and continued support. We look forward to the opportunities ahead as we proceed with providing the best possible public education for students in Stratford now and long into the future.
Kevin Mills & Emma Watts
Principals of Stratford Central SS & Stratford Northwestern SS
Monday, May 7, 2018
Dear Avon Maitland District School Board Families:
We are pleased to announce an upcoming renovation project at Stratford Central School. This much needed project is possible due to Ministry of Education funding of more than five million dollars. The upgrades will mean a rejuvenation of the school in Stratford’s downtown core.
The AMDSB plans to augment this funding to do additional renovations and enhance accessibility at Stratford Central and to continue ongoing improvements at Stratford Northwestern School.
This project means your child (children) will benefit from integrated programming that will lead to enhanced options in both Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern.
Construction will begin in the early summer of 2019. There will be no changes for students in the 2018/2019 school year. However, for September 2019 all Stratford Central students and staff will attend Stratford Northwestern and possibly other alternative school locations, to be determined. We understand this will be a disruption for everyone affected. We will work together with you our valued partners in our Stratford schools to make the transition as smooth as possible. The results of this project will enhance our education system for years to come.
Consultation with both schools’ administrators and staff is already underway. Consultations with our students, families and stakeholders regarding renovations and the transition period will take place in the near future. There will be opportunities for your feedback and we will continue to update you on the progress of this project.
We thank the Ministry of Education for its financial support in helping us to revitalize public education in Stratford. We look forward to working in partnership with you to continue to provide the best and most engaging public education possible. If you have any questions, I encourage you to visit our website www.yourschools.ca where you will find more information. We have anticipated questions that you may already have. Please see our FAQs sheets and then submit any others you would like considered. We will consider all submitted questions as we work together to build our plan for the future of education at Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern.
Lisa Walsh, PhD
Director of Education