By Ted Ross
In the 1970s community schools began to appear across the land. One of the very early ones appeared in James Bay. In 1974 the Greater Victoria School Board designated James Bay School as a community school. In May, 1977, 40 years ago, the James Bay Community School Society was incorporated. In 1978, under a joint agreement between the City of Victoria and the School District, the community centre facility was built adjacent to the existing school.
The community school supports the concept of community education, which advocates the development of opportunities to involve the community to meet local needs and provide lifelong learning opportunities. For forty years James Bay Community School has delivered services to enhance the quality of life for children and families in the area. Important aspects of community education have been developed and supported.
James Bay School is an elementary school, serving grades K - 6. The school, and the community centre, are woven together. The centre, with its volunteers, supports school programs. Communication between the centre and the school ensures continuity of programs, and shared expectations. The emphasis throughout is on the value of lifelong learning and service in the community. Student leaders help out in community programs. Cooperative events and activities are planned and developed jointly. Family serving agencies from the community are directly connected with the school.
A variety of programs is offered. There is before and after school childcare as well as full care for school holidays. A licensed pre-school operates. There are youth drop-in programs. Adult programs include many meal opportunities, as well as community information and service support. There are many opportunities to volunteer at the centre, and there is the chance to establish community partnerships.
The community school is an important and welcome member of James Bay. We are fortunate, indeed, to have it serving us.
James Bay Community School - Committed to the Development of Community Partnerships.
"What is a Community School Centre?" James Bay Community Centre, 2011; several documents printed at the JBCS office, 4 21 2017; Interview with Darcy Topinka, executive director JBCS, 4 21 2017.