School Advisory Council (SAC) Letter to PRES Parents

May 4, 2016

Dear Parents of Students in Petite Riviere Elementary School:

The School Advisory Committee (SAC) for Petite Riviere Elementary School (PRES) appreciates the recent letter from the South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB) outlining the current status of both Petite and Pentz schools.  In addition, we would like to inform parents and community members of what the SAC has been doing and provide you our perspective on the process to date.  We hope this update will motivate community members to express to the SSRSB their personal opinions on the board plans.

 For the past five years, the PRES SAC has worked continuously to address our communities’ desire to have our elementary children educated near their home communities of West Dublin, Crescent Beach, Petite Riviere, Broad Cove, Cherry Hill, Vogler’s Cove, Crousetown, Mount Pleasant, and New Cumberland.  

Our actions have included:

  • specific meetings with school board members and elected local and provincial government officials, including the Minister of Education,
  • attendance at all school board meetings where PRES issues and concerns were discussed,
  • preparation in 2012-2013 of a detailed report on the feasibility of creating PRES as a HUB school, and then sharing this well-supported report with the school board at a local meeting attended by over 100 parents and community members,
  • numerous letters to SSRSB outlining our “small school in the community” position.

Most recently we have reviewed and discussed the SSRSB letter that was forwarded to parents on Friday, April 29, 2016.  It outlines several positive steps, such as the Minister’s assurance that both Pentz and Petite schools will remain open in 2016-2017, and her offer last winter of funding for an Additions and Alterations (A&A) to renovate and/or expand the structures of one of the schools.

Rather than accept the Minister’s funding offer and making the decision regarding which school site will receive and A&A (at an estimated cost of $6 M), the board has chosen to put off that decision and requested, for a third time, a new school build (at an estimated cost of over $12 M).

At this time, the Pentz School community only supports a request for a new build.  The PRES SAC feels the A&A is a more reasonable, timely and achievable option.  The PRES  SAC is concerned that the board’s twice-denied request for a new build could override the Minister’s earlier offer to provide the funding for an A&A, especially give the present economic times.

We had hoped the board would make a decision to ask for an A&A this spring.  Therefore, we are very disappointed that the school board plans to put off the decision until it receives a response from the provincial government sometime in late fall.  The board is bound by a legislated 5 year limit to this closure uncertainty, and we are already past the 3 year mark.  Since October is election time for the school board, we fear that any decision will be further put off until after the election; then, with possible new board members needing to become familiar with the issues, be further postponed.

There is not a lot of time before the end of this school year.  We feel it is very important that the school board hears from community members NOW.  Please call or write to let them know where you stand about their delay in accepting an A&A versus their request for a new build.  Ask them to include an A&A request for our school on their priority list.  Contact information is on the page below.

Thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring the children of our community continue to receive a high quality education within our community boundaries and without the negative impact of long hours of bussing.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the SAC members (our names and email addresses available on the school website:


Leif Helmer,
PRES School Advisory Committee
902-688-1562 (home)

PRES Spring Fair 2016

Parents and community members can help us get started with our preparations by:

  • Donating items for plant table (house/garden), theme baskets, surprise bags and toys/youth books for the toy room.
  • Providing ideas for the fair,
  • Volunteering to help prepare for and/or work at the fair, and
  • Attending Spring Fair meetings.

 The homerooms theme baskets are:

  • P/1 — Beach Day
  • 2/3 — Rainy Day Fun
  • 4/5 — Sweet Tooth
  • 5/6 — Arts & Crafts

Petite Riviere Elementary School is a Recipient of a Lieutenant Governor’s Respectful Citizenship Award

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award was presented to our school, Petite Riviere Elementary, for our work in establishing peaceful and inclusive spaces through our Garden and Woods Project.

On Wednesday Feb. 24th representatives from our student body and staff travelled with their families to Halifax to watch, as Rowan, Jenna, Jacob and Maya accepted the honour on our behalf.  The Honourable Lieutenant Governor J.J. Grant and Education Minister Ms. Karen Casey proudly shook hands with our ambassadors as our work was acknowledged. 

Our Garden has become a favourite space to go at recess to weed and reflect.  The garden is always open.  We rely on many volunteers; from Tristan with his horse and plow to Ty and his family, Maeve and her family, Theryn and his family, who take on a whole week in the summer to make sure our garden stays watered and weed free, and that we have a wonderful harvest to return to in September!  As well, the teachers and staff who use the garden as a teaching space for science and health class. The Garden truly is a favourite spot to be!

Our Woods… well we have become the envy and inspiration of many schools.  Our students play in the ‘Woods’.  They play creatively, with a purpose, with collaboration and problem solving.  We carry sticks, logs, and rocks. We build bridges over puddles, we work with mud and leaves to make designs, and we tie ropes and tarps. We run, walk, hop, dance and yes climb trees!  The play is in the making, discovering and creating of our many shelters and forts and homes.  We interact with nature daily!

And it is for these reasons I feel very proud and grateful to be involved with such a school community who has embraced and supported this path of playing and learning with us.  The award is the icing on the cake!



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