Last Friday provincial Minister of Education Rob Fleming hit the Cowichan Valley with local MLA Sonia Furstenau for a whirlwind tour and to meet with local officials about the need for a new Cowichan Secondary School.
Community partners and school district officials turned out in force, including representatives from Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Vancouver Island University, and trustees from the board of education.
The focus of the meeting was to discuss the Cowichan Place concept that all partners created — a plan that is already on its way to being realized, with the new school being the final piece.
“The Board of Education is very pleased that Minister Fleming and MLA Furstenau took the time to come see first-hand why we need this new school, and to see the strong partnerships and community support for a new school,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the board of education for SD 79. “We believe they both have a strong sense of what makes the Cowichan Valley unique, and we’re hopeful that good news for our students and our community will be coming soon.”
Fleming toured Cowichan Secondary School’s James Street campus, where they were shown some of the areas of the school that are in need of seismic upgrading.
He and Furstenau also had an opportunity to see how teachers in the school are pushing ahead to teach innovatively in support of learners, despite having a school facility that is not designed for 21st century learning — a testament to the creative and dedicated educators that work in SD 79, the school district said.
As part of the tour, the Minister and MLA visited the Cowichan Trades Centre at the former Koksilah Elementary school, where he was again shown some of the incredible opportunities students have despite having aging facilities to learn in.
“Our school district is a leader in education innovation in B.C. and we want to ensure our students have the best learning environments and new learning opportunities that lead to their lifelong success,” said Rod Allen, Superintendent of SD 79. “We know that a new Cowichan Secondary School as part of Cowichan Place will allow us to do just that; and with continuing enrolment growth, and the support of our community partners, now is the time for this project to move forward.”
In recognition of Remembrance Day, Minister Fleming and MLA Furstenau also stopped by Khowhemun Elementary school where they attended the schools Remembrance Day ceremony.