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New school welcoming additional registrations

The public school board has finalized the boundaries for a new school in Rockwood, paving the way for additional kindergarten and Grade 1 registrations this week for the village’s new French immersion program.

Registration was held in October for junior and senior kindergarten, as well as Grade 1, students for Rockwood’s new FI program.

But the Upper Grand District School Board is inviting more FI kindergarten registrations in Rockwood as it holds its annual kindergarten registration from Feb. 3-7 across the school district.

Because Rockwood’s new FI program will start this fall with Grade 1 as well as junior and senior kindergarten students, parents in the village can also sign up Grade 1 students this week, said a board news release.

The $6.3-million new school in Rockwood has a target completion date of September 2014, but the board says it will be difficult to achieve this goal due to a late start and severe winter weather.

If the school isn’t ready for the planned opening, a contingency plan will have students temporarily located at Rockwood Centennial school, using some rooms inside the school building as well as additional portables, the release said.

The boundaries approved last week means the new 308-pupil school Rockwood elementary school will be a junior kindergarten to Grade 5 school for both FI students and students in the regular English track.

It also means Rockwood Centennial will be JK-8 school for the regular track as well as a Grade 6-8 school for the village’s FI students.

The Rockwood boundary review was finalized in time for the start of the board’s annual staffing process, in which classrooms and teachers assignments are made for the coming year, the release said.

Grades at the new school in its first year will be JK-4 for the regular track and JK-1 for FI students. The board’s implementation plan provides for grandfathering of the village’s Grade 5 students in the regular track, who will remain at Rockwood Centennial.

“Although there is a new map for Grade 6-8 FI at Rockwood Centennial, the first FI students will not arrive until the 2020-21 school year,” the release said.

A name for the new Rockwood school will be recommended by a committee that includes trustee Kathryn Cooper and the school’s new principal, Carrie Conrad.

The Rockwood boundary review, along with one for James McQueen school in Fergus that was also finalized at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting, are the last two in a series of reviews related to the board’s capital plan for finishing the phase-in of full-day kindergarten.

In accordance with this plan, the board is building four new schools set to open this fall – one in Rockwood, one in Orangeville and two in Guelph.

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