New Blackfalds High School presents an opportunity for review and public input
Wolf Creek Public Schools’ (WCPS) Board of Trustees wants to hear from stakeholders around Blackfalds and Lacombe, as a review of Attendance Boundaries and Grade Configurations in both communities gets underway.
The Alberta Government announced plans for the new 950 capacity high school for WCPS in Blackfalds in March 2020, with the school slated to be completed in September 2024. The opening of a new high school in Blackfalds will have an impact on enrolment at Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS), as currently, high school students from Blackfalds and Clive attend high school at LCHS