The Catholic School Division has seen a 128-student in increase in enrolment for the 2022-23 school year, resulting in some class numbers being high.
A new Grade 6 teacher was hired before summer as class numbers were over 30. All three Grade 1 classes in St. Patrick’s School have about 28 students and 1.5 full-time equivalent of learning assistant time has been allocated to address this situation.
Trustee David Leahy had concerns about the class numbers and allocating learning assistant time rather than hiring another teacher for the Grade 1 classes. Leahy talked to the board about what is needed to be successful – will the kids be better off in a created classroom, such as rearranging a dedicated computer lab, so class numbers are closer to 20 than 30?
Leahy put forward a motion to hire a new teacher immediately and it was passed unanimously. The learning assistants will remain in place until a new teacher comes on board.
Trustee Bernie Kinch said, “Standing up for kids is most important. Reducing class size and allowing more teacher time (for the kids) is an incredible move.”
At St. John Paul II there are a high number of students in a Grade 5/6 split class. This class has a full-time learning assistant and the board was more comfortable with this situation as the students are older.
Deputy superintendent Chuck Hellman reported to the board that 14 new teachers were at the new teacher orientation day on Aug. 24, and teacher numbers are up at almost all schools in the division.
SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News