Three Catchment Boundary Changes Approved

Posted On Wednesday June 16, 2021

The Board of Education has voted to reorganize the three catchment areas of Aberdeen Elementary/Pacific Way Elementary, Sa-Hali Secondary/South Kamloops Secondary, and Dallas Elementary/R.L. Clemitson Elementary for the 2022 school year.

In concluding the boundary catchment recommendations and discussions at the June 14 board meeting, Chair Rhonda Kershaw commented on the over 14,000 engagements with stakeholders in the public consultation process.

“The input was valuable in how thoroughly catchment changes were reviewed by staff and trustees,” she said.

“The results give us a clear understanding of what parents’ concerns are with regard to these catchment changes,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Sullivan, in presenting two additional recommendations. “Including disrupting students currently in grade 5 in their final year of elementary school before they move on to secondary.”

In addition to the catchment changes, two new recommendations were approved to ensure students now in grade 5 at Dallas Elementary and Pacific Way Elementary remain in their respective schools to complete their grade 7 year, and that the siblings of students in this grade cohort will be permitted to remain at their current schools.

The Board also heard concerns raised by some community members regarding the mental health and well-being of children resulting from these proposed changes in catchments, combined with the stress they may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Staff are mindful of these concerns,” said Sullivan. “It’s one of the reasons why the proposed changes are not being recommended to take effect until September of 2022. Staff, schools, and parents have 14 months to prepare children for these changes.”

The approved catchment boundary change for Aberdeen Elementary and Pacific Way Elementary will manage enrollment pressures in the southwest sector of the city, which is expected to experience the highest amount of growth in both the near and the long-term.

The change shifts the area encompassing Bentall, Talbot, Willowbrae, Raeburn, Galbraith and Telford from Pacific Way Elementary to the Aberdeen Elementary catchment area and will affect approximately 80 students.

“The District is adopting a strategy of reducing enrollment pressures by balancing enrollments with neighbouring schools,” Sullivan continued in his report.

“Our strategy also includes a desire to keep neighbourhoods and siblings together while not recreating, relocating or exacerbating the same problem for other schools in the system.”

While Trustee Kathleen Karpuk and Vice-Chair Meghan Wade concurred that the catchment change does not improve walkability for students at Pacific Way and Aberdeen, Wade noted the District is not in a position to prioritize walkability.

“We have not had additions made to these schools, or additional schools put into this district and we are put into a difficult position of having to rearrange the catchment area to manage enrollment pressures,” said Wade.

The second catchment change approved by the Board is for Sa-Hali Secondary /South Kamloops Secondary, and it will make Dufferin Elementary a feeder school for SKSS.

The Board also agreed to further reduce enrollment pressure by relocating the International Student Program and the Digital Arts and Technology Academy, which are district programs now at Sa-Hali Secondary, to other city secondary schools. District staff will consult with secondary school administration to determine the best location for these programs.

On the recommendation for the catchment change to reduce enrollment pressure at Dallas Elementary by shifting students from the Campbell Creek area, including future development, from the Dallas Elementary School catchment area to R.L. Clemitson Elementary School for the 2022 school year, the Board also unanimously agreed.

“Given that both Dallas Elementary and R.L. Clemitson Elementary are both feeder schools for Valleyview Secondary School, that too should assist students to adjust to these changes,” said Sullivan.

On a number of occasions during the consultations the need for additional childcare in Kamloops was raised. While childcare is not within its mandate, the school district is engaged with the Ministry of Children and Families and the Ministry of Education to explore the need for additional childcare spaces in Kamloops.

Sullivan assured the Board that these efforts will continue.

“This is not an easy process for anyone,” Kershaw said. “We have heard the concerns that were brought forward and staff will work to address them as they implement the changes.”




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