School a place partnership: MacDonald

“When a community feels welcome it gives back," Jennifer MacDonald - advocating for use of school facilities by local communities.

Jennifer MacDonald spoke to the Board of Education at their recent meeting in Midway—she was advocating for a continuation of policies that allow the community to use school facilities.

Jennifer MacDonald spoke to the Board of Education at their recent meeting in Midway—she was advocating for a continuation of policies that allow the community to use school facilities.

“When the community is welcome, they take care and pride,” teacher Jennifer MacDonald told the trustees of School District 51 at their April 14 meeting held in the Boundary Learning Centre in Midway. “When a community feels welcome it gives back.”

MacDonald was giving the board an overview of the how the communities in the West Boundary make use of the school facilities as it prepares to review the Facility Use Policy of the district. She said that all community activities are coordinated with a member of the staff or administration taking responsibility and ensuring the facility is left clean.

MacDonald said a community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources.

With an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, it can lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. “Schools become centres of the community and are open to everyone—all day, every day, evenings and weekends.”

She listed several groups and activities that have used facilities in recent years, including Girl Guides, 4H, church youth groups, Taekwondo, art and dance groups. Discover Rock Creek, the Kettle Valley Scholarship and Bursary Society, harvest dinners, Art of Balance and senior walking and yoga have held activities in the schools.

“With limited public facilities in the Rock Creek area, our school becomes a gathering place for many different groups ranging in age and interest. The families in our community take great pride in our school and value its connection to the community.”

MacDonald told the board, “As you review the Facility Use Policy in the west, we can continue to build the partnerships that have already been created or we can begin to erode those ties.”