When the doors reopen at St. James School in Mississauga, Ont., in September, the school will be rechristened the St. James Catholic Global Learning Centre. Register file photo

Port Credit school to reopen as Global Learning Centre

By 
  • March 24, 2013

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - When the doors of St. James School reopen next September, students will get a global perspective on the world while maintaining a Catholic presence in the community.

The school in Mississauga’s Port Credit neighbourhood closed four years ago as a result of declining enrolment. It will be rechristened as the St. James Catholic Global Learning Centre upon its reopening.

“It’s really, really exciting to see something like this take off,” said David Amaral, project lead. “It’s keeping the Catholic presence in the Port Credit community which, as a result of the St. James School closing, the community is very excited about.”

The goal is for the school to earn an International Baccalaureate Certification. Founded in 1968 in Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate Organization is an international education foundation which offers four standardized educational programs for students aged three to 19.

“How this will be different is it will be focused on inquiry so a lot of the learning will be student led,” said Amaral, who is also principal at St. Anne Elementary School. “There will be a technology and arts focus as well as a Catholic focus.”

If recognized by the organization, the St. James Catholic Global Learning Centre will be the first Catholic school in Dufferin-Peel to offer the International Baccalaureate certified program called the Primary Years Program.

“It’s an organization that has schools around the world that are affiliated basically to this organization,” said Amaral. “These children can go anywhere around the world and receive the same schooling.”

Though located in Port Credit, Kindergarten to Grade 6 students from across the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board will be able to attend.

When Amaral spoke to The Register, 164 students were enrolled with space still available in all grades.

“Registrations can still be dropped off at the board office (40 Matheson Blvd. in Mississauga), but we’re only confirming registrations if they’re keeping with the Ministry of Education’s cap sizes. If there is room in the classroom they’ll be accepted,” said Amaral. “It’s opened to all students, there are no prerequisites in terms of academics. The perception might be that it’s an elitist program but it’s not.”

That perception, in Amaral eyes at least, comes from the unique student inquiry based teaching methods which will be employed at the school.

Before anything can happen though, the building first needs to be renovated and outfitted with the tools of the trade for 21st-century learning such as smartboards and WiFi. Amaral said the board has allocated $1.1 million to fund the project which has been two years in the making.

While construction crews prepare the building, staff will be busy familiarizing themselves with the program by reviewing material and visiting schools already offering the program.

Amaral will not be on staff as he’ll remain at St. Anne’s, but he’s still excited to see the doors reopen.

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