Attendance Area Proposal - FAQ's
1. Why do we need new Attendance Areas?
Our school division is very fortunate to be in the position to open not one, but two new K-9 schools in the next 2 years. Up to 1,600 new spots will available for students giving some much needed relief to our existing schools that are bursting at the seams. There are a total of 3,400 K-9 students currently attending Spruce Grove schools. It’s our chance to set a new landscape that will allow for equitable access to Spruce Grove and area schools. Something has to be done considering how crowded we are right now and how clustered our schools currently are geographically.
2. What is the benefit of this new Attendance Area plan?
This plan accommodates the extensive growth that the City of Spruce Grove is experiencing in the newer neighbourhoods on the east and west ends of the City. At the same time, the plan ensures viability for ALL our existing schools and programs. This plan will allow our existing schools to operate at a desired capacity which is defined as the space required to offer the opportunity for a broad range of programming (e.g., specialized programming, music programs,Career & Technology Foundations (options), etc. which would be taught in their appropriate settings). The most effective use of existing teaching spaces will also avoid congestion in our schools for years to come.
3. When do the new Attendance Areas take effect?
Upon Board approval, the new attendance areas would take effect September 2016. Transition would be staggered because the K-9 school on Spruce Grove’s west end isn’t scheduled for opening until September 2017. Implementation plans are to be determined following the Board’s final decision on new Attendance Areas.
4. How was this plan formulated?
A working group was formed on September 1, 2015 which included representation from Spruce Grove principals, members of Senior Administration, Communications, Facilities and Transportation departments within Parkland School Division. Collaborating with consultant HS Facilities Planning, the group undertook a very thorough process over the course of the next 4 months. The scope of the working group was established. Educational objectives were set. This included an extensive examination of PSD enrolment and growth trends; a review of transportation database information by school, by grade, by program, by geographic areas & City of Spruce Grove neighbourhoods. Residential neighbourhood housing starts data was also provided by the City of Spruce Grove. The group determined desired school capacities, created and evaluated attendance area options based on the verified data and educational objectives. Feedback loops were used consistently throughout the process.
5. How was the community consulted about the attendance area development?
The Board of Trustees engaged the community during a period from September 30, 2015 to October 18, 2015 using the online tool Thought Exchange. From ThoughtExchange:
Parkland School Division's Board of Trustees are drawing up new Attendance Areas to enable growth and ensure equitable access to Spruce Grove schools, and they would like to hear from you. What are your thoughts?
School Council Chairs were invited to participate as part of the Attendance Area Advisory Committee for further input on the proposal December 14, 2015.
The Attendance Area proposal was posted on Parkland School Division’s website on December 16, 2015. Public have had the opportunity to provide input online since December 16th.
A Public Information Open House will be hosted Thursday January 7, 2016. The online form will be available for public input until January 20, 2016.
6. Which schools are affected by the new Attendance Areas?
All existing schools within Spruce Grove city limits as well as Parkland Village School will be affected.
7. How will PSD ensure a smooth transition for every student?
Spruce Grove administrators will work together to create transition plans designed to ensure that student success and well-being remains our Ultimate Goal.
a) Who is looking after the details of the implementation?
Parents will be well informed of transition plans for each school. School staff will be working closely with the students and families. The school administrators will guide all of this.
b) When will the implementation plans be prepared?
Immediately following the Board’s approval of new attendance areas, work will be underway.
c) How will I be informed about the plans for my child to transition to his/her new school?
Information for parents and families will be available through your regular communications channels with your school. (e.g. letters home, school website, newsletters, etc.)
8. Why has the New School #2 been included in this plan when it isn’t built yet?
It was the Board’s expectation that the planning of the Attendance Area adjustments happen all at once. This eliminates the need to involve the schools in this process two years in a row.
9. What were the popular themes from the Thought Exchange input?
“I want to have the choice when it comes to where my children attend school and I want to keep siblings together. Grandfathering should be considered.”
“Our children should attend school close to our home. Walking is encouraged to promote wellness."
“Please consider the effective use of space at our schools to avoid overcrowding. High school space is a growing concern.”
10. Will Prescott Learning Centre open in September 2016?
Yes. Construction of the school is currently on schedule.
