As people know, Highglen Montessori Elementary School had a serious fire on Monday. Our media has been doing a superb job of letting people know what’s going on.
The school district had a meeting to let parents know the official status of what’s happening Thursday evening. On Thursday afternoon, the district also had a partner group president meeting (presidents of DPAC, teachers, principals, professional employees, support staff) to let the members of various partner groups know what was happening, and ask questions. We were asked to allow Highglen parents to be informed first, before releasing the information. The information below is taken from this meeting, should not be considered the “official” information, and will change as more updates are received.
Information is also being posted on the school district website: https://www.sd57.bc.ca/
A summary of information:
- The Highglen building is currently “toxic”, and people are not allowed in it. It looks like there is serious damage to remaining contents. It is unclear if anything will be able to be restored.
- The School Protection Plan is self-insurance program, administered and delivered by the Risk Management Branch (RMB) of the Ministry of Finance, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. The school district does not currently have clarity over what’s going to be covered by this plan, and may not find out for some time.
- Highglen did not have any sprinklers, as it was built before sprinklers was mandatory. A number of schools do not have sprinklers, and it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to retro-fit sprinklers into schools that don’t have them.
- The move of the school to Gladstone Elementary was decided after looking at quite a number of options. The district (and school community) wanted to keep the school together, rather than putting different classes in different schools. The school may be there until the end of the school year, and may be there for some time after.
- Central Fort George was considered, but would have required portables, and there were major concerns over the mechanical systems lasting. Lac de Bois would not have had enough room – or even have bathrooms on the upper floor. PGSS was also considered, as was Quinson, Springwood and Austin Road.
- Gladstone was decided to be the best option. There is currently the historic teacher collection there, occupying two classrooms – they will be remaining for this school year, but may need to moved after that. The school site also has the capacity for portables to be put in place at this school.
- The district mapped student homes, and found that a bit under a third of students came from College Heights, a bit under a third from the Hart, and a larger number from the Bowl area – mainly surrounding the school. That is the reason that a shuttle service has been put into place, at the very least for this school year, for transportion of students. More than one bus will be required for the students, and the district will be providing supervision.
- There are a huge number of details that are required to re-open Gladstone! Everything from working with the city for signage, parking lot control, cleaning, tables, desks and chairs, electrical drops, phones, supplies for teachers, computers, photocopiers, and much much more.
- The district is doing stellar work in preparing this school to be welcoming for students on Monday morning. The concern and care for our kids is very apparent.
- As noted, the district currently doesn’t know what will be provided by the school protection plan for supplies. They have asked that people hold off on donating any school supplies for the time being, while they determine what is really needed.
Link to Prince George Montessori site for more information: http://www.pgmontessori.ca/
Their Indigogo fundraiser: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pg-montessori-hope-from-fire-fund