Greely Road Public School will remain open.
The Fort McMurray Public School District’s Board of Trustees voted 4-2 against the recommendation of closing the school at their meeting on Tuesday.
Chair Linda Mywaart says their focus now turns to making sure Greely can provide the best form of education for its students.
“We have the interest of our students, their academic success, their citizenship success, their personal success at heart and based on this decision we will move forward to do all we can for those students.”
Mywaart, along with Trustee Jonathan Lambert were the only ones to vote for the closure. Her biggest issue being the lack of staff at the school to teach the 85 students enrolled.
Because of this, classes will most likely be triple-graded.
“We will make the triple grading the best it can be if that’s what it needs to be.”
Before the vote, Trustees also directed questions to the senior administration about triple-grading. They note grades shouldn’t be a factor but comparing the maturity of different age groups could be an issue.
The FMPSD notes there have also been requests from across the FMPSD from teachers asking to teach a single grade and avoiding multiple grades.
Greely Road would be the only elementary school to have tripling-grading.
“There are challenges with double and possibly triple grades,” said Superintendent Doug Nicholls. “But at this point, the parents who spoke in support of the school feel that it’s workable, manageable.”
Feedback from parents was also a big deciding factor in the decision. Trustees Stephen Drover and Angela Adams branched off these thoughts highlighting their belief that the school is feasible, practical and possible.
The fact that Greely Road shares their building with the Fort McMurray Islamic School also helped shape the vote. Both Drover and Adams acknowledging that their decision could possibly be different if it weren’t for this fact – as there are possibilities of sharing programs and helping each other.
As for next steps, Nicholls says they plan on meeting with the school’s staff as the majority had requested transfers. They also plan on speaking with the parents to ensure everything is ready for the next school year.
“We need to work with the parents to make sure they understand, that they continue to support the school, and we hope they’ll bring a friend – we would like to see the population grow.”