Birchwood prepares to welcome new arrivals
The welcome banners are hung and the staff are energized as Birchwood Intermediate School prepares to throw open its doors to more than 400 new students this September.
The new arrivals are coming mostly from Stratford, alleviating overcrowding pressures at Stonepark Intermediate. That’s no problem for Birchwood, which is known for its positive school culture and instilling a sense of belonging.
“You wouldn’t believe how many times I get hugs from students,” said Jan Thompson, who chuckles at her affectionate title, lunch lady. “We just love the kids.”
Balancing school populations will mean more opportunities for curricular, and extra-curricular opportunities like band and sports. Birchwood Principal Ron Carragher has been communicating with parents of incoming students and answering questions to make sure everyone knows that their school is a welcoming and caring place to learn.
“It’s normal to feel a bit emotional about change,” Carragher said. “We have had the same feeder schools for many years, but we have time to adjust and are excited about this new chapter. We want to make their transition as easy as possible, and we are ready.”
Grade 7 and 8 students coming from Stonepark will tour Birchwood at an open house at the end of May, where current students will offer tours and answer questions. Stratford and Prince Street Elementary students will have their own orientation on June 10.
“They will be able to get a real good taste of the school,” Carragher said. “Anything we can do to alleviate any stress, we are here.”