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Schools experiencing enrollment and space pressures

Tue, 3 Sep, 2013

Schools experiencing enrollment and space pressures

As schools gear up for the first day of classes, many schools in Edmonton Public are experiencing increased enrollments and space challenges.

To address some of the enrollment pressures, portable classrooms were delivered to a number of schools. These portables may not be ready to house students until the end of December. This is a result of the time needed to acquire the units, re-grade the sites, weather delays in installing the units on foundations, installation of sidewalks and connecting the classrooms to electricity and natural gas.

Two schools, Dr. Donald Massey and Michael Strembitsky, have been expanded with the addition of modular classrooms, which will be ready for occupancy on the first day of school.

“Schools are very innovative in creating learning spaces for students,” says Darrel Robertson, Superintendent of Schools. “This means they may use non-instructional space within the school to house students, such as using staffrooms, libraries, meeting rooms and lunchroom areas to create classroom space. Paramount to assigning space is student and staff safety.”

To manage larger class sizes, teachers are able to implement strategies to ensure student learning is not compromised. Examples of this are team teaching, where larger classrooms are used by two teachers to maximize the space. In these situations, principals are providing supports to their teachers to enhance collaboration.

Edmonton Public Schools has open boundaries, so parents can register their child in any school in the District, provided there is space and they meet any relevant entrance criteria. In addition, every student who registered in the April pre-enrolment process is guaranteed access to their designated school. As required under the School Act,schools must accommodate students in the attendance area first. Alternative programs and leases in schools are only considered when space permits.

The Board of Trustees and Administration will continue to engage with government, parent and community stakeholders to address space challenges in some of our schools. Based on pre-enrollment from April, the District is anticipating a projected enrollment of 84,500 students, up 1,058 from last year.