September 18th, 2019

Larger space opens doors for CAPE School

By JEREMY APPEL on June 13, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT
The ribbon is cut for the grand opening of CAPE Public Charter School at its new location in the Southwest Hill neighbourhood. Pictured is Bill Kournikakis, Janine Bide, Bev Gutfriend, Anna Gutfriend, Amber-Lee Van Leeuwen, Joshua Gutfriend, and Owen Gutfriend. The cermony took place Wednesday, June 12, 2019 with local dignitaries in attendance.

jappel@medicinehatnews.com@MHNJeremyAppel

The Centre for Academic and Personal Excellence hosted the grand opening of its new building Wednesday.

CAPE board chair Janine Bide told the News the new, more spacious facility will make it easier for the charter school to fulfil its mandate of providing each student with a personalized educational experience.

“We cater to the individualized learning needs of every student,” said Bide. “We’re able to provide each child a system within the classroom to teach them as they need to learn.

“We’re not confining students to a desk all day long. If they need to be able to get about and move around to learn, we’re going to work with that area, teaching the child that way.”

A bigger building is much more conducive toward students getting up and moving around, she added.

“The older building had smaller classrooms, smaller hallway areas and we were very broken up by three different levels (and) a lot of stairwells. The children did not have a lot of room to go out into the smaller breakout spaces,” said Bide.

“We have students who may need quiet areas to learn, or just have one-on-one teaching instruction, and there wasn’t that quiet area for them to go to.”

CAPE also offers an enrichment education program to provide gifted students with a “fast-paced” learning environment that differs from what they would receive in a public or Catholic school.

The grand opening was hosted by superintendent Teresa DiNinno and included remarks from Bide, Mayor Ted Clugston – who attended school in the building when it was a wing of Medicine Hat High School – and principal Jeney Gordon, as well as a statement by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange read by DiNinno.

Gordon said the new facility – which has the capacity for 350 students from kindergarten to Grade 9 – is more than the mere sum of its physical parts.

“A building is more than the bricks and the boards,” she said, listing some of the advantages of having a larger location. “We can fit in the same room. We can have things like assemblies and dances and dinner theatres all together.”

The school also has a library, also known as the “Learning Commons,” which was absent from the old building.

“For some kids who have left CAPE, we have not had a library the whole time you were here, because we had to convert the classrooms,” said Gordon.

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