Spring Park's Home and School concerned over student population

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Spring Park's Home and School concerned over student population

Spring Park's Home and School concerned over student population

Parents are worried about the number of students in Charlottetown's Spring Park school, says the local home and school association.

"Parents are thinking with the rezoning, hopefully we would have seen a balancing of the numbers across the Charlottetown schools and that enrolment would have gone down a bit," said Leslie Cudmore, acting chair of the association.

"Unfortunately, we're seeing that the reverse trend is actually the case."

There are as many as 27 students in some classes, Cudmore said, and parents are worried that's too much for a single teacher to handle.

Growing number of EAL students

There's also a concern over the influx of EAL students at the school.

"Parents are concerned seeing that the numbers of EAL students are very high and just wanting to make sure that they have the supports that they need," she said.

Cudmore said too many students in the classroom could mean having to repurpose spaces in the school like resource rooms into additional classrooms.

"That takes away from some of those extra resource areas that were supposed to be a benefit of having a new school where we could design some of those resource areas," she said.

"We just want to make sure that the dialogue continues, and that the issue is raised that there still is a capacity problem at Spring Park School."

Public Schools Branch trying to meet demand

Parker Grimmer of the Public Schools Branch says the student population is currently under capacity but that enrolment is a little higher than anticipated following the school review.

"Where people move to and decide to reside, that's something we can't always be in control of, but we can certainly be in control of the supports for success we have for the schools they attend," he said.

The school has eight new English language teachers and 15 new staff in total, which Grimmer said should ease the strain on resources in previous years. 

More resources for EAL students

Grimmer said the Functional Language Program has been introduced to meet the demand of the growing number of EAL students in the area.

"We're always working to ensure that we have the supports for students," he said. 

"There are classroom composition challenges. It's not so much the numbers in these classrooms as it is the composition ... [Teachers] are trying to develop their lessons not only around the subject areas but also about whether there's comprehension of their messages."

Possibility for future rezoning

As for the student population, Grimmer said his department is in talks with staff administration at Spring Park Elementary about the effectiveness of rezoning.

"We need to assess and review whether we've been successful in that. It's possible that there will be another process down the road that will address any of these," he said.

"If we come out of this and say we didn't get where we needed to get to, these challenges were not addressed, I suppose that that's an approach that could be taken."

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