Catchment and Capacity (plus the Duchess Park issue)

As many people know, Duchess Park is facing capacity issues, and some solutions have been proposed. There needs to be more work before a real solution is found, and as a trustee, I would want to make sure that any decisions reached are solutions that work for the district as a whole, use supportable data, allow people have informed opinions during consultation, ensure that any decisions are educationally sound, have the least possible disruption to our children, ideally keep families together, and ensure that the entire process is a respectful one – where people can see and trust the decision-making process.

Back in June 2018, I made this presentation to Duchess Park parents, to provide people with background around the capacity issues at Duchess Park:

2018 June 11 Information Session – Duchess Park PAC

There’s two slides in particular I think are helpful for looking at capacity issues in the school district as a whole:

What we have there are years of declining enrollments, followed by an upswing in elementary school enrollments – and finally, we’re also seeing an increase in secondary school enrollments.

I also made a presentation to the board in June, updating some of the projection numbers with a revised methodology:

Capacity is something that has long been an intrest of mine – for example, you can see some analysis here, using data from 2015-16:!/vizhome/SD57-EnrolmentComparisons/EnrolmentComparisons

I think one of the earliest documents was this one, from January 2012:



  1. You should be aware that families are struggling everyday to go thier kids to school. I live in the Heritage catchment. Actually to be more exact in the Highglen area. When we moved here, our daughter was turn away from 3 schools in this area. I kept getting told “sorry we are full.” My daughter spent 20 days at home with no school to attend. I called the school district, that was useless. With no solution to the issue! We where forced to put them in private school at the tune, of $600-990 a month. I’ve been asking parents in my area and they too have to drive thier kids across town. My family struggles to pay bills, in order to pay tuition. We will make sure our kids get an education, but what about the families with low income? I have sent emails to the school district with no reply. School district 57 needs a change, I’ll be voting for change. One last comment. The school district wants to rezone the old Highglen school to residential. — where will the kids go to school? The crime rate has increased in our area already, becoming a less desirable place to live.

    1. Loreilei, I agree! I’m concerned that the district is not tracking this. I’ve advocated for years to have transportation supplied for students who can’t attend their catchment school. What policy 5119 says is that: “If space is not available for student wishing to attend the regular program at the school serving the catchment area in which he or she lives, the principal will find a space for the student in a neighbouring school. Transportation support may be provided, if required, in accordance with Policy 3541 (Student Transportation – Home and School).” People then say that oh, transportation support is provided! But when you look at policy 3541, it says “Courtesy riders will be accommodated as determined by the Transportation Administrator if there is space available; done at no additional cost; no scheduling or routing adjustments have to be made.” and then also “Unique Situations – Notwithstanding the above there may be a need to consider unique situations, e.g. student injury, discipline transfers, custody issues or students who are unable to attend their catchment school because the school is full and must attend another school while they are on the wait list. The Transportation Administrator will determine the method to address these needs and may require minor route extensions or the use of custom buses if there is space and time.”

      I would like for it to be in policy that the district will definitely supply transportation if the catchment school is too full, because that will be an incentive to the district to better manage catchments (and also track that information).

  2. We also live in Heritage. For the past 4 years we have seen huge enrollment in the kindergarten classes. This year there are 45 kindergartners! The school built for less than 200 runs at close to 400. While we have a school building 2 blocks from us which us being used by 10 men and a couple of army trucks! Every house on our street that sells does so within a month and it is retirees moving out and families moving in. We need to look at having our neighborhood school reopened.
    Parking at our school is a nightmare. I personally find that it is such an issue that It causes me anxiety whenever i must go to the school. So I avoid it. Also missing out on the community of parents meeting.
    Also, because there is no school. There is no playground. Our neighborhood was built without a park because there was one at the school. It is now gone so our children and families don’t have this important social meeting place and play area. Many children on our street are never seen playing outside. We miss out on community.
    I would like to see a firm plan in place to reopen meadows school. Even if it takes a survey to find out exactly where kids live. The numbers are there to support it.

    1. The district has access to data showing where children live – I’d love to see the statistics for that area. 45 kindergartners at Heritage! And Heritage Elementary is closed to catchment only students, too.

      When you look at schools that have closed catchments, it’s a lot:
      Malaspina Elementary
      Southridge Elementary
      College Heights Secondary
      Heritage Elementary
      Glenview Elementary
      Hart Highlands Elementary
      Springwood Elementary
      Edgewood Elementary
      Duchess Park Secondary (regular program)

      And then these schools are capped:
      College Heights Elementary (French immersion, 40 students)
      Spruceland Traditional (40 students)
      Polaris Montessori (40 students)
      Ecole Lac de Bois (60 students)

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