11. Will New School #2 (West End of Spruce Grove) open in September 2017?
Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016 with an anticipated opening of September 2017.
a) Will students who are designated to attend New School #2 remain at their current schools until they can move to their new school?
12. What will happen if the new schools are not fully completed by the scheduled openings?
Transition plans would be modified to deal with any delays.
13. Are there plans for a second Spruce Grove bus transfer site?
The Board approved $1.8 million dollars to be established from reserves to support the expenditures for the design and construction of a regional bus transfer station located at the future school site scheduled to open in September 2017 in the City of Spruce Grove's west end.
a) How will busing be affected?
Parkland School Division’s Transportation Services will formulate a plan that would maximize efficiencies in all scenarios. This would include any transitional plans that would be needed while the second new K-9 school and the second Bus Transfer site in Spruce Grove are being built.
b) How will I know about my child/children’s specific bus schedule?
Transportation Services will communicate all specific bus schedule changes, as necessary.
c) When will I know about my child/children’s specific bus schedule?
All bus route specifics will be included at the same time that bus passes are purchased for the 2016-17 school year.
14. Why can we not allow everyone to remain at their current schools and just direct new students?
This would not alleviate any of the enrolment issues that currently exist in our schools. In this scenario, our new schools would have low enrolment. ‘Grandfathering’ will not be in effect, however the implementation plan will try to consider reducing the number of repeated transitions for students.
15. Will babysitting, transportation, custody, employment, special needs, friendship circumstances, etc., mean special permission to stay at my current school?
All families will be expected to enrol their children at their designated school.
16. Why isn’t every child automatically directed to his or her closest geographical school?
Two of the key educational objectives of the Attendance Area Working Group were to maintain a viable enrolment and educational program at all schools and to respect City of Spruce Grove residential neighbourhood boundaries as closely as possible. The Attendance Area proposal is designed to accommodate all the residential growth the City of Spruce Grove is experiencing in both the east and west ends of the City, while at the same time, keep the existing schools in neighbourhoods with less enrolment growth viable. The proposed plan will also allow for growth in Parkland School Division’s Programs of Choice.
17. Will I still have the option of applying for cross-attendance transportation to attend a school other than my designated school?
Details on this topic would be included in an implementation plan that follows Board approval of new attendance areas. However, it is anticipated that where space and resources are available, considerations for schools-of-choice may be considered once again in Spruce Grove. Cross-attendance fees would be in effect.
18. Why can’t the Maranatha Christian Program move to one of the new K-9 schools?
The size of the schools would not allow growth for the K-9 regular program and the Maranatha Christian Program at the same time. The desire of the Board of Trustees was for the working group to develop a proposal that did not include any re-configuration of grades at existing schools and to maintain that both new K-9 schools would be neighbourhood schools with regular K-9 program. Both new schools happen to be in the highest growth areas of the City and the proposal is designed to accommodate future growth.
19. How can the success of the Maranatha Christian Program be maintained in two schools rather than in the K-9 setting currently at École Broxton Park School?
Parkland School Division has seen the growth and development of the Maranatha Christian Program thrive under the leadership of a variety of school administrators. The expectation moving forward is that this will continue regardless of the school or schools involved. The program will continue to thrive through the commitment of our schools, administration, staff, students and parents. Should the current proposal be accepted, the proximity of the two schools will allow for more than occasional opportunity for early and middle years students to join together for buddy class activities, chapel, special events and celebrations. PSD's strong commitment to the program will not waiver as the program is embraced in new settings. With continued support from parents, we are confident that students will enjoy the same level of success they are currently enjoying now. Space at Brookwood and Woodhaven will allow the program to grow should there be increased interest from the community.
20. Why does there need to be co-terminus relationships between Early and Middle Years schools?
Previous student and parental input has indicated there is a desire to have Early Years students move as a group to their new Middle Years school together. This feeder school relationship allows for smooth transitions from Early to Middle Years schools with more collaboration between the schools.
21. How can parents help?
Once a decision has been made, parents can assist their children by helping them understand why changes happen and modelling a positive approach to change. Parents can help students understand that they are resilient and resourceful.