Student enrollments are up at all schools in the Foothills School Division.
The increase in numbers year-over-year has been easily accommodated and reflect healthy grown in the communities in which the schools serve. Foothills School Division is the public education body in the Municipal District of Foothills
The division recently reported that 129.5 more full-time students are registered in Foothills schools, with Okotoks schools experiencing the most growth. The numbers reflect current student populations compared with the numbers from September 2014.
The assistant superintendent of the school division is pleased with the increase. Allen Davidson told the Okotoks Western Wheel that finding more space for students is more desirable than cutting programs and staff due to decreased student enrolment.
The official numbers were documented and submitted to Alberta Education, the provincial body which governs all school programs in the province. In Foothills School Division, the province provides grant funds of $6,565.0 per student enrolled.
The increase of students, projected prior to the commencement of the school year, means that the division has been able to add two full-time staff and have been able to maintain staff numbers from the previous school year.
The biggest increase in student enrolment was in Okotoks. All public schools were up in numbers with the exception of Westmount School, a K-Grade 9 facility. Westmount was over capacity last year at 81 students, forcing 86 students to be housed in the school’s library. A cap of 700 students was put in place this year, providing opportunity for students in the designated communities to attend Big Rock School. Boundary adjustments were also made at the end of last year.
Now with 694 students at Westmount, staff report less congestion in the hallways and more management transitions between classes. Westmount is a K-Grade 9 school in the Westmount Estates subdivision on the South West corner of the town.
Numbers at Big Rock School increased from 279 to 408 students, most notably in the lower grades. Another Grade 1-2 split class was added. Big Rock School is in the North Central area of Okotoks and is an elementary school.
Foothills School Division is also adding portable classrooms to Percy Pegler School which should be ready in February. This French Immersion school in the North West part of town and Dr. Morris Gibson School in the Crystal Shores area of Okotoks are managing student increases very well.
Foothills Composite High School has 1,089 students enrolled, which includes its French Immersion program and Fine Arts program. Two new high schools are on the books for Okotoks in anticipation of future growth.
More modest increases were experienced in rural schools in the division, such as Black Diamond and Turner Valley with no changes to the school at Longview.
The Foothills School Division is the administration body for all schools south of Calgary, from Red Deer Lake to High River north to south, and the village of Blackie to Longview east to west. This includes schools operated on various Hutterite Colonies in the region. It serves 8,000 students and employs 900 teachers in the public system.