Our School

About Us  

We are a small country school (PP-6) located in Maryvale (8 minutes from Hawthorne Convenience).  We presently welcome students from the Pictou County line through to the top of Hawthorne Street.  We offer excellent academic programs in a nurturing environment where uniqueness is valued and strengths are identified and enhanced.

History of H. M. MacDonald School   

In the 1930's and 40's and previous to that period the north shore area of Antigonish County consisted of nine one room schools. They were located at Cape George, Morar, Georgeville, Malignant Cove, Arisaig, McArras Brook, Maryvale, Big Marsh, and Pleasant Valley. During the 1940's a new school was built at McArras Brook. Some years later the building was moved to Arisaig where both rooms were combined to form a two-department school.

In 1949 an additional room was built at the Malignant Cove School and it became a two-department school serving the students of that area only. Later in 1953 all Grade 9, 10, and 11's {with the exception of Cape George} of the above mentioned sections received instruction at the Malignant Cove School.

St. Andrew Rural High School opened in 1956 and all Junior and Senior students were enrolled there. Arisaig and Malignant Cove returned to one-room status.

In 1958 Georgeville and Morar combined. Grades Primary to 4 went to Morar and Grades 5 and 6 went to Malignant Cove.

That situation continued until 1963 when construction began on the North Shore Consolidated School. Due to a late start the building was not completed on time for the opening of school on August 26th. The result was Grades 4, 5, and 6 were taught at Malignant Cove while Grades Primary, 1, 2, and 3 were taught at Arisaig School.

On November 12, 1963 all classes transferred to the new building in Maryvale. The following year a new classroom was provided by utilizing the teacher's lunch room and part of the multi-purpose area.

In 1970 the name of the school was changed to H. M. Mac Donald Elementary, a name synonymous with the area. With the exception of a few changes the building remained the same until1974 when an extra classroom was added as well as a gymnasium. 

Enrolments increased in the early 90’s, and two classrooms and a music/art room were added to the existing structure. 

In the late 90’s, a push to close small rural schools prompted the community to stand up and get involved in saving this school.  Tireless efforts and commitment by the community at large resulted in a positive outcome.  In recent years, budget cuts and reconfigurations has caused the community continued worry of this school closure.  Every year, the administration, staff and community continue to focus on school improvement to address both academic and climate needs. 

On November 12, 2013, H. M. MacDonald celebrated its 50th Anniversary and was recognized by the province with the School Accreditation distinction for its school improvement work.

Hugh Martin (H. M.) MacDonald

Dr. Hugh Martin MacDonald, B.A., M.A., PH.D., was born in Maryvale, Antigonish County in 1899. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 1922 and taught in Alberta and Saskatchewan until he returned to Nova Scotia as Inspector of Schools for Antigonish and Guysborough Counties in 1930. His post-graduate studies were received at Columbia University, New York, where he received his Master Degree in school administration on September 15, 1975. Dr. MacDonald received the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris causa) from St. Francis Xavier University. Rev. Malcolm MacDonnell, then President of St. F. X. University, stated in his letter of citation: His memorable tenure of office as Inspector of Schools for Antigonish County constitutes one of the most brilliant and progressive chapters in the educational annals of this county. During his tenure he reorganized the one-room county school into the larger school units. H. M. MacDonald Elementary School in Maryvale bears his name as commemoration of his innovative administrative foresight during his incumbent years as Inspector of Schools.

Our Core Values

We believe that authentic learning is motivating, challenging, and engaging for students and teachers.

We believe that there needs to be a strong, trusting teacher/learner relationship.

We believe that all students learn differently and therefore we need to accommodate for all learners.

We believe in helping students develop a strong sense of who they are and where they come from.

We believe that successful learning is obtained by providing a safe and positive emotional and physical learning environment.