Sagewood attendance area consultation draws 50
About 50 people attended a Rocky View Schools (RVS) open house at Airdrie’s Ralph McCall School, Feb. 7 to discuss possible attendance areas at Sagewood school, now under construction.
The grades 5 to 8 school will accommodate 900 students and is expected to be open in the fall of 2014.
According to John Wheatley, RVS’ director of facilities planning, when a community gets a new facility, it is inevitable that students are shuffled from existing schools. He added RVS appreciates the input from parents before making the final decision about new attendance areas.
“It’s a difficult decision that your board of trustees will make on June 6,” said Wheatley. “Everything has to come together sustainably to support kids’ education. You tell us your priorities.”
According to Sarah McNab, communications officer for RVS, the Ralph McCall meeting drew the largest numbers of any of the organization’s attendance meetings to date. She said they were pleased with the turnout.
Sagewood resident Jennifer Berg has three children attending Ralph McCall school, which accommodates students in kindergarten through Grade 8 and is the city’s only alternative-timetable school, with classes running in August.
Berg’s children are in kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 5 and she said she likes the fact they all attend the same school.
“It would be upsetting if they got split up,” she said, adding morning scheduling would be difficult if her kids were bused to different schools.
Berg said her home is within walking distance of the new school and is hopeful her children will be able to attend it.
Anne Jessome, who recently moved from the Fairways, which is within Ralph McCall’s attendance area, to Reunion, outside the school’s attendance area, also attended the meeting.
Her children, in grades 3 and 5 still attend Ralph McCall school and she said the uncertainty of where her kids will attend school in coming years is difficult.
Jessome said she is aware her kids have a good chance of not being able to attend the Sagewood school, but attended the meeting to learn more about the possible attendance areas.
“I get it’s more than just my kids at stake,” she said.
RVS Superintendent Greg Bass and Wheatley presented the facts about the new school, which will offer core Alberta curriculum with a number of options including music, drama, construction, art, foods and fashion.
During his presentation, Wheatley said a number of factors will be taken into consideration when determining attendance areas such as transportation and keeping classmates together as often as possible.
Attendees were then given a break for about 10 minutes before taking part in small group discussions, during which they determined questions and ideas for the board’s consideration. Those included why is the new school opening at capacity; what will the new school calendar be and directing the board to minimize the number of students moving; and consider transportation.
Berg said she was optimistic about the consultation process.
“I honestly think they have our kids’ best interest at heart,” she said.
For more information about RVS’ consultation process or to complete an online survey (deadline March 6), visit www.rockyview.ab.ca
RVS board will make the decision about the new school’s attendance area during its June 6 meeting.