Early enrolment numbers promising for Clearview schools

Clearview Public Schools trustees had their first glimpse of the division’s enrolment numbers

Clearview Public Schools trustees had their first glimpse of the division’s enrolment numbers for the coming year at last week’s meeting.

While the numbers are preliminary and are subject to change by month’s end, superintendent Peter Barron said they are encouraging for the division.

“We are higher than our projection, which is really good news,” Barron told trustees.

The spring projection called for 2,369 students, while the actual enrolment on Sept. 5 totalled 2,390 students — an increase of 21, or 0.9 per cent.

Not all schools in Clearview had started their early learning and kindergarten programs at the time of the count, and those enrolment numbers are expected to change as those programs begin for the year.

Stettler’s Wm. E. Hay Composite High School had 501 students enrolled, above the projected 484. Meanwhile, Castor’s Gus Wetter School had 241 students enrolled, over the projection of 232.

Many of the small schools, including Donalda, Big Valley, Botha, Byemoor and Erskine, saw small increases over projected numbers.

In contrast, Coronation School fell short of projected numbers, with 293 students enrolled, down from the anticipated 311. Barron attributed that decline to the completion of construction projects in Coronation and the resultant departure of several families, rather than program concerns or school choice issues.

He noted that the school may be eligible for additional funding from the province’s Small Schools by Necessity program.

Board chairperson Ken Checkel remarked that the decline, combined with a similar increase in previous years, amounts to a “blip” in Coronation’s enrolment.

While up from the projected numbers, enrolment across the division is still in decline from the past year, when 2,436 students were enrolled. That represents a decrease of 46 students, or 1.8 per cent.

The final count for the 2014-2015 school year will be conducted on Sept. 30, and financial grants from Alberta Education will be based upon those numbers.

Principles and priorities

The board carried on with its discussion from its last meeting in August, striving to establish the principles and priorities that will guide its work over the next three years.

Barron again led the discussion, retrieving the lists that resulted from the previous meeting. In the discussions that followed over the next two-and-a-half hours, the trustees worked to boil down those lists into essential points.

At the close of the discussion, board chairperson Ken Checkel said the trustees had done “great work” to make those lists “shorter, cleaner and a little bit leaner.”

“After today, we’ll need to look at it again,” said Barron, reminding the trustees that the principles and priorities would be discussed again and finalized at the Sept. 25 board meeting.

Other business

The superintendent provided his regular report to the board. He commended Erskine School’s staff and principal Deb Spiller for their work in responding to an emergency situation on the first day of school.

Barron reported on his visit to Byemoor School on Sept. 10, and his meetings with Sgt. Duncan Babchuk and Const. Bill Lewadniuk of the Stettler RCMP detachment. He also mentioned the upcoming leadership seminar, running from Sept. 21 to 23 at the Goldeye Centre in Nordegg.

A regular board meeting has been scheduled for Sept. 17, at which the trustees will conduct the superintendent performance review and board performance self-review. Both of these agenda items will be conducted in camera.

The board also set a date for this year’s Recognition Night, which will be held June 11, 2015 in the Town of Stettler.