More students at Okotoks separate schools
Education: CRCS has increase of six per cent enrollment in town
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 06:00 am
The sooner the new Davisburg school is built, the better for Christ the Redeemer School Division as its Okotoks schools enrolment figures continue to inch towards capacity.
The division has seen an approximate six-per-cent increase across the board in student enrolment at its four Okotoks schools.
“It is a good news story for us, but we are tight at all of our Okotoks schools,” said division superintendent of schools Scott Morrison.
Enrolments at the CRCS schools increased from 2,985 students in the spring to 3,150 students so far this year. The 2013-14 school year started on Aug. 28 for the separate school system.
The increase was expected according to spring projections. The required adjustments regarding staffing and classrooms have been made.
“We increased staff and space in Okotoks,” Morrison said. “None of this was unexpected because we had anticipated the increased enrolment.”
The biggest increase was at the K-Grade 6 school Good Shepherd School, located in the Tower Hill area.
“That school is the tightest and that school is the primary reason we got the new school in Heritage Heights (Davisburg) — you don’t have an enrollment story like this without a new school following behind it,” Morrison said. “Now we have to create space while we are building the new school.”
The Davisburg school, which will neighbour the Foothills School Division’s Heritage Heights school, is scheduled to open in September of 2016.
The Grade 10-12 Holy Trinity Academy opened with 798 students, nearly 50 more than its projections of around 750 students, Morrison said.
John Paul II Collegiate (Grade 7-9) saw an increase of 11 per cent from last year. There are currently 759 students at the school.
“John Paul II Collegiate’s biggest issues in terms of space are with phys ed and gym space,” Morrison said. “In terms of classrooms, we don’t have any extra rooms, but all the kids are in their proper classrooms.
“We don’t need to create makeshift classrooms — it’s a big school.”
St. Mary’s Elementary School has the same numbers of students it had last year at 715 students.
Morrison expects maybe a handful of students to enrol after the Labour Day weekend.
High River schools
School is still out on how the June 20 flood in High River will affect CRCS’s enrolment at its two schools in that community and if it will impact Okotoks’ numbers.
The flood crippled CRCS’s schools in High River.
Holy Spirit Academy – a K-Grade 6 school, which was partially submerged in “the lake” created by the flood – will not open this school year.
The Grade 7-12 school in High River, Notre Dame Collegiate, will not be operational until January.
Holy Spirit Academy students will begin classes at the Highwood Memorial Centre on Sept. 9 before going to portables at Notre Dame Collegiate the following week. The Grade 11-12 students will begin classes at the west wing of Senator Riley School in High River on Sept. 9. The Grade 7-10 students will be in portables at Senator Riley the following week.
In the new year, Grade 7-12 students are expected to be in their school, Notre Dame Collegiate. The Holy Spirit Academy students will be in portables at Notre Dame.
Despite the reshuffling and the late start in High River, Morrison said there were not a significant number of students transferring from the community to Okotoks.
“To be honest it has been minimal,” Morrison said. “I would just say it is a handful.”
The division will be sending a bus to the temporary housing facility, Saddlebrook, located just south of Aldersyde, to transport students to the High River facilities.
“Those are our families and it’s just like an acreage outside of High River,” Morrison said.
He estimates enrolments will be down 50 students between the two schools in High River.
“There’s a chance it could be higher because we haven’t contacted everyone, we assume they may be relocated, we will be down 50 at least,” he said.
He said several of the division’s new Canadian students have moved to south Calgary due to losing their rental units due to the flood.
Alberta Education considers schools full at 85 per cent capacity. All of CRCS Okotoks schools are close to that figure, Morrison said.
Enrolment figures for funding are submitted to Alberta Education on Sept. 30.