Coming off a year of slow steady growth in enrolment during the 2022/23 school year, the superintendent of the Garden Valley School Division (GVSD) is anticipating a lot of similarities in the new school year approaching.
Superintendent Dan Ward says, this time of year, it's always difficult to say what enrolment might land on.
Currently, GVSD has close to 4,200 students in its student information system, in terms of being registered. However, Ward says there are always unknown factors to consider.

That may include students who don't return and decide to move on to something else. 

"Let's say they register for some additional high school courses, but then they change their mind. So those numbers are always in flux, but based on what we have now within our registration system, you know we anticipate numbers that are relatively close to the numbers we had at the end of June,"

GVSD's enrolment at the end of June was 4,180 students.

Glancing a bit further down the road, with the anticipation of more additional jobs created in the area. potentially bringing in an influx of students, Ward was asked whether the board has considered that scenario.

"We've been discussing that and having some conversations with some of our community stakeholders, and you know we do anticipate that growth will continue. We still do have some families that are returning from homeschooling and of course, our community continues to grow, and we have more school-aged children that are coming into Garden Valley School Division schools."

Ward says they do have a number of positions in reserve if they do have some unanticipated growth.

Of the roughly 4,200 students anticipated to start school at the start of September, around 274 are registered for kindergarten.

"It's a little bit lower than some recent years in terms of kindergarten registration," Ward said. "But again, that's always a difficult number at this time of year because invariably there'll be families that will show up the first day of school and register their children the first week of school, which is great, but sometimes it, means that the number mid-September is not the same as it is now. Typically, in recent years, we've had about 300 students in kindergarten."

Ward explained they're also getting support in place as the student population within GVSD is becoming more diverse with its learning needs.
"We did receive another Intensive Newcomer Support grant back in the late spring, and we've allocated those funds to hire additional staff, primarily in the area of English as an Additional Language (EAL) support." 

Ward says the funds have been targeted towards their schools receiving more newcomers. He adds the most important part of that plan is constant conversations and communications with their schools in terms of what their emerging needs are.

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