PWPSD Board News – April 29, 2021

 



APRIL 29, 2021


Inspiring all learners to become confident, collaborative and ethical citizens
motivated with a passion to achieve a sustainable future.

Board unanimously votes to close Woking School at end of 2020-21 school year

The Board meeting at Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) Central Office on April 29, 2021 signalled the end of an era of education for the Woking area when the Board unanimously voted to close Woking School at the end of the current 2020-21 school year, following the Notice of Motion announced on March 25.

As part of the meeting agenda, two of the five available 10-minute presentation segments were utilized by Saddle Hills County Reeve Alvin Hubert and Karen Egge of the Saddle Hills County Municipal Library Board.

“This is a sad day for PWPSD and the community of Woking, but we have made this decision in the best interest of the students,” said an emotional Kari Scheers, PWPSD Board Chair and Trustee for Ward 1 – Eaglesham, Rycroft, Woking. 

“Since becoming a Trustee, I have seen a decrease in student population at Woking School, including this year with only one student enrolled in Grade 8. I believe Woking has the best teachers and administration, but they are already pushed to do more with less, including triple grading some subjects. With the threat of quadruple grading looming for next year due to low student enrolment and decreases to their budget, I believe the best decision for the students is to move them to one of the nearby schools where they will receive a more equitable education and be in classrooms with more peers.” 

In terms of the Weighted Moving Average – the funding provided by Alberta Education – Woking School was projected to drop below 35 students next year, resulting in a decrease in revenue of more than $210,000.

This information was included among a data-filled Woking School Status Report that was mailed to parents/guardians, school staff, community members and municipal offices on February 19. PWPSD invited feedback until March 24.

Both Spirit River Regional Academy and Rycroft School have the capacity to accommodate Woking School students.


Next steps – Transitioning students to Spirit River Regional Academy or Rycroft School

The decision included that Kindergarten to Grade 8 students from Woking School who live east of Highway 2 will be transferred to Rycroft School, and that all other students will be transferred to Spirit River Regional Academy (SRRA).

Any family with children currently attending Woking School, who are directed to Rycroft School, will be granted a one-time permanent opportunity for cross-boundary transportation to SRRA for any of their children. Families must submit a written request for cross-boundary transportation to PWPSD's Deputy Superintendent by September 17, 2021


About Woking School

The original Woking School facility was built in 1949 to suit 25 students and consisted of a single classroom and a library. The school saw additions in 1952, 1955, 1958 and 1962. A modernization project in 1982 included a gym addition. By 2010, the school was 44 per cent utilized with an enrolment of 60 students. The current school capacity can accommodate 116 students. Enrolment was projected to drop to fewer than 35 students in the 2021-22 school year.

 

2022-25 PWPSD Capital Plan approved for submission to Alberta Education –
Board requesting three new schools, one modernization project

projects

The Board has identified the need for three new schools and a modernization project in PWPSD’s 2022-25 Capital Plan, presented by Deputy Superintendent Darren Young for submission to Alberta Education. The Board also directed PWPSD administration to share the document with local municipal officials who may need to consider suitable future school sites as part of their planning. 

Two key projects identified

  1. Topping the list of key priorities is a Grades 8-12 replacement Peace Wapiti Academy (PWA) located north of Grande Prairie, with a proposed capacity of 1,200 students. The Capital Plan notes that the replacement school would accommodate ongoing student population growth in the attendance area while also eliminating the additional time required to transport rural students through the City of Grande Prairie, and simultaneously reduce early morning pick-ups and late drop-off times for hundreds of other students at feeder schools for whom busing is dictated by the lengthier high school day. With the existing PWA facility at 100 per cent capacity, securing a replacement high school is necessary to address rapid student population growth in a large attendance area that encompasses five feeder schools – Bezanson, Harry Balfour, Clairmont Community, Penson, and Whispering Ridge Community Schools.
     
  2. A second key priority is a new 9-12 regional high school located east of Grande Prairie, with a proposed capacity of 650 students, to reduce enrolment pressures at PWA and accommodate ongoing student population growth in the current PWA attendance area.
     

Two projects listed as important priorities

  1. Modernization of the aging Bonanza School, which opened in 1957 and received additions in 1963 and 1965 and a modernization in 1986, will ensure the facility continues to support the consistent enrolment experienced in recent years.
     
  2. A new K-8 school located in the Clairmont area, with a proposed capacity of 1,000 students, will relieve enrolment pressure that is building in the Clairmont area due to continued population growth in the communities and the surrounding rural areas. 
 
 

Committee and meeting reports

  • Trustee Knull reported on the Rural Caucus of Alberta School Boards spring meeting and provided the PSBC Report.
     
  • Trustee Anderson provided an update from the Communications Committee meeting and the ASCA Conference.
     
  • Attendees provided reports on the virtual PSBA professional development sessions held on March 30 and April 19; and the virtual ASBA professional development sessions held on April 26. 
 

Upcoming events

  • Kindergarten registration is ongoing: Register online from the comfort of your own home. A birth certificate and proof of residency are required for registration. Learn more about Kindergarten.
     
  • School Principal Day: Saturday, May 1
     
  • School Bus Driver Appreciation Day: Monday, May 3
     
  • Education Week: May 3-7
     
  • Mental Health Week: May 3-9
     
  • Happy Mother's Day: Sunday, May 9
     
  • Victoria Day: Monday, May 24. No school. PWPSD offices and shops will be closed. 
     
  • Next Board Meeting: Thursday, May 27, 10:30 a.m.
     
  • PSBAA Governance Session: Thursday, May 27, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Register here
     
  • High School Graduation Ceremonies: Planning may evolve based on current public health guidance. More information coming soon.  
    • Beaverlodge Regional High School: Friday, May 28
    • Sexsmith Secondary School: Friday, May 28
    • Ridgevalley School: Saturday, May 29
    • Spirit River Regional Academy: Friday, June 4
    • Peace Wapiti Academy: Saturday, June 12
    • Savanna School: Saturday, July 3 (tentative)
    • Eaglesham School: TBA
    • Alternative Education: TBA

Media: Request an interview

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PWPSD BOARD NEWS
A report on news from Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
published following each Board Meeting.

Content and Design:

Angela Sears, Communications Officer, angelasears@pwpsd.ca 
Peace Wapiti Public School Division,
Central Office, 8611A-108 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C5  

For more good news, see the News & Announcements section on our website at www.pwpsd.ca
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