Two new Kanata schools are opening their doors to students this year.
French public school École élémentaire publique Maurice-Lapointe in Bridlewood greeted new students on Monday, Aug. 29, while St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School in Kanata north is set to roll out the welcome mat on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Both schools offer high-tech learning in the classrooms with SMART Boards, iPads and laptops.
“The facilities are new, everything’s there,” said Maurice-Lapointe principal Dale McLellan. “It’s an addition to the tools we already have.”
Maurice-Lapointe offers classes from junior kindergarten to Grade 8, with plans to build an addition onto the existing school within the next few years to house grades 9 to 12 students.
“It’s very exciting,” said McLellan, who’s been a principal for 14 years. “It permits someone to think outside the box and look toward the future.”
So far, the French elementary school has 230 registered students and no portables on the grounds.
“Every room in this school is being used as a classroom,” said McLellan. “Before I put anybody outside I’ll deal with filling the space inside.”
In terms of the new school year, McLellan said he was looking forward to welcoming the students and parents in the community.
“We want the students to be proud of what they do,” he said. “Now we have to get more involved in our community, get more involved with the parents. I’m not hoping to see them in the school – I want to see them in the school.”
St. Gabriel, which offers junior kindergarten to Grade 6, will be a True Sports school. True Sports is a program that encourages participation in sports that develop children’s moral values and meets the social and health needs of a community.
The school also offers a number of green initiatives such as boomerang lunches, where any garbage is brought back home, compost recycling and solar panels on the roof.
Students can monitor the amount of energy generated and the amount used by the school on screens placed near the front office.
“It really defines what a 21st century school is,” said Jane Hill, principal at St. Gabriel. “We wanted to make the building part of the curriculum.”
The school currently has around 400 students registered, with three empty classrooms and no portables on the grounds. All classrooms are equipped with an amplification system and collaborative learning desks that can be put together to encourage discussion.
Hill, who’s been a principal for 14 years, said the new school is a unique opportunity to develop a community in the area.
“It’s so exciting just the whole idea of bringing together the community,” she said. “(and) building that community, that Catholic community in this area.”