John N. Given to close at end of 2018 school year

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The public school board approved the closure of John N. Given Public School at its May 9 board meeting, with French Immersion Grade 7 and 8 students moving to McNaughton Avenue Public School, and English students moving to Tecumseh Public School.

After carefully considering the recommendations by senior administration and the information gathered during the community consultations, trustees of the Lambton-Kent District School board approved the plan to close the school July 1 next year and move Grade 7 and 8 French Immersion students for Sept. 1 of this year.

The board also approved “the establishment of an Ad Hoc Naming Committee to recommend to the board a name for the consolidated Tecumseh Public School and John N. Given Public School and appoint two trustees to serve on the committee,” according to Heather Hughes, public relations director for the board.

Hughes said the board takes an “arms-length” approach to the re-naming, leaving it to the community to decide if they want the name to remain the same or change.

The committee will ask for submissions from the public, narrow down the top contenders, and ask the community to pick.

“The name very well may remain the same, but we leave the decision up to the community,” Hughes said.

“The pupil accommodation process can be challenging. However, with valuable input and support from the Chatham community, trustees approved the consolidation of John N. Given Public School’s English Language Program at Tecumseh Public School and the relocation of the French Immersion Program to McNaughton Avenue Public School. This will allow the LKDSB to offer concentrated program supports in enhanced facilities, while also creating efficiencies for the system,” said Director of Education Jim Costello.

He added the LKDSB will apply to the Ministry of Education for capital funds for a reconfiguration of existing classrooms for additional and renovated full-day Kindergarten classrooms at Tecumseh Public School.

“We were really pleased with the support we received from the school communities throughout this process and we listened to the safety concerns about pedestrian traffic at Tecumseh,” Hughes said.

She said additional changes are necessary to reconfigure the parking lot to mitigate pedestrian traffic safety concerns.

If the LKDSB is not successful in the Ministry grant process, it will use LKDSB capital funding to undertake the work.

The principals of the schools involved will be working with senior administration to form the Transition Committee to oversee all of the “on-the-ground” details of consolidating the Kindergarten to Grade 8 English Language students and staff at Tecumseh Public School for Sept. 1, 2018, as well as forming a naming committee.

Community members interested in serving on the naming committee are asked to contact the principals.

Transition activities will be arranged for consolidating the John N. Given Public School French Immersion students and staff at McNaughton Avenue Public School for Sept. 1 of this year.

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