INNOVATIVE NEW SCHOOL UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO REALIZE FULL POTENTIAL OF GREEN PAPER IDEAS

October 10, 2019 – SAINT JOHN, NB—The Central Peninsula Community School Task Force – a group of local leaders representing the community, the City of Saint John, and the Anglophone South School District – are asking the Provincial Government to fund construction of a new kind of K-8 school in Saint John’s south-end neighbourhood.

“Last week’s Green Paper on Education in New Brunswick was an exciting document that should create an important dialogue about transforming our education system,” says Gary Lawson, Chair of the Task Force. “We believe the Central Peninsula Community School will be uniquely positioned to pilot and implement the innovative ideas and teaching techniques outlined in the document.”

When the District Education Council selected the project as its first-priority item, Develop Saint John was asked to work with the community and the Task Force to develop a vision for the new school.

“Together we have worked hard to create a bold and innovative design, which will ensure the Central Peninsula Community School is able to accommodate evolving best practices in teaching and community support services over the long term,” says Steve Carson, CEO of Develop Saint John.

The Task Force intends to track and measure the new school’s impact – both on the student, and on the community – over time.

“Both the design and the due diligence around the project makes it the ideal proving ground for the ideas captured in the Green Paper,” says Carson. “Those ideas, in this setting, will position us for success in our collective efforts to create a world-class education system.”

Research shows that new school construction has a big impact on academic achievement, attendance, teacher satisfaction and population retention. A new school will also contribute to transforming the central peninsula into a mixed income neighbourhood.

“Our new school will replace two existing schools that just don’t make financial sense anymore. Simply put – they have aged-out, and can no longer deliver the educational and community outcomes we need,” says Gary Lawson. “However, the neighbourhood is currently served by community-funded programs and services including a school-based Early Learning Centre, community kitchen, and a wide variety of programs that are critical to neighbourhood well-being. The new school will be the first in the province to incorporate these offerings into its design – without costing the Province additional funds.”

The Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative (BCAPI) has been leading and funding projects designed to close the achievement gap in Saint John neighbourhoods with high rates of child poverty for two decades. They see educational equity as an important driver of economic development.

“Ensuring that every child meets academic benchmarks, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, is the right thing to do. It is critical to improving graduation rates, growing our workforce participation rate, and expanding our economy,” says Paulette Hicks, co-chair of BCAPI. “Viewed through this lens, a new school in the central peninsula will be an important poverty reduction tool.”

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 About the Central Peninsula Community School Task Force

The Central Peninsula Task Force was established to lead the process of bringing to life the community’s vision for a new school for the Central Peninsula. The role of the task force is to represent the needs of students, parents, the community, the City and the School District, and to help build support for the project within the community.

Members represent the following organizations:

BCAPI • Living SJ • Horizon Health • Saint John the Baptist/King Edward School Parent School Support Committee • Prince Charles School Parent School Support Committee • City of Saint John • Develop Saint John • Saint John City Council • Anglophone School District – South • District Education Council

For more information:

Christine Comeau
Develop Saint John
Christine.Comeau@saintjohn.ca
Tel: 506.649.6069