| Mar 05, 2014

The old image of a small school is of a one-room schoolhouse with multi-grade classes, a wood stove in the middle of each room and upper year boys taking turns binging firewood as the upper year girls collect slates from the younger students to bring to the teacher at the front of the room.

It’s a quaint image but it doesn’t fit with the modern education system. However it does have an echo in Sharbot Lake, where 32 students attend St. James Catholic Elementary School. There is a kindergarten to grade 4 class and a grade 5-8 class just like old times, but from there the similarities end. In place of the log schoolhouse is a modern modular building, and in place of individual slates there are internet-enabled, large smartboards, and the standardized curriculum is delivered in a highly personalized environment.

Vice-principal Anna Coe, who also teaches French, said the school has seen an increase in attendance in the last year or two, as families have been looking for a smaller alternative to larger schools and the public school system.

As a Catholic school, St. James offers a faith-based curriculum but is open to all students in the area, regardless of faith.

The school also offers support for their students. Those who require individual education plans are supported by an educational assistant who works half days, and the teachers meet periodically with teachers in other schools with multiple grade classes to talk about how to layer their classes to deliver lessons that are appropriate for all the students.

“The teachers and myself provide support. We are in constant communication about what we need to do next,” said Anna Coe.

The primary teacher at the school is Nicole Perry, who is in her third year at the school, and the junior teacher is David Rooney, who came over from St. Patrick’s in Erinsville this year.

“We take pride in helping our students achieve their goals,” said Anna Coe.

St. James is currently enrolling students for kindergarten in September. For further information, contact the school at 613-279-3300.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.