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Don’t look back, prepare for an exciting future in education

By Dundas Trustee Jessica Brennan

It’s encouraging that Dundas continues to discuss what is the best accommodation for secondary students.

While Dundas Works wants to undo the board of trustees’ May 2012 decision to close Parkside, so much work has already been done to combine Parkside and Highland that it’s time to build on that work and move forward. 

In September 2014, Highland and Parkside will unite and operate as one school, called Dundas Valley Secondary School, with one school on two sites during construction. For 2014-15, the former Parkside facility will be required for classes due to the construction that will occur on the Highland site.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) is investing no less than $15 million in extensive renovations to Highland, including a 7,000-square-foot gymnasium, an expanded cafeteria, six new science labs and interior enhancements. Draft drawings are complete and we expect shovels in the ground in late spring 2014, with completion in fall 2015.

This decision of the board of trustees was made after much debate and community input when it became clear there were not enough students to sustain two high schools in Dundas.

We’ve come a long way since then. Dundas Valley Secondary School is on its way.

We want partners in this journey, and want to work with the entire community for the sake of students. We welcome constructive input from all quarters to help us build a unified school to be proud of.

We certainly can explore Dundas Works’ wish for an indoor athletic centre and digital library. Now is the time to propose ideas like this. We are not looking back on a May 2012 decision; we are preparing for an exciting future for our students.

Dundas Valley Secondary School already has one administration team, a joint school council, combined sports teams and many exciting student events that merge the two schools.

Students on combined teams have been achieving recognition in many fields. In business, we have sent students to the DECA Regionals; in cross-country running, we have sent 28 athletes to SOSSA and eight to OFSAA. Many others have and will continue to make us proud!

In addition, parents, students and staff representatives have been meeting all calendar year as the Dundas Transition Advisory Committee to plan the unification of Highland and Parkside. With voices from Highland, Parkside and associated elementary schools, the committee works on school recognition, partnerships, communications, student events and staff collaboration.

Looking forward, Dundas Valley Secondary will soon develop a new logo and mascot as part of the branding work being done by the transition committee. Everyone is welcome at transition meetings and can learn more at schools.hwdsb.on.ca/dundasvalley.

Trustees are committed to providing excellent education in Dundas. We are poised now to channel our time, resources and energy into creating a great secondary school for the community. 


 

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