A new junior/senior high school is set to open in Langdon for the 2024-25 school year, and the Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees will soon have to decide what students and grade configurations will be attending the new facility, along with its proposed catchment boundaries.
After consulting with community members, collecting online feedback, and listening to delegations at the RVS board meeting on May 25, the trustees will look at the feedback presented and finalize their decision at the final board meeting of the school year on June 15.
The proposed configurations presented to the trustees last week would see the new school as a conjoined junior and senior high school, with classes ranging from grades 7 to 12.
According to the proposal, Sarah Thompson Elementary School in Langdon would shift from a kindergarten to Grade 5 (K-5) school to a K-6 program.
Under the same proposal, Langdon School would change from K-9 to K-6 programming, with students in grades 7 and up moving to the new junior/senior high school in Langdon.
Nearby Indus School, currently a K-9 facility, would reflect the same grade changes as Langdon School.
As currently proposed, the boundaries would see students in grades 10 to 12 who live anywhere north of and including the areas of Janet and Norfolk attend Chestermere High School. Anyone in grades 7 to 12 who resident south down to the hamlet of Dalemead would attend the new school in Langdon. The boundaries extend east to Inverlake and west to Stoney Trail.
At their meeting on May 25, the RVS board listened to stakeholders from Langdon and southeast Rocky View County present their thoughts on the proposed changes.
Indus School educator Meghan McKenzie addressed a few concerns about the proposed make-up of the new school. She said younger students are particularly vulnerable and can find themselves in tense situations when surrounded by older youth.
“Grade 7 students are too young to be attending school with students that are 17 and 18,” she argued. “Exposing them to situations where peer pressure is involved will make them more vulnerable and cause them more stress and anxiety.”
While she recognized that students will be split into different classrooms based on their grade, McKenzie noted this still does not highlight potential issues that may arise during breaks in hallways, bathrooms, change rooms, gyms, and other commonly used areas.
Focusing on Indus School, McKenzie touted the positive impact their current middle-school students have on students in younger grades.
“At Indus, the middle-school students positively interact, encourage and support the younger students,” McKenzie said. “Students cheer on the older students through pep rallies and share cross-curricular learning opportunities.”
McKenzie also added recent new additions to Indus School, such as change rooms, a shop area, a band room, and additional workspaces, will not be utilized in as effective a manner for grades 4 to 6 if the current proposal is approved, as the upgrades mainly targeted students in the older grades.
Chestermere High School students Ryder and Caine Couture also brought forward concerns about the new proposals to the board. Currently, the brothers live close to and attend Chestermere High School, but they now face the reality of being forced to attend the new school in Langdon once it's built.
The brothers highlighted their love for their current high school, and expressed worry about their younger sister having to attend a high school with older students.
“We would really like it if our younger siblings could experience the same positive experiences we’ve had so far,” Ryder said.
“We dislike the idea of having our grade 7 sister, who looks like a grade 10 [student] being enrolled at the high school with grade 12 boys, or men if you will,” added Caine.
Other parents and students brought up similar concerns last Thursday, adding road safety and travel distance as a main focus.
Those who wish to learn more about the proposed changes in Langdon for the 2024-25 school year can go to rvsengage.com.