Vernon schools open new chapter of enrolment
After years of dropping enrolment, things are looking good for the Vernon School District.
In March, the district estimated total enrolment for 2016/17 at 8,397 students.
On Tuesday, district superintendent Joe Rogers said the actual number is 8,411.
“Alternate and distributed learning enrol kids all year, so we expect those numbers to grow and we’re certainly within our projections,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Education provides funding for increased enrolment in these programs depending on the February and May 2017 counts. “We’re a little bit higher in school-based currently and a little bit less in alternate programs, but we know they’ll grow in the next little while and we based our budgeting on those projections so we should be very good financially for our numbers.”
The number of students from kindergarten to Grade 12 is 8,016, up from the March estimate of 7,977. Alternate schools are at 82 students; distributed learning sits at 97 students; there are currently 217 international students enrolled.
“We had predicted last spring 8,397, so with our international students, total enrolment is a little higher based on today’s numbers than we were just a week ago,” said Rogers, pointing to his report to trustees dated Sept. 23. “This will give you a flavour of how much the enrolment changes.”
Increases can also be seen in a number of the district’s specialty programs. Enrolment in French immersion, K to 7, is 694 students; in Grades 8 to 12, there are 398 students enrolled; late French immersion has 60 students.
“Our parents and students continue to select the many specialty programs we offer students. One of our strengths in the school district is enhancing student learning through engagement and we’ve created a number of specialty programs over the years so you’ll see that our French immersion numbers are way up, Montessori is a great number, with 122 students, ESL is down a little bit but Vernon Community School is up to 75.
“These are all opportunities for kids to work in their areas of passion and strength and still get the Dogwood certificate and graduate with options, so we certainly offer kids a lot in our school district and I just want trustees to know the numbers.”