New schools set to open in City next week

Both Red Deer Public School and the Red Deer Catholic Division are getting set to open the City’s newest schools next week.

This year, Red Deer welcomes several new public schools including École la Prairie, a French immersion school, École Barrie Wilson Elementary School, Escuela Pines School, a Spanish bilingual school and a brand new facility for the Gateway Christian School.

The Red Deer Catholic School District officials are also excited about the opening of the new Catholic school, Father Henri Voisin.

“We’re really thrilled about the opportunities for our students with all of these exciting changes,” said Red Deer Public School District Superintendent Piet Langstraat. “We’re opening École Barrie Wilson, which is our third English/French immersion school. It’s a beautiful brand new school and is filling up quickly. It’s so interesting to see the growth in that community.”

Barrie Wilson will receive approximately 300 new students to the facility, with room for 500. The brand new building also houses the new branch of Red Deer Public Library – the Timberlands Public Library.

Another exciting change in the public school district will be the movement of the Gateway Christian School facility, which was until recently, split between two facilities. Students attending the Gateway school will now have their own Kindergarten to Grade 12 facility that is located on the old River Glen site.

Six hundred students will come together in the new Gateway School facility.

French immersion schools have been a part of Red Deer’s school systems for a long time and now the City has introduced a new Spanish bilingual school – Escuela Pines School. So far, it is only a Kindergarten to Grade 2 facility, but Langstraat said that the City is looking to grow that school and offer classes up to Grade 5.

“What an interesting thing. In addition to having about 10 per cent of our students in French immersion, we now have a Spanish program that is growing and has a lot of interest. It’s so great to see that growing,” he said.

Red Deer is also opening a new Catholic school this year much to the delight of Red Deer Catholic District Superintendent Paul Mason.

“Obviously the start up of school is always an exciting time of the year and this year especially with the opening of our new school, Father Henri Voisin. I’ll have about 200 students there and student enrolment continues to increase,” he said.

“Focus for our school division, as it was for the past two years, will be LIFT – literacy, inclusion, faith and technology. We’re allocating resources, personnel and time to that focus. The other focus for Father Henri Voisin will be the use of project-based learning.”

Project-based learning is a teaching method that develops student skills through hands-on and inter-subject based development.

This means that students will use hands-on interaction combined with multimedia, reading resources, speakers, projects and engaged, in-depth questions to develop what they learn in school and translate that information into their daily lives.

“For example, there will be partnerships between the school and Villa Marie (a seniors’ residence nearby) where our students will participate in activities and the residents will come visit and work with us. It’s very exciting and is something that we’re really looking forward to. It’s an exciting time for students and they’re going to have a blast.”

Classes for both school divisions resume on Sept. 2nd.