Southeast Kootenay public schools going through a growth spurt

Ministry of Education tips one per cent enrolment increase at public schools in Southeast Kootenay

Enrolment in public schools across the Southeast Kootenay is tipped to increase by one per cent this school year.

Students returned to classrooms last week with an additional 55 classmates in their midst.

At the start of the 2017/18 school year, there were 5500 students enrolled at public schools in School District 5, which includes the Elk Valley and South Country.

The B.C. Ministry of Education expects enrolments to have increased by about one per cent or an additional 55 students this school year, with final enrolment numbers to be released later this fall.

A Ministry spokesman said growth in SD5 was largely attributable to in-migration of students from other school districts in the province.

“While SD5 is not considered a growing area, we do know that there are a few communities that have seen growth in recent years,” he said.

The Ministry is currently reviewing a request from the school district for an addition to Isabella Dicken Elementary in Fernie and extra space at Rocky Mountain Elementary in Elkford.

Growth in SD5 is consistent with the provincial trend.

Enrolment in public schools across B.C. is expected to increase by 0.3 per cent or about 1700 full time equivalent students this school year.

They will be taught by 3700 teachers, with the vast majority of positions already filled, according to the Ministry.

It has invested nearly $1 million to train more teachers, including creating more than 100 additional spaces in teacher education programs over the next two years and supporting initiatives aimed at increasing the number of indigenous teachers throughout British Columbia.

Through the Rural and Remote Workforce Sustainability Fund, the Ministry has also provided $1.5 million to address recruitment and retention issues in rural school districts, plus $500,000 for the BC Public School Employers’ Association to offer centrally-coordinated recruitment supports to rural school districts, such as regional marketing and recruitment fairs.

School runs until December 21 when students break for winter vacation before resuming classes on January 7, 2019.

Fernie school’s growing pains

A Fernie public school is feeling the squeeze as the student population swells to nearly 500 pupils.

Isabella Dicken Elementary School welcomed 472 students last week – 28 more than projected – including 75 Grade 1s.

The school has hired a new teacher and added another portable classroom to accommodate growth, which principal NicoleNeufeld attributed to new families moving to town.

“From what I’ve seen from people that have come into the doors to register, it’s people moving to town and then a smallgroup of them are students who are switching schools,” she said.

Isabella Dicken added two staff and two portables for the 2017/18 school year, and expects to hire more staff next year.

“If the growth continues the way it has been, there will be at least one teacher next year but probably more because theprojections for kindergarten, it was a big birth year so they’re projecting over 90 kindergartens next year,” said Neufeld.

“In my 10 years of being here we’ve just steadily grown and it’s just a very vibrant school. We joke at our staff meetings thatwe’re bursting with enthusiasm – we’re bursting but we have lots of enthusiasm… it hasn’t really affected what goes onalthough we’re feeling the squeeze.”

Just Posted

Huckleberry harvesting restricted to protect grizzly habitat

The Province is restricting commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting to protect grizzly bear habitat… Continue reading

Nelson rejects plastic bag ban, opts for education and awareness

Council will collaborate with Chamber of Commerce

Nelson U-Haul shutting down

Kootenay Glass and Mirror will no longer provide the service as of July 12

Search for missing Salmo motorcyclist called off for the time being

RCMP say no evidence of Cory McKay’s whereabouts was found Thursday

Live edge furniture company opens in Creston

Jeremy and Sarah Smith are the proud owners of Dombelltay Custom and… Continue reading

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read