The doors were wide open at Bradford’s newest elementary school on Thursday.
Marshview Public School held an open house, inviting members of the community to visit and explore the school to see classrooms and facilities, speak to staff, shop at a book sale and even grab an ice-cream cone from the truck out front.
The school was originally planned to open in the fall of 2022, but due to construction delays, staff and students didn’t officially move in until April 3, making it the newest elementary school in the Simcoe County District School Board.
“It was a special first day of school. We were able to have siblings who weren’t in the same schools back together, and staff who hadn’t had an opportunity to work together," said Principal Robin Dashnay.
"It was a really great experience like a little family reunion for us to come in together and so great to have our whole team under one roof, and all our students under one roof,” Dashnay said.
Prior to Marshview opening, students and staff were split between two sites, with some at W.H. Day Elementary School, and some at Chris Hadfield Public School.
Despite the challenges of opening a new school mid-spring, Dashnay maintained a positive outlook.
“We’ve always called this our dress rehearsal for the fall. Let’s get in, let's figure out the new school and let's prepare for a really strong September start,” he said.
Marshview currently has 50 educators and about 520 students with a total capacity of more than 600 students.
The school offers classes from junior kindergarten to Grade 8, and also offers before- and after-school care through a partnership with Upper Canada Child Care.
Despite only teaching out of the school for less than two months, Dashnay said “it feels like home,” and while he and staff are still working out some minor bumps and growing pains that come with a new institution, he feels things have gone smoothly, which he attributes to a group effort.
“It has a lot to do with the team. We’ve assembled an outstanding team of educators here and it has a lot to do with our community. Our community has been so patient and so kind, and they’ve been excited for us as much as we’ve been excited to get into the school, so that community piece has been really special,” he said.
“It was a big effort by the staff a big effort by the facilities team at the board. The board has been so supportive of us.”
Dashnay said that since opening things have come together quickly, including having the gymnasium opened on Day 2, the library operational and students signing out books by the second week, getting the basketball nets up on the tarmac a few weeks ago, and expecting to have sod down on the field next week.
“That’s been a little bit of an additional bonus for us. Every couple of days something new happens. We just put up the sign the other day out front of the school. We’re a work in progress, but there’s lots of things to look forward to,” he said.
When asked how he felt about the open house, Dashnay said he and staff were very pleased.
“I’m sure we’ve had a thousand people walk through this building already. It’s so fun to see students be the tour guides for their families. They’re proud to show off their school and their classrooms. The families have waited a long time for this and they deserve a night like this,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude and relief about the current lack of pandemic restrictions, and not needing to worry about how they could have impacted the event.
“I’m so grateful that we get to open the doors to the school community tonight, where a couple years ago, maybe even a year ago, I’m not sure we would have been able to. But today, the doors are wide open,” he said.