The Board of Trustees of Rocky View Schools (RVS) approved the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school calendars at its Feb. 8 regular meeting.
According to Associate Superintendent of Schools Murray Besenski, this marks the first year the division has invited feedback from parents and caregivers on a series of draft calendars.
“As a result of that, just over 3,100 feedback emails were received from parents, support staff members, teachers as well as other (stakeholders),” he said.
Using this feedback, Besenki said staff developed two additional drafts for each school year. These drafts were presented to trustees Feb. 13.
The calendars, which were ultimately approved by the board, include approximately 183 instructional days and nine professional learning days per year.
In 2018-2019, classes will begin Sept. 4, recessing for the Christmas break from Dec. 24 through Jan. 4, 2019. Easter break will take place from April 19 to 26, 2019 and elementary and middle school students will have their final day of classes on June 26, 2019. High school students will finish classes on June 27, 2019, to accommodate the provincial diploma exam timetable.
Classes for the 2019-2020 school year will begin on Sept. 3, 2019. The Christmas break will occur from Dec. 23, 2019 through Jan. 3, 2020 and the Easter break will take place from April 10 to 17, 2020. All students will finish classes on June 26, 2020.
Board Chair Todd Brand said, while the feedback process needs some refinement, the impact it had on determining the calendars was important and shows that the division listens to its stakeholders.
Besenki presented trustees with the outcome of Alberta Education’s Class Size Information System, which calculates the average class size at all grades within the division.
Classes in RVS average 21.4 for kindergarten to Grade 3, 26 for Grade 4 to 6, 25.7 for Grade 7 to 9 and 25.2 for Grade 10 to 12 for all subjects.
For core subjects, the class sizes at the elementary level are the same; however, for Grade 7 to 9 the average is 27.4 and for Grade 10 to 12, the average is 26.3. This is because, according to Besenki, high school students do not all take the same classes together.
Superintendent of Schools Greg Lauterbach said the reasons for class sizes being perhaps higher than in other divisions is in part due to the growth in RVS.
“One of (the reasons) is physical space. In our schools, we look at the utilization,” he said. “We are maxed out, so even if we had the financial resources to add a classroom, there’s no space to do that. We are reluctant to take over learning commons to turn into classrooms, or band rooms, etc.
“Then, the elephant in the room, is about money. Given the financial resources that are available to us, we have to make decisions about how allocations are done.”