The entire Royal Bay student body flocks back to the nest on Sept. 7 and principal Windy Beadall could not be happier with the progress they’ve made since opening their doors for the first time last year.
“We’re here now and we’re ready to go,” she said.
After a planning meeting with staff last week, Beadall said, “it was just so nice to sit down and talk about what we did last year.” Instead of starting from scratch, the group could look at what themes emerged from the last school year and focus on creating an identity for the school.
She compared the atmosphere of the meeting to a giant group hug. “This year was definitely very heartwarming – staff felt good, comfortable and they got through last year.”
Even before school started, Beadall noted “we’ve had kids come in and just hang out in the common areas.”
This time last year the school wasn’t just welcoming new students, as staff also worked hard to get settled into the new space. They also had to contend with construction workers completing the building’s finishing touches.
“This year, it’s already a distant memory,” Beadall said, adding “of course we’re always in growing stages.”
She was referring to the portable classrooms that now dot the landscape in front of the school, a required element with the student population growing well past the regular classroom capacity of 800. Workers were busy earlier this week getting those buildings ready for use.
“We have four on site … We’re starting off with two having full-time classes,” she said. “We’re using all of our classrooms in the school.”
Utilizing that space to its fullest extent has a ripple effect. When teachers have a planning period scheduled, instead of spending time in their own classroom, another teacher will move in to use their space for a class.
Beadall said population growth in the area has seen the school’s student body increase steadily. “We’re creeping up there to over 900 and (beyond).” And as of last week, she said, new students were still being registered. “I don’t think we’re slowing down.”
The Sooke School District will have a better idea of Royal Bay’s final enrolment numbers later this month.