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Continued growth concerns board

Rocky View Schools (RVS) Superintendent Greg Bass gave council an update on enrollment numbers throughout the division, Oct. 7. Bass reported a net increase of 644 students division-wide this fall. Airdrie and area saw an increase of 387 students.

Rocky View Schools (RVS) Superintendent Greg Bass gave council an update on enrollment numbers throughout the division, Oct. 7.

Bass reported a net increase of 644 students division-wide this fall. Airdrie and area saw an increase of 387 students. Chestermere, Indus and Langdon saw an increase of 40 students, while the Edge Hockey School in Springbank brought 296 students into the system. Both Crossfield and the Beiseker/Kathyrn areas saw nearly no net change.

RVS Board Chair Sylvia Eggerer noted the number of new students in Airdrie alone is enough for a new school.

“This is cannon fodder for the argument this board has been proposing for a long time that we need additional core space throughout the whole jurisdiction, but most of all Airdrie,” said Bass.

Trustee Don Thomas mentioned that when he was first elected to the board in 2004, RVS supported about 11,000 students throughout the division. That number has grown to more than 17,000 in six years.

“In that time, we have added three schools: Nose Creek in Airdrie, Rainbow Creek in Chestermere, and we are going to build Sarah Thompson (in Langdon),” said Thomas. “That growth represents more students than most school boards in Alberta have (in total).”

Rocky View Schools continues to beat the provincial average for high school completion rates, according to an accountability report released during the Oct. 7 meeting. The reports look at three-year, four-year and five-year completion rates, comparing them to provincial averages.

The Province of Alberta reports that 71.5 per cent of students complete the traditional three-year high school program, as compared to the 79.1 per cent in RVS. RVS’ four- and five-year completion rates sit at 83.1 per cent and 84.7 per cent respectively.

“This in itself is a very significant achievement,” said Associate Superintendent Murray Besinski. “What is even more amazing is that every traditional high school in Rocky View Schools showed a year-over-year increase in two of the three categories.”

Eggerer says that keeping up to date with such statistics will help the board look at ways to continue to improve.

With the end of the current Three Year Plan in sight, the wheels have begun turning to look at setting future goals. The former plan, which set out the goals of the board, used input from about 200 individuals throughout the education system.

Bass says that through digital means the board can involve more people in developing the plan, adding that as many as 10,000 people could take part.

“It is important to engage groups of stakeholders where they most appropriately can provide feedback,” said Bass. “It is recommended that an extensive, multi-faceted, collaborative and complex process be undertaken to develop RVS’ next Three Year Education Plan.”

Thomas and Trustee Helen Clease worried that face-to-face consultation would be neglected in the process, but Bass ensured them that the digital means would only merely a compliment to planned meetings with stakeholders and education directors.

“I think this is a very powerful way to keep the public engaged,” said Bass. “Could you imagine a billboard that says ‘help shape the future of public education’ and a link to a website?”

The process will begin in January of 2011 and continue until to May, with submission of the draft in June, 2011.


Airdrie City View Staff

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