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School transition in Pictou appears successful

Students who moved from McCulloch Junior High to McCulloch Education Centre handled the transition well, says the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s system development supervisor.

Dr. Chris Boulter told CCRSB board members this week that students currently in grades 7 and 8 are maintaining good academic standing and attendance after moving from the former junior high to McCulloch Education Centre.

“Attendance improved by 14 per cent in the first three months of the school year, compared to the previous year,” he said. “The transition, I believe based on that, worked. They attended more regularly in that time frame.”

He said data collected until Feb. 14 show that attendance of students in those grades has levelled off to the same numbers as the previous school year, to an average of 4.6 days missed.

His report was part of the school review process that took place in 2016-2017 and resulted in the former Pictou Academy being closed and students from grades 9-12 moving into the former McCulloch Junior High, which became the new Pictou Academy.

Grades 6 to 8, formerly at the junior high, were moved to the former Pictou Elementary School, now a primary to 8 school and renamed McCulloch Education Centre.

In regard to academics, he said, based on report cards from the previous year and this year, for the first three months of the school year, students were showing an improvement in math and English grades.

Reportable occurrence, where a student’s behaviour issue is recorded in Powerschool, also registered lower in the last three months. Last year for those students there were 12 reportable occurrences in the first three months and this year it dropped to 10.

Boulter said the McCulloch Education Centre Principal Frank McNeill told him the transition for those two grades was smooth and the students settled into new routines well.

The principal said the students told him they are enjoying the cafeteria and being able to stay in school at lunch hour. The school also has a mascot, the Pirates.

There are also more guidance services available, more sports teams being offered as well as opportunities for student leadership, dance and yearbook.

Boulter said it is not believed there is any negative impact on the students in the lower grades as a result of more students of higher grades moving into the school.

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