At the beginning of each school year, the Superintendent must send a report to the Board of Education on the district’s class sizes and composition of the school year thus far, and at last week’s monthly school board meeting Superintendent Lynn Hauptman presented the report to fellow board members. So far in the 2011 school year enrolment numbers are down, but class size averages are below provincial standards.
“We are down one hundred from 2010, which is a little bit less than had originally anticipated.” Said Hauptman, adding, “We ended up having a few more enrolments over the summer.”
The total headcount of the 2011 school year thus far is 2,240, which is 121 students less than last year. However, eight cross-enrolled students, such as those picking up courses from distance learning, etc., must be subtracted from the total headcount, bringing the total to 2,232.
Districts are funded on their Full Time Equivalent students. School District 52 will be funded for 2,212.25 students this year, a difference of 54.62 students in 2010.
In terms of class sizes, School District 52 has stayed under the provincial requirements. This year in kindergarten classes there is an average of 17.9 students, which is just under the 19-student requirement. In primary classes (grades one to three) the district average is 20.4 students, once again just under the 21-student requirement. Intermediate classrooms in the district were well below the provincial requirement of 28-students; with the average intermediate classroom in the district have 22.1 students. Finally, secondary student classrooms have an average of 24.4-students in the district, with the provincial requirement being 30-students.
“The board really wanted to pay close attention to [the intermediate level] in ensuring that especially with the new middle school we looked at having smaller classes. We have accomplished that this year with our intermediate students.” Said Hauptman.
Even though the district has kept below provincial requirements, there still are a number of classrooms with more than 30 students learning in them. The district must inform the Board of Education of these classrooms, and why there are over 30 students.
In School District 52 this school year there are five classrooms with over thirty students, previously being six before a grade nine-math essentials was split into two smaller classes. These classrooms include a chemistry class and two secondary English courses, that’s only alternative to not having more than thirty students would be to exclude one or more students, a musical theatre class for secondary students that’s subject content is effectively conveyed in a group exceeding 30 students, and two band courses, which are also considered to be a course that is conductive to having more than thirty students.
According to the report, all of these courses with over 30 students have been consented by the instructors.
Something not mentioned, and brought up by President of the Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union, Joanna Larson, was the lack of information regarding the number of classes with more than three students working on an Individual Education Plan. Larson says that approximately 80% of their classes with more than three students working on individual education plans and that information should be known to the public.
Hauptman mentioned that that particular piece of information was not necessary in the report.