New Dundas high school to use both Parkside and Highland for 2014/15

[![Front of Parkside High School](]( of Parkside High School
The building housing Parkside Secondary School will remain open past the planned 2014 closure while renovations to Highland Secondary School are completed during the 2014/15 school year.

Parkside and Highland will operate as “ONE school on two sites,” says an email sent to staff of both schools late Tuesday by Principal Em Del Sordo.

The joint school will carry the new name of Dundas Valley Secondary School.

“Parkside will close in June 2014,” says Jackie Penman, Corporate Communications Manager for the School Board. “Highland and Parkside buildings will be used during the construction of the addition on the Highland site.”

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**CORRECTION **An earlier version of the story stated the decision was *made *at the Transition Advisory Committee. In fact, the Board's Facilities Management team made the decision. I regret the error


The decision was made announced at the Dundas Transition Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday evening and comes a week after School Board Trustees approved the new name for the Dundas high school.

During last night’s meeting, attendees state that only concept drawing were shown for the renovations and additions to the Highland site.

Here is the full email from Principal Em Del Sordo:

Good evening everyone,
As always I strive to keep you all informed of new developments in the transition in becoming Dundas Valley Secondary School. Tonight at the Transition Advisory Committee Meeting, it was announced by the facilities department that for the 2014-15 school year, Dundas Valley Secondary School would operate as one school on two sites ( currently the Parkside and Highland sites). Please note that next year we will operate as ONE school on two sites. Currently what that looks like still needs to be determined and my suspicion would be that student programming will guide our decision-making. The reasoning given for this decision was to provide the best student programming possible while maintaining student and staff safety during construction.
This new announcement will obviously bring up a whole new host of questions, which I will be happy to address and speak with you about in the coming weeks. As always, I am here to listen to your suggestions and I value your opinions. Please keep in mind that this is just a one year move as we build an awesome school in which we all enter in 2015.
This may be an emotional topic of discussion for some staff and students. Please feel free to come to me let me understand how I can make it better for all. I appreciate all that you are and do.
Em, Corie and Simon
*Editors Note: Corie and Simon are Vice-Principals Corie Pillinini (Highland) and Simon Goodacre**(Parkside)*

The School Board is sending the following statement home with students at the schools tonight:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you know, parents, students and staff have been meeting to develop a transition plan to unify two school communities as the combined Dundas Valley Secondary School in September 2014.

This year, we began offering combined academics and extra-curricular activities on the Highland and Parkside campuses, with the goal of moving to one site (Highland) in September 2014. This move will entail the closure of Parkside and the opening of Dundas Valley Secondary School on the renovated Highland site. Renovations include a 7,000-square-foot gymnasium, an expanded cafeteria, six new science labs and interior enhancements.

For 2014-15, we will operate as one school, called Dundas Valley Secondary School. There will be one course calendar, one set of schools teams, one combined staff, etc. However, at this week’s meeting of the Dundas Transition Advisory Committee, HWDSB Facilities staff explained that in 2014-15 the former Parkside building and Highland facility will be required for classes due to the extensive construction that will occur on the Highland site.

Using a site that the Board already owns (the former Parkside site) makes sense for several reasons: it will provide the greatest flexibility of programming during renovations; it will eliminate the need to install portables on the Highland site; and it will allow the Highland renovations to unfold with minimal disruption.

I feel it is the best option for students in 2014-15: operating as one school on two sites.

Of course, this news may raise some questions and I am more than happy to discuss these with you. It’s exciting to think that we are moving so steadily toward an amazing school named Dundas Valley Secondary School. I am honoured that you are joining us on that journey.


Em Del Sordo
Principal, Highland & Parkside secondary schools