At 8:45 a.m., the bell sounds in the school yard at Walpole North Elementary School, reverberating through corn fields and rolling pastures. Students who call this school their home-away-from home have taken the bus here from nearby Townsend, a tiny town centre, as well as from homes across the Haldimand countryside.
On the other side of Grand Erie, a bell rings at Central Public School, just blocks from the heart of downtown Brantford, a city of nearly 100,000 people. Central PS has been a fixture in this bustling neighbourhood since 1850, and the urban buildings and city infrastructure have expanded around it.
It’s a tale of two schools in Grand Erie. And, while they could seem worlds apart, each is fulfilling the same goal: Success for Every Student.
Director of Education Brenda Blancher, who is celebrating her ‘first day of school’ for the 33rd time while working in education, was on hand at both schools this morning to welcome students and staff. She was also there to highlight Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, now in its second year of implementation.
The Multi-Year Plan is what unites the vast, diverse region, in which both these schools exist. Like every school in Grand Erie, Walpole North ES and Central PS are embracing the Multi-Year Plan’s pillars of Community, Achievement, Well-Being, Technology, and Equity, helping each student define what success means for them.
“When we walk through those doors, we’re a family,” said Central PS Principal Joseph Atanas during the school’s welcome-back assembly.
At Walpole North ES, that sentiment is reflected in the beaming smiles on students’ faces as they walked into school.
“I love it here,” said Bailey, a Grade 5 student. “The teachers are so nice, and they make learning really fun.”
With a warm welcome and commitment to success, Grand Erie’s teachers and staff are creating the conditions that will surely make this year Grand.