Rocky View Schools (RVS) has made a decision to reconfigure schools in the Langdon and Indus areas as the new Langdon school is scheduled to open in September of 2024.
Three options were presented to RVS’ Board of Trustees during their meeting on Dec. 14.
RVS administration said the new configuration means the new school in Langdon would start quite underutilized between 30 and 50 per cent, but stated it will grow as the community grows.
Trustee Shali Baziuk voiced her initial concern about the new school being underutilized, stating that more students should be put into the new school, creating more potential for options.
“We are a growing school division that is struggling to get new school builds and I think it is really important to show that we are utilizing this new school to the best of our ability,” she said. “I do understand Langdon school would have a smaller population but I also understand that there could be opportunities to grow that.”
The new school will be able to focus on the interests of the students and expertise of the staff, administration stated.
The new school configurations:
- Sara Thompson school remains as Kindergarten (K) to Grade 5 with the same attendance area.
- Langdon school changes to be a K to Grade 8 with the same attendance area.
- Indus School changes to be a K to Grade 8 school with the same attendance area.
- The new school in Langdon starts in the fall of 2024 as a Grade 9 to 11 school and becomes a Grade 9 to 12 school effective in the fall of 2025 with an attendance area of the combined revised areas of Indus School and Langdon school.
- Current Grade 11 students who live in the new schools attendance area remain designated to Chestermere High School for the 2024/2025 school year (as grade 12 students) with RVS transportation available for this year only.
- Current grade 10 students who live in the new schools attendance area and currently attending Chestermere High School would need to apply as an out of area student in order to attend Chestermere High School for the 2024/2025 school year (as Grade 11 students) with no RVS transportation guaranteed.
This new configuration means RVS will remove modular classrooms from Langdon and Indus Schools, according to RVS superintendent Greg Luterbach
“Even with those modulars removed, Langdon School, Indus School, Sara Thomson School, fit nicely in that 70 to 80 per cent utilization,” said Luterbach.
All the elementary schools across the region would be fully viable with space for future growth.
“We do know there is going to be growth in Langdon,” he said. “It allows specialty spaces recently renovated at Indus School to be utilized well, as well as the existing speciality spaces at Langdon School. They can be used well and what they were built for –middle school students.”
Additionally these changes create the least impact on students, maintain common grade configurations, and give the option for students to attend another school from their designated elementary school, according to RVS.
The board decided against making two small adjustments to the school area boundaries that would have impacted several students by designating them to a different school.
Luterbach stated that moving high school students to the new Langdon school would provide some relief for the Chestermere High School currently over-utilized.
The board also directed the superintendent to investigate opportunities to bus Chestermere students to and from Langdon area schools starting in September 2024 and report findings to the board planning committee by the end of March 2024.
Baziuk said she hopes this would present opportunities for Chestermere students currently in full schools to attend Langdon area schools which will have space.
“The question is, if enough students wanted to go, would there be a bus that could take them back and forth?” Baziuk questioned.
This would increase the enrolment in the Langdon school and relieve the Chestermere schools.
This could also be a precursor into the opportunity of introducing french immersion in Langdon schools, she added.
In response to the new school configuration, board chair, Fiona Gilbert said, “For the first time, students in the Langdon area will be able to benefit from learning where they live from Kindergarten through to graduation.”
“The Board believes this decision honours what we heard from the community alongside information and accommodation planning factors considered to reach a solution in the best interest of students in these communities.”
The decisions made by the board were informed by feedback received through spring and fall engagements where parents, guardians, staff, students and community members shared their thoughts in-person and online.
Luterbach stated that none of the options were ideal, but heard from families to keep school friends and siblings together, keep Grade 7 and 8 children with younger grades, minimize disruption to student learning and continue to make effective use of current facilities.
“The community has rallied behind having a local school for students in higher grades for many years,” Luterbach said. “RVS appreciates their contributions and looks forward to celebrating the school opening with parents/guardians, students and staff.”
Next up, the board looks forward to naming the new school in Langdon.
RVS encouraged all families, staff, and students to share their ideas with the naming committee through RVSEngage, which will be provided to the Board for consideration in February 2024.