Trustee Wants Remaining Open Concept Schools Converted

A trustee with the Greater Essex County District School Board is calling for an end to open concept schools.

Ron LeClair says he's heard from several parents who say it's an outdated idea that just doesn't work.

After several school closures in recent years, just two open concept schools remain in the public board; Roseville and Sandwich West Public Schools.

LeClair has asked for a report on the cost to convert the two schools.

He says there's a number of issues to consider.

"There's some good reasons to look at it because, one, open concept school settings aren't necessarily the easiest learning environment for our children. And clearly, there's also some safety issues there in terms of the unfortunate circumstances that we had a lockdown. Open concept doesn't provide a suitable facility or location for students to be locked down in, what I believe, would be the safest possible manner."

LeClair adds, time has shown the open concept model isn't the best.

"I was a Grade 1 at Sandwich West Public School when it opened as a brand new, open concept school. Obviously, as a young student, I really didn't know that I was in a different learning environment. But clearly, I think time has shown that it's not necessarily the most feasible way for students to learn."

LeClair says he became aware of the issue during the board's latest accommodation review which included the closure of open concept schools Eastwood and Parkview in Forest Glade.

The board will discuss the issue at its next meeting in September.