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The first day of school will be filled with new faces and new grades in a few of the schools around Fort St. John.

Dr. Kearney and Bert Bowes will be changing from junior secondary schools to middle schools, accommodating grades 7 to 9 while Grade 10 students will be moving into North Peace Secondary School, says School District 60 Superintendent Larry Espe.

Espe says the high school will be moving to a ‘flex block’ system to accommodate the extra students. The system means that instead of having a four period day with all grades having the same lunch, there will now be five periods in a day and each student could have a different spare period.

The idea is to have this new system in place in the high school for the upcoming school year until Sep. 2011 when certain classes may be moved into the Enerplex.

With the added grade at the high school, the school’s population will expand to around 1,100 students – an increase of roughly 200. However, Espe adds that class sizes won’t be affected since, with the added period, the school will be making full use of its classroom space.

To make the transition from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school, grade 7 and 8 students at Bert Bowes will begin on Sept. 7 at 8:45 a.m. and at Dr. Kearney at 9 a.m. Both schools will have a shortened day ending at 11 a.m.

Grade 10 students at NPSS will start on Sept. 7, with a half day between 8:45 a.m. and 12 p.m. This gives the students an opportunity to become familiar with the school, says Principal Ray Asai.

Regular classes for all grades at the three schools will begin Sept. 8.

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