Chicopee Hills Public School
Greetings, and welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the top schools in both the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB).
Today’s school is one of the newest in the region: Chicopee Hills Public School, a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school.
The Region of Waterloo
The Waterloo Region is growing and expanding at a rather rapid rate. Indeed, by 2030 the region’s population is predicted to climb from its 2016 total of 531,154 to over 700,000. Consequently, the WRDSB is constantly undergoing major development projects to ensure students have the best opportunities available, and that there are enough schools to handle the growing number of students.
These projects take the form of renovations, additions, and brand new schools. In 2015, two such schools were completed: Groh Public School in Cambridge and Chicopee Hills Public School in Kitchener. Groh P.S. surely has its own tale to tell, but for today, it’s going to be all about Chicopee.
Though Chicopee Hills (as I’ll now refer to the school) was approved back in 2011, there were a few delays along the way that turned a three year project into a six year project. But when parents dropped off their kids in September, 2017, on Chicopee Hills Public School’s official first day, most would agree that it was worth the wait.
And for local students who’d had to bus to more distant schools, it was nice to have a brand new school close to home. Chicopee Hills is a striking school visually, with black bricks, large windows (some of them green, some white, and many seemingly black), and a large silvery gray section supported by rounded pillars that looks quite futuristic, with its windows and alternating darker gray panels forming unique patterns.
The interior of the school is just as nice, with bright, open hallways of white and gray, and every now and then a splash of green. Chicopee Hills’ logos are decorated with verdant greens, white, silver, and black.
Their team name is the Chargers, and their mascot is an artfully-designed deer charging with its antlers lowered.
Chicopee Hills features a double gym, a pristinely-maintained outdoor field (painted and set up for soccer), an elevator to ensure full accessibility, and even a room with a green-screen for filmmaking (Chicopee Hills is onboard with innovation and using technology in the classroom).
It’s a nearly $13 million facility, and it really does have some of the best features a student could hope for. Chicopee Hills is three floors in total, and it can accommodate up to 650 students (it had 569 students enrolled in its inaugural year).
As noted, Chicopee Hills is a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school, meaning students won’t need to leave until high school. For high school, Chicopee Hills students are zoned for Grand River Collegiate Institute, which is a few minutes northwest along Lackner Boulevard (you can read about it here).
Note that, through the WRDSB’s Magnet Program, students can transfer to another secondary school if it offers a specialized program they’re interested in taking. School hours at Chicopee Hills are from 9:10 am – 3:30 pm.
The office phone number is (519) 896-6090.
In terms of their efforts to maintain a safe, positive community, and instil strong values into its students, Chicopee Hills abides by two acronyms. The first is that every member of Chicopee Hills is encouraged to be a HERO, meaning they will act with Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, and Optimism (big words for elementary school students, but a positive message all the same).
Second is the WITS philosophy, which pertains to Chicopee Hills’ anti-bullying initiative. When faced with peer conflict, students are encouraged to Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, and Seek help. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that in practice (you can learn more from this video on the WITS program, which provides a fuller explanation and a somewhat inexplicable pop song variation on the WITS acronym).
Bullying can be a major problem for schools, and it’s great that Chicopee Hills is being proactive in combatting it. Chicopee Hills is looking not only to provide a supportive environment for students, but also to develop problem solving skills and empathy in them – lessons that will serve Chicopee Hills’ graduates for the years to come.
Chicopee Hills is the easternmost school in all of Kitchener-Waterloo (in fact, aside from all of the schools in Cambridge, it would be the second-easternmost school in the entire WRDSB, with only Breslau Public School, in Woolwich Township, lying further east).
This places it in the growing, beautiful Chicopee / Centreville neighbourhood (click one of the links to read more about the neighbourhood itself). To give a quick idea of what’s nearby, first we must mention the Grand River, which is just a short walk away from the school.
Indeed, students can leave Chicopee Hills’ front entrance and follow a serene, tree-lined path straight to the Grand River Natural Area or the incredible Walter Bean Grand River Trail. Chicopee Hills backs onto a thick patch of woods, on the other side of which is fellow WRDSB school Lackner Woods Public School (guess what that school’s named after).
Lackner Woods is another one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s top schools; you can read about it here. Also backing onto this same patch of woods is Saint John Paul II School, which just so happens to be one of the WCDSB’s top-ranking school (there must be some magic in those trees).
Finally, and perhaps most obviously, Chicopee Hills is quite close to Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort, Kitchener’s very favourite ski hill ever since it was established by Clare Duffus in 1934 (having lasted for so long, it’s clear that Duffus was no doofus).
To wrap up: Chicopee Hills is in a part of Kitchener that’s undergone much residential growth of late (thus the new schools; Lackner Woods opened in 2001, Saint John Paul II in 2010, and Chicopee Hills in 2016).
The area surrounding Chicopee Hills is home to a growing, diverse community, and it is replete with a wide variety natural wonders (all of which can be enjoyed by the students lucky enough to attend this school).
Because Chicopee Hills Public School just opened, the EQAO results have not yet been released, and thus, Chicopee Hills is not yet listed on the Fraser Institute’s ranking page. However, with its top-of-the-line facilities, beautiful location, committed staff, and forward-thinking ideas, it is safe to say that Chicopee Hills will become one of the top schools in the WRDSB.
Written by Will Kummer