Toronto board looks at new school options

  • September 22, 2010
TCDSB LogoTORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board is looking at opening its first Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

Angela Gauthier, the board’s associate director of academic affairs, said the proposed school bringing together students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 would feature “an innovative program to help us implement a 21st-century approach to education” and could be in place within three years.

The new school, estimated to cost $27.5 million, is in its early stages and requires approval from the Ministry of Education. The proposed plan would have the new school located on Bayview Avenue at the current site of Blessed Trinity Elementary School.

The plan for a combined school is a solution developed after consulting with the community from Blessed Trinity and St. Joseph Morrow Park High School. Both schools underwent a school accommodation review last year.

The board had been leasing the land where St. Joseph Morrow Park now sits since 2006 and its contract is set to expire in three years. The Morrow Park land was originally owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph, who sold it to Tyndale College. The proposed school would feature an 800-student, all-girls high school and a 285-student co-ed elementary replacement school for Blessed Trinity students who will be temporarily relocated to the former St. Leonard School during construction.

The school’s programs could include the international baccalaureate program (an enriched honours program) which can begin as early as Grade 3 and information technology programs, Gauthier said. If approved, the board plans to conduct reviews and consult with the local communities about the potential programs. Early childhood education could also be among the courses offered at the school, as well as offering the province’s new full-day Kindergarten program.

Trustee Maria Rizzo said although it would have been the “preferred choice” for St. Joseph Morrow Park students to stay at the same location, the parents she’s spoken to are pleased the two schools will remain open.

Meanwhile, a new arts, media and technology centre will be housed at St. Patrick High School in Toronto’s east end. St. Patrick was part of a cluster of five schools, including Neil McNeil, Notre Dame, Jean Vanier and Cardinal Newman, that underwent an accommodation review last year. The board decided to keep all five schools open and transform St. Patrick’s into a specialized arts and technology school.

A similar program for Grade 7 to 8 students at St. Patrick could be added in the future, pending a program review.

The decision was a result of community support for the new program at St. Patrick, and the board’s commitment to capping enrolment at some schools and reviewing its admissions policy, said Angelo Sangiorgio, the board’s associate director of planning and facilities.

Also, the board plans to undertake a three-year review of the placement of its English Language Learning and Special Needs programs in its schools to develop a “more balanced and equitable program distribution across the system in all secondary schools.”

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