YK1 calls meeting over relocation of JH Sissons students

Parents sit before a panel discussing the construction of a new JH Sissons School on January 10, 2019
Parents sit before a panel discussing the construction of a new JH Sissons School on January 10, 2019. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The YK1 school district will meet parents on Wednesday this week to discuss its latest plan for the accommodation of students while Yellowknife’s École JH Sissons is rebuilt.

The current main building of JH Sissons – under newly appointed principal Graham Arts – is to be demolished in 2020 to make way for a new facility at the same site.

YK1 expects the work to take two academic years, with JH Sissons reopening in the fall of 2022.

For those two years, some 300 students must be housed elsewhere within the school district’s system.



This Wednesday from 7pm at École William McDonald Middle School, the school district will discuss with parents the latest so-called “accommodation scenario” – a document outlining which students will go where, if the plan is approved.

The plan in question looks slightly different for each of the two affected academic years.

For 2020-21:

  • Grade 8 students from William McDonald move to Sir John Franklin;
  • JH Sissons K-5 students move to William McDonald; and
  • new JH Sissons junior kindergarten students will be enrolled at Range Lake North.

For 2021-22:



  • the JH Sissons junior kindergarten students at Range Lake North stay there for kindergarten;
  • new JH Sissons junior kindergarten students are again enrolled at Range Lake North (meaning Range Lake North houses all French-immersion junior kindergarten and kindergarten students); and
  • William McDonald’s Grade 8s for this year get to stay at William McDonald.

According to YK1’s document for parents, the plan means William McDonald would hold an estimated 455 students in 2020-21, rising to 506 students in 2021-22. The plan states this will be within the school’s capacity with the help of portable units.

Right now, William McDonald has 248 students.

Range Lake North would see its numbers grow from 266 this year to an estimated 298 in 2020-21, then 332 in 2021-22.

The Department of Infrastructure has in the past said if construction takes longer than expected, students may end up moving into the new school in phases as areas are completed.

As of the last academic year, JH Sissons in current form was reported to be operating at 109 percent of its planned capacity.