The last blog in this series was dated Feb 11, 2020. “And So We Begin” shares the excitement of our January 2020 announcement: that we had secured a site for the Senior School and would be open for grade 9 in September 2021. After the effort of a generation, it was finally going to happen.
We had no idea that our largest obstacle was yet to come.
I’m willing to guess most adults have a vivid memory of where they were when the provincial lockdown announcement was made last March. I was in the middle of a quiet March Break. A trip my husband and I planned had already been cancelled and was replaced with a solo trip to Ottawa to visit my father. On the drive along the 401, I joined senior management and Board members on a call to discuss the implications for the Senior School. Though the ensuing ten months weren’t at all what we expected, they became part of the Senior School story.
Where have we been since the last update? Those in the KCS community know we launched a fully online K-8 program by the third day post-March Break. Then we redesigned anew to provide our In-School/At-Home program, including substantial commitment to pandemic mitigation, this past fall. What many don’t know is in the midst of these unprecedented transformations, some of us explored possible paths forward for the Senior School. Could we get construction done for 2021? Offer grade 9 at the Junior School until the Lake Shore site was complete? The unpredictability, and the need to focus on the Junior School, pushed these ideas aside.
By October, attention returned to include the Senior School. It was clear the Lake Shore site couldn’t be ready for 2021, so the updated construction timeline and financial modelling had September 2022 as our opening date.
That’s when our Senior School founding families entered this story.
They reminded us that we could make 2021 happen. They wanted our Senior School for their children currently in grade 8. The pandemic brought into focus what mattered most for them – the school they respected, offering the experience they believed in, and the attention to safety they expected. If nothing else, the pandemic had taught us all to be patient. They were willing to be patient when it came to the Lake Shore site. Their determination to help make 2021 happen reignited our own.
We figured out what a Bridge Year could be. The founding families re-registered, and external families are joining this founding group. A terrific new partnership with Centauri Arts meant we would have a compelling location for grade 9 in addition to some impressive expertise joining our program. On January 20th, almost one year after that first major announcement, it was confirmed that we would indeed be offering our first grade 9 class in September 2021.
This was a lengthy detour, and a test of our mettle. The excitement marking our achievement in early 2020 is now fully returned at the imminent offering of grade 9. I will be teaching again, we have some great new KCS staff joining our team, and we’re securing Learning Partners to further enrich our program. Our story is far from over, but we’re back where we were, making this dream a reality.