At our most recent assembly I shared a video and song by Christian artist Micah Tyler called Different. The intent was to help convey the point behind why we have spent the whole year looking at the different characteristics we find in the passage from Galatians 5:22-23 about the Fruit of the Spirit. The hope, I said, was that by looking at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control every day. Praying for these things to be evident in our lives, that we would somehow be different. That God would be more visible to others when they saw us. That I would be different than I was at the beginning of the year, and every year to come.
As I sat down to write this end of year review and about the plans to come, I was also struck by the concept of being different. Things changed. New principal, new teachers, new class setups, new buildings, new concepts. Things are different, it is inevitable. I know I have changed, the school has changed, students have changed. That is kind of the point of school though, right? We are never called to stay the same. Always changing, always moving, preferably closer to God and His will for our lives. Different is a good thing when it is for the right reasons. It isn’t easy or familiar, which can be a little disconcerting, but if it is for His glory, focused on His vision, then we learn to adapt, change and become different ourselves, more like Him.
And what about being different in the future? As a school we are experiencing enormous growth in interest and enrollment. I believe that is also because of the fact that we are different. People are looking for “different”. They are fed up with the old, the same, the things of this world. That growth will undoubtedly lead to us being larger, but we will do everything possible to maintain that difference that makes us stand out. We have no intention of letting our size impact who we strive to be as a school and community. We may need to get used to some new ways of things happening (anyone want to talk about how we accommodate 40-60 new students into our space or how drop-off and pick-up are gonna work?), or changes to the traditional ways things have been done in the past, but if it is all about opening the doors to more students to be in a “different” environment where God is at the center, it is all worth it.
So with all that said, what do the changes for next year look like and how will it impact PCS? As I mentioned earlier, we are growing. Currently we have 220 students. As of right now, we have 260 students pre-registered for next year and there are many more inquiries, tours and visits planned before the end of the school year and throughout the summer no doubt. With this enrollment, we see the following breakdown of classes being in place for September. I have included the proposed location for those classes as well, seeing as movement is necessary to make things more efficient. I have also included any staffing that lines up with those classes that have been confirmed, or a status of in flux positions.
Junior Kindergarten - Same room - Mrs. Dellandrea
Senior Kindergarten - Same room - Mrs. Passchier
JK/SK Split - current Grade 1 room, same hallway - teacher secured, awaiting contract
Grade 1 - Main portable (old Grade 6 room) - Ms. Pennycooke
Grade 2 - Main portable (same room) - Mrs. Kauffeldt (returning from maternity leave)
Grade 2 - Main portable (current Grade 1 room) - Mrs. Phillips
Grade 3 - Main portable (current Grade 7 room) - Mrs. Holt
Grade 4 - Main portable (same room) - Miss Grant
Grade 4 - Main portable (old Grade 5 room) - teacher secured, awaiting contract
Grade 5 - New portables - position currently posted
Grade 6 - New portables - Mr. Derr
Grade 7 - New portables - Mr. Laur/Mr. Webb/Mr. Ogborne
Grade 8 - New portables - Mr. Laur/Mr. Webb/Mr. Ogborne
Music - Music Room - Mrs. Ullman / Mrs. Immanuel
Art - Science Room - Mrs. Ullman / Mrs. Immanuel / Mr. Webb
French - Grade 4 through 8 - currently seeking, posting shortly
Gym - Gym - Mr. Ballanger
Currently Grade 1 and Grade 3 are capped, however if the Lord blesses us with enough enrolment to split those classes then we will make some shifts of classroom spaces and personnel.
We do not intend to split Grades 5 through 8, so those are capped up to the maximum of 1 class (approx. 25)
Lots of moving parts, lots of change, but excited about what God has in store for us. As you can see from the list, we are looking at having a few more portables to meet our needs. We actually have purchased 4 additional units to add to the current 2. What I want to make clear is that our intention is to not make this a permanent response to our growing space issue. These are meant to be temporary options to buy us some time so the new Board can begin in depth discussion and planning for an expansion and renovation of our space. The hope is that a new strategic plan will be in place by the fall of 2023 announcing plans for a capital campaign and build with an occupancy target of fall 2025. Those are aggressive timelines but given the continued growth in the Durham Region and what we believe will be continued interest, we have to be aggressive to not fall behind and meet the demand. Stay posted for information on a current short-term financial fundraising campaign to help acquire, install and equip the new portables.
Also, with these additional classes, I want to chat a little about how we go about determining who goes into whose class. While we all love our existing staff and even have some history with them through siblings, or for some of you even had them as your own teachers :) , we can’t accommodate everyone being able to determine their preference. Rest assured that we spend a lot of time as an Admin team, with the teachers who have taught and are going to teach the students, to discuss best fits from social, academic and behavioral standpoints. We also look for opportunities through the schedule for interactions between classes through other subjects (music, gym, etc). In the end, it is not like they will never see that friend they had in last year’s class. They still have before school, recess and after school to connect and it is a positive thing to continue to make new friends.
So in closing I want to ask you one last thing. We need you to continue to pray for the school. There are so many moving parts. There are still things that we need to work out such as portables arriving, installing power and acquiring additional furniture for the classrooms. We continue to pray for additional students in order to expand the impact of God’s kingdom message. We need to pray for the Board as they sit down and discuss the many key components of the strategic plan and establishment of expansion plans and building campaign. Lastly, we need to continue to pray that the school will be that “different” that people are looking for. That we will continue to follow the wisdom found in Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.