The Red Deer Public School District board has approved changes to where northside public school students will go to school next year.
The changes come as a result of three of the northside schools — including Glendale, G.H. Dawe and Normandeau — changing to kindergarten to Grade 8 facilities next year.
The current Normandeau Elementary School catchment area — the boundary for the students attending that school — will be divided into two parts, with the eastern half of the students continuing to go to Normandeau for kindergarten to Grade 8 and the western half now assigned to Glendale for kindergarten to Grade 8.
Most Aspen Heights Elementary School students will continue to attend kindergarten to Grade 5 at Aspen Heights and complete Grade 6 to 8 at Normandeau.
The G.H. Dawe catchment area remains the same, but will be extended to include students in Grades 6 to 8.
The Red Deer Public School District used a demographic software program to help administrators determine the catchment areas for students and ensure that they are relatively equal in size for each school in terms of student population.
The changes will take place next September.
Don Falk, superintendent of the Red Deer Public School District, said school district administrators try to keep neighbourhoods together as much as possible, so there aren’t children who live next door to each other who are directed to two different schools.
“To the extent possible, we’ve used natural boundaries, such as parks and forested area or streets as the dividing points so as to keep neighbourhoods together as much as we possibly can,” Falk said. He said the district also tries to ensure that as many children are as close to school as possible.
Under the new boundaries, some students who had been eligible for transportation will no longer have access to it because their designated schools will change next year.
As a result of the students being situated closer to their new designated school, they may be within the walk limit and not be eligible for transportation or a transit pass.
This could affect, for instance, some students shifting from Normandeau to Glendale, those who had attended Glendale and will now attend Normandeau or G.H. Dawe and some students who are currently enrolled at Central Middle School.
Even if students are assigned to a new school, they will still have the option of remaining at the current school they are attending, so long as there is enough room and resources, Falk said.
Last June, the public district board approved the plan to make G.H. Dawe Community School, Normandeau Elementary School and Glendale Middle School kindergarten to Grade 8 facilities to improve achievement by students.
The idea is that less transitions between schools will help students develop stronger bonds and relationships between fellow students and their teachers.
A detailed package on the catchment area changes will go out to parents in January.