One year ago this week, the Upper Canada District School Board released its revised school closure plan. In that revision, Seaway District High School and Morrisburg Public School were removed from the closure list. Since that year, a lot has changed.
Seaway received over $1.5-million in renovations and upgrades over the summer of 2017. Ross Video and South Dundas have solidified their technology partnership with the school, including donating new computers. And Seaway has applied to the province to offer a Specialist High Skills Major program in information technology.
Morrisburg Public School welcomed a new principal, and with renewed energy is attracting new students to that school. MPS parent council is vigorously fundraising for improvements to the playground and to other school equipment. A donation from the NAV Centre started the school’s computer lending library for families. Both MPS and Iroquois Public have been beneficiaries of the municipality partnering with Code Heroes which introduces programming to the school’s junior grades.
All three schools (Seaway, MPS, IPS) have seen the growth of renewed interest in the schools’ parent councils, and firmed up community tie-ins.
South Dundas was recognized last week by the Economic Development Council of Ontario for its partnership with the board and Ross Video. The municipality was chosen for the award over 114 other submissions. This speaks volumes to the positive direction this community has gone in the past 12 months.
Now however is not the time to rest on our laurels. There is still more to be done. This year is an election year. Not just for provincial elections but for municipal and school board elections.
Seaway is still considered a small rural high school and has a Grade 7-12 population of about 400 students. MPS is still working on renewed growth from the changes and improvements being made there. Meanwhile the UCDSB still has a surplus of student space across the board and there is no telling what effect a provincial election may have on rural schools like ours.
South Dundas is on the right path to grow our schools and help them remain sustainable, viable, parts of the community. The task involves a lot of hard work, but the outcome is so worthwhile.