By David F. Rooney
In a real coup, Premier Gordon Campbell has named Revelstoke’s School District 19 as the pioneer for British Columbia’s new Neighbourhoods of Learning program.
The new elementary and high school buildings planned for construction next year will be the home for BC’s first two Neighbourhoods of Learning Centres (NLC). The elementary school NLC will bring together child language and speech, literacy and child-care programs that are currently located at Farwell Centre. It will also include an early-learning library, two state-of-the-art childcare centres, a permanent home for the Child Care Resource and Referral Program, dental, medical and other services aimed at students and acrobatic centre for the 20 per cent of the student population that participated in acrobatic programs. This is tremendous news for the Revelstoke Acrobats, whose program has yielded phenomenally good young acrobats.
The high school NLC will include a 275-seat community theatre and coordinated health services, including an on-site social worker, mental health services and a substance abuse program.
The two new schools are to be built next year at a cost to the province of $53 million.
“As a school district we see this as an incredible opportunity to achieve significant benefits for our community,” SD 19 Chairman Alan Chell said today (Wednesday, Nov. 3) as he announced the news that Revelstoke would build the first NLCs in the province.
Ironically, SD 19 was the very last district to apply for a Neighbourhoods of Learning Centre. Now it will have the very first ones in the province and the district. It is also being asked to advise other school districts as they are allocated their own NLCs.
District Superintendent Anne Cooper was restrained but jubilant at finally being able to publicly say what she has known for months: that Revelstoke would receive two Neighbourhoods of Learning Centres.
“This is not the kind of thing that happens in the career of every board chairman and every superintendent,” she said. “I am lucky to be here as a superintendent at this time.”
But she also said later that it is Revelstoke’s ability to get things done and achieve remarkable results that worked in the district’s favour.
As people elsewhere in the province are beginning to realize the Revelstoke Way yields tremendous results, such as the recognition that this community has the least vulnerable children in the province, and has one of its highest rates of student achievement and one of the best literacy programs, as well.
“We bring people together in Revelstoke and find solutions,” Cooper said.
Mayor David Raven agreed and said, “Think about what our children who are young now will be able to do when they are adults.”