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Lake Country growth an issue
Like the thousands of students heading back to class, the Central Okanagan School District will also begin the new school year attempting to solve a few problems.
Superintendent Hugh Gloster said overall enrolment so far is very similar to last year’s numbers of 22,000 students, but one growing neighbourhood is creating challenges.
In Lake Country, significant growth in areas that feed into Davidson Road Elementary — such as The Lakes development — has produced more children than the school can accommodate.
“We’ve got an interim plan for this upcoming year to transport overflow students over to Peter Greer (Elementary),” said Gloster.
“We’re in the process of hiring an additional teacher at that school to help manage that overflow population.”
Gloster added there are medium and long-term plans to deal with the situations in Lake Country, including moving the Grade 7 students to modular classroom locations at George Elliott Secondary and eventually building a new middle school.
Another task for the school district has been keeping up with quickly-evolving technology and utilizing it to help students learn.
“We’re definitely moving toward students and staff being able to connect wirelessly within our schools and being able to access the Internet to do research using their own devices.
“Obviously we have to have policy around that. We’ve been, behind the scenes, developing infrastructure to be able to accommodate that.”
A final hurdle is the uncertainty surrounding the negotiations between the provincial government and the unions that represent school support staff, which resume Wednesday.
But Gloster is “cautiously optimistic” about the situation.
“We have done our work at the local level already; the local issues have largely been resolved for us,” he said.
“I’m sensing there’s a real desire to move toward concluding this in the near future…I’m optimistic we can avoid any kind of disruption.”