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OPINION: Dire need for new school

Norbert Carpenter, right, principal at Montague Consolidated School, joins Grade 7 students from Montague Intermediate School Keaton MacDonald, left, Alex Beck and Isaiah Williams at the intermediate school on June 19, as they pose with a photograph given to them by the province as an acknowledgment of the work they did to get the red fox named as P.E.I.’s provincial animal.
Norbert Carpenter, right, principal at Montague Consolidated School, joins Grade 7 students from Montague Intermediate School Keaton MacDonald, left, Alex Beck and Isaiah Williams at the intermediate school on June 19, as they pose with a photograph given to them by the province as an acknowledgment of the work they did to get the red fox named as P.E.I.’s provincial animal. - Katie Smith

Replace worn-out structure with modern building to meet requirements for healthy learning environment

BY ALLEN ROACH

GUEST OPINION

There has been considerable media coverage lately about the renovation and building of new schools in other areas of Prince Edward Island. Over the past seven years, our current and past education minister(s), leaders from the Public Schools Branch, and many others have visited Montague Consolidated School and agreed that it desperately needs to be replaced.

Montague Consolidated School is currently the oldest school on Prince Edward Island. One only has to walk through it and you will quickly see and understand why there is a need to have the aged, worn-out structure replaced with a new, modern school that will meet the learning and space requirements for a healthy learning environment.

I certainly agree that there is also a need in the greater Charlottetown area with demonstrated growing populations; and this strengthens the case for well-researched planning for our future needs for all learners in Prince Edward Island.

The key word – needs - is important here. It is time for a professional analyst/planner with the P.E.I. Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture, in collaboration with the Public Schools Branch, to conduct a needs assessment that is evidence-informed and takes into account an analysis of student population data, projections, and promising practices for learning environments that reflect 21st century learning models.

This needs assessment should be conducted, not in isolation, but across all of our schools in P.E.I. to develop a long-term plan with priorities that over the next 10 to 20 years will meet the needs of our growth targets as well as environmental/ structure requirements.

I am strongly suggesting that the Public Schools Branch include replacement of the Montague Consolidated School as a priority in their management plans for the coming capital budget this fall. There is a dire need to replace the worn-out structure that currently does not meet or provide a healthy learning environment for our children.

We want our children to learn in a modern school environment that reflects excellence and delivers high quality education - meeting both current and future needs.

- Allen Roach is MLA for Montague/Kilmuir

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