With two phases down and one to go, Ponoka Composite High School (PCHS) readies itself for the year and what is to come.
Principal Ian Rawlinson explained what is in store for students. The third and final stage of construction has two parts to it; the first part will bring the grades 7 and 8 wing, the mechanic shop, and the fine arts centre — which will seat 150 people; the second part will bring in the gym and fitness centre, and the remaining CTS areas.
If all goes according to plan, grades 7 and 8 should move in to PCHS next fall and gym construction should go through the summer and into next fall.
There is something Rawlinson looks forward to this year — the return of the music program. This was one of his goals for PCHS when he started. The programs include guitar, “Kids are very interested in guitar,” choral and a general music program; this will include music mixing and digital sound.
He feels it will be a positive experience for his students. “I love that we can bring it back.”
PCHS has also introduced a program called Personalized Academic Comprehensive Education (PACE).
“It’s a way of trying to give them (students) the ability to learn at their own pace,” he explained.
Based on the needs of the student, the program allows for learning at different points during the semester rather than a fixed schedule. Students will work on a plan with their teacher and complete a personalized course; if they struggle with one subject then they can allow for more time with it.
“The overall goal is to increase high school completion rates,” he said.
The school has also been selected to work with the district on a one-year pilot project to come up with a better solution for students who have challenges.
“We’ve done a lot of work with at-risk kids,” said Rawlinson.
The goal is similar to PACE, which is to increase high school completion.
Rawlinson looks forward to completing the third phase of renovations. He credits his teachers for where the school is today. “I give a lot of credit to where our school is going due to our staff.”