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Cape Dorset assembles modular classrooms to end 'unfortunate' student schedule

Cape Dorset high school students and staff are continuing to split classroom time with students at Sam Pudlat elementary — but the 'unfortunate arrangement' should come to an end in October.

'We did hear... some of the students were missing their classes due to this unfortunate arrangement'

The community starting assembling the four modular classrooms in August. They are expected to be complete by the middle of October.

Cape Dorset students are starting the 2016 school year in shifts — but the "unfortunate arrangement" should come to an end in October. 

Last September, the hamlet's Peter Pitseolak high school burned to the ground. Since then, more than 100 high school students and staff have been splitting classroom time with students at Sam Pudlat elementary school.

The elementary students have been starting school at 7 a.m, while the high school students start in the afternoon and attend class well into the evening.

An 'unfortunate arrangement'

"We did hear from the community that some of the students were missing their classes due to this unfortunate arrangement," said Nunavut's Education Minister Paul Quassa.

But he added that "overall when we looked at the statistics, the attendance of the high school students was very good."

Concerned students and community members may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief. 

The community received four new modular classrooms over the summer, and they're currently being assembled on the Sam Pudlat elementary grounds.

"The high school students should be moving into those four portables by the middle of October," said Quassa.

Curriculum not affected, says minister

Quassa wanted to assure community members that, despite the disruptions, students are still getting the education they're used to.

"We had extra resources existing in our Iqaluit office, so we are very fortunate that we had all the materials that were needed for the high school students.

"The district education authority has also been working very diligently to ensure that [extracurricular] programs are not... affected as much as possible."

'New money' for new school

While the Nunavut government is still accepting proposals for a new high school building, Quassa expects work to "start next year, and to be completed by 2019."

He also said people in Nunavut won't be affected by the school's $34-million price tag.

"We were very fortunate that we were able to get new money…[and] nothing was disrupted in other programs or other departments of this government."

Cape Dorset high school students will remain in the modular classrooms until the new school is complete.  

with files from Oo Keirstead

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