HIGH RIVER, AB – Following approval (Wednesday) of a plan by Foothills School Division’s Board of Trustees, attendance boundaries for Spitzee Elementary School and École Joe Clark School will be realigned effective September 2016. The decision follows a comprehensive review and community consultation process to consider options to address student population imbalances at the two schools, which have developed over time as a result of growth and residential development trends in High River.
K-5 attendance boundaries for Joe Clark and Spitzee will be adjusted as follows (please see map attachment):
École Joe Clark School: Expanded to encompass the communities of Montrose, Southeast Central, part of Central, and all of the North Central region east of Centre Street, as well as Eagleview Estates and Stonebridge. In addition, the realigned boundary will include annexed lands northeast of the current boundary and the Spitzee Crossing development land northwest of Highwood Village.
Spitzee Elementary School: Revised boundary to include annexed lands west of Vista Mirage and Highwood Village.
Rural K-5 attendance boundary: No changes.
Through the consultation process, three key themes emerged: (1) minimize the impact on existing school families;
(2) consider Spitzee’s multi-age classroom approach; and (3) maintain the location of regional programs (French Immersion and inclusive education programs). The impact on neighbourhoods as well as walkability and transportation were among the other key factors taken into consideration.
“The community was incredibly engaged in the consultation process, and we thank everyone for their thoughtful feedback. We listened and believe this plan respects the needs and wishes of current school families while ensuring the division continues to provide High River and area elementary school students with quality learning environments,” said Christine Pretty, Chair, Foothills School Division Board of Trustees.
Highlights of the boundary realignment plan:
1. Current school families impacted by the boundary adjustment will have the option to keep their children in their present school. This may include younger siblings soon to enter the system at the Junior Kindergarten or Kindergarten levels, providing an older sibling is still enrolled in the school when the younger child begins school.
2. School families who have a child already attending Junior Kindergarten at their non-boundary school will have the option to remain at their current school.
3. As new families enter the system, they will be directed to their boundary school unless their child is attending a regional program located at the other school. New families who have already registered for 2016-2017 and are affected by the boundary changes will be contacted and their registration form will be redirected.
4. Regional programs will remain in place at their current schools (French Immersion at Joe Clark, and inclusive education programming at both schools).
5. Multi-age classrooms will continue at Spitzee.
6. Busing will be provided according to the division’s existing transportation eligibility guidelines for both no fee and fee-for-service busing. Students living in the Eagleview Estates and Stonebridge communities will now be eligible for transportation to Joe Clark if families choose to relocate.
7. A welcoming and caring transition plan will be developed to support students and families relocating schools.
Enrolment projections indicate that a progressive re-balancing of the student populations at Spitzee and Joe Clark will occur over a three-year period. This ensures the schools will not be impacted by a sudden dramatic decrease or increase in their student populations. This boundary realignment also reflects the Town of High River’s short and long-term growth and development plans, and allows for related student enrolment growth over the next five years.