Having to head back to school after Christmas break next week might not thrill elementary students in east Red Deer, but the ability to secure their place in a new school next September might help to alleviate some of the glumness.
Starting on Monday, registration begins for the newest public school in Red Deer, École Barrie Wilson Elementary School, set to open in September. Located in the Timberlands neighbourhood, the school will come into being with a capacity of 500 students and offer French immersion as well as regular programming.
The division approved new school attendance boundaries in early 2013, after a period of community consultation.
Starting next school year, French immersion students living east of 30th Avenue will move from Mountview School to Barrie Wilson. The new kindergarten to Grade 5 school will also cater to English students in the Clearview Ridge, Clearview Extension, College Park, Garden Heights, Laredo, Timberlands, Timberstone, Vanier East and Vanier Woods neighbourhoods.
Along with Mountview School, the other schools in the city’s east that will lose students to the new facility in 2014 are Joseph Welsh, Grandview, Annie L. Gaetz, and Mattie McCullough elementary schools. The division’s director of community relations, Bruce Buruma, said he expects the new school will open at near capacity; it is being designed to accommodate portable classrooms in the future to permit the instruction of up to 600 students.
Three registration sessions will take place at Balmoral Bible Chapel, located at the intersection of Hwy 11 and Rutherford Drive, in January. On Jan. 6 and 13, parents can register their children from 8 a.m. to noon and 4 to 8 p.m.; on Jan. 7, registrations will be accepted between 8 a.m. and noon.
Registrations can also be made directly to principal Chris Good at 403-348-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While Barrie Wilson will open for all kindergarten to Grade 5 aged students in the designated neighbourhoods, those students who are in Grade 4 this school year will have the option to stay at their existing school to close out their elementary careers. Buruma said the option is being given to allow those students — who will be moving on to middle schools in 2015 — to not have to change schools two years in a row.
But while those students have the option of spending next year in their old schools, if they do so the division will not provide transportation services for them. The division provides transportation to students who attend their designated school and reside more than 1.6 km from that school.
Two other moves will take place in conjunction with the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. The Spanish bilingual program, which has operated over the last two years at G.H. Dawe Elementary School, will move to Gateway Christian School in the Pines neighbourhood. The Christian schooling program will move to River Glen School in 2014.
The division’s intent is to continue to build the Spanish program, which this year is open to kindergarten and Grade 1 students. As the students currently enrolled age, the program will grow with them, with the plan to have Pines School operating solely as a Spanish bilingual school by 2017.
The Christian program currently operates at both the Pines and at the division’s Central Campus.