New West K-12 enrolment increases 2.4%

Total enrolment in the New Westminster school district has dropped by more than 200 students, which has largely come from the district dropping its satellite program on Bowen Island.

The district’s K-12 enrolment, on the other hand, went up by nearly 150 students, from 6,106.9 full-time equivalent students in 2018/19 to 6,254.8 FTEs in 2019/20 as of Sept. 30. That’s an increase of about 2.4 per cent year over year.

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Enrolment dropped in every other category, however, including alternate enrolment (from 121.5 FTEs to 87), continuing education (from 269.6 FTEs to 154.7) and home learners (from 123 students to 116).

More than two-thirds of the K-12 enrolment were in elementary and middle schools, with an increase of 104 students, while New West Secondary School saw an increase of around 43 full-time equivalents.

The largest increase among elementary and middle schools is at Lord Kelvin Elementary, with an increase of 41 students to 496. Just two schools saw decreases – F.W. Howay Elementary by 16 students to a total of 104 and Queen Elizabeth Elementary by eight students for a total of 435.

Enrolment in Aboriginal education dropped by around 10 per cent to 270 this year from 311 in 2018/19. Special education enrolment, meanwhile, increased slightly from 562 students in 2018/19 to 597 this year. English language learners dropped from 286 to 258 students.

The largest loss, overall, was in the Island Discovery program, a satellite continuing education program on Bowen Island. That program had 215 students in 2018/19, but the school district “was not able to sustain” the program, according to district spokesperson Holly Nathan.

International enrolment dropped from 285 students in 2018/19 to 258 this year.

As of July 1, the program has been with the Powell River school district, which Nathan said is still a work in progress – the program’s website still cites the New West school district.

In all, teaching staff under the New Westminster Teachers’ Union is expected to increase slightly, from 430 in 2018/19 to 436 this year. Teacher-librarians are expected to increase from 10.1 FTEs to 9.4, while counsellors increase to 14.9 from 12.4.

Learning support teachers, meanwhile, are expected to drop to 50.3 FTEs from 57.5.

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© New West Record
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