Reading, writing & reorganizing: Transformation underway for schools affected by rezoning

The rezoning process has meant some major prep work at some P.E.I. schools as they prepare to welcome more students.

'We're very confident that we're ready for school in September'

This classroom is one of many which will become a new homeroom class at Birchwood. (Laura Meader/CBC)

School rezoning means some major prep work is now underway at some P.E.I. schools — especially those schools welcoming the most new students.

"It has been a significant undertaking, from the branch level down to the school level,"  said John Cummings, director of Corporate Services for the Public Schools Branch.  

This space at West Kent, once used as a day care, but has been converted into a homeroom. (Laura Meader)

Staff at schools gaining students have been busy creating homeroom classrooms, and moving furniture and computers to accommodate new students. 

"This process has really put a lot of emphasis on the schools such as Birchwood, West Kent and Donagh," said Cummings of the three schools receiving the most additional students.

Intermediate students from the Glen Stewart/Stratford zone will be added to Birchwood in Charlottetown. (Laura Meader)

More than 150 desks were moved from Stonepark to Birchwood, school officials said.

Stonepark Intermediate was over capacity so it will regain some space it lost over the years.

"In some cases we've been able to move a significant amount of things to follow the students — whether it's furniture desks or technology," said Cummings. 

French resources brought in

The schools gaining more French Immersion, like West Kent Elementary in Charlottetown, have had to bring in books and change classroom decor to reflect the change.

John Cummings says extra staff were brought in to help with the reorganization of some schools. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"The addition of the French Immersion program has resulted in a requirement for them to outfit their school with French Immersion resources from K to six," said Cummings.

Parking lots of expanded

More students means more staff and families using parking lots so paving is also underway to expand some areas.

"We had to expand the parking lot at Birchwood," Cummings said. "At West Kent we're in the process of reconfiguring the parking, and moving a basketball court behind the school."

The parking lot at Birchwood Intermediate is being expanded.

Cummings said paving costs account for abut a third of the roughly $100,000 being spent on the costs associated with infrastructure rezoning costs.

"All schools have embraced this change, and stepped to the plate to do everything they feel needs to be done," he said.

The Public Schools Branch hopes to have the bulk of work completed by late August. 

"We're very confident that we're ready for school in September," said Cummings.

About the Author

Laura Meader

Laura Meader is a video journalist for CBC P.E.I.