Christopher Foulds – Kamloops This Week
There will no longer be a need for sleeping bags, heaters and snacks to last you through the night.
The Kamloops-Thompson school district is doing away with first-come-first-served lineups for schools of choice and replacing the registration process with random lottery draws.
The board of education was expected to adopt a motion at its Monday meeting in Barriere to ratify the change.
For the 2017-2018 school year, schools of choice registration for kindergarten and Grade 1 will take place before regular kindergarten registration.
Schools of choice in the Kamloops-Thompson school district include two for French immersion (Lloyd George and South Sa-Hali), Kamloops school of the arts, Bert Edwards school of science and technology, the Montessori program at Aberdeen elementary and several academies, including the hockey program at Valley secondary and numerous similar academies at Brock middle school.
“This is in response to the camping out,” school district Supt. Karl deBruijn said, referring to the practice of parents spending hours lined up outside French immersion schools the night before registration day. “This is a suggestion that came from some people.”
However, deBruijn added, the new method of registering will not solve the problem of the high demand for spaces in the city’s two French immersion elementary schools. Lloyd George, at Pine Street and Ninth Avenue in South Kamloops, and South Sa-Hali, on Summit Drive in Sahali, are the only schools of choice with waiting lists.
“The real solution is down the road,” he said, noting the district is looking at possibly re-opening Happyvale elementary in Brocklehurst to serve as a third French immersion elementary school. Happyvale is now home to the BIG Little Science Centre.
This year, 172 students at Lloyd George came from the North Shore.
DeBruijn said the district would also like to know why parents send their kids to French immersion schools and is planning on creating a survey.
“Is that because they want French for their children or because of another reason?” deBruijn asked, suggesting the decision to enrol in a school of choice could be based on location of the school as it relates to family activities and movement through the city.
Under the new registration procedures, parents can apply for their kindergarten-aged kids to attend the schools of choice, but if the number of applicants exceeds available spaces, random, supervised draws will take place.
Waitlists will be assembled based on the following priority order:
• Catchment area children with siblings already registered at the same school for the following year;
• Catchment area children;
• Transfer requests from non-catchment area children.
The catchment area for the Kamloops school of the arts and Bert Edwards school of science and technology is the entire Kamloops-Thompson school district. The two French immersion schools have their own catchment areas and parents must register according to the area in which they live.
More information on those catchment areas can be found online at sd73.bc.ca, though students from the east part of the city and north of the Highway 1 bypass attend Lloyd George, while South Sa-Hali generally takes kids from south of the bypass.