Specializing schools needs a lot of thought

Our one caution is to make sure that students aren’t forced into a box too early.

Our one caution about the idea of splitting Cowichan Secondary into two mostly separate high schools is to make sure that students aren’t forced into a box too early.

(As an aside, it’s also interesting that at the same time smaller secondary schools such as those at Chemainus and Lake Cowichan struggle to offer enough course choices to keep students in town, Cowichan Secondary is talking about the possibility of splitting and specializing its large population.

We’re curious to know where the schools that are already smaller fit into this picture.)

The initial direction of the discussions seems to be splitting the school into an arts focus to be housed a Quamichan and a trades/sciences focus to be housed at the old Cow High.

There’s no doubt that some kids know pretty early on what they want to do, and what they’re good at.

For others, though, it’s not so cut and dried.

Nor should it have to be, especially for students just heading into Grade 8.

We imagine most of our readers who think back on that time in their lives shake their heads now at their young teenage ambitions.

Who’s actually doing what they thought they’d be doing at that age?

A few people, but not many.

We’ve known folks who pitched two years of a university business degree to go into theatre.

Then there are the kids who are good at everything — sports, arts, science — everything. It would be more than a shame to cut off their access and stunt their potential in any of their areas of learning.

As the teens get older, more of them will likely be in a position to begin to specialize.

But particularly for the early high school grades the kids are still at a time in their lives when they are just trying things out. It’s important they do.

Officials have said the boundaries between the two newly minted secondary schools will likely not be set in stone, so students would likely not have to give up courses outside of their “stream”.

We think there could be potential, but there’s a lot of logistics to work out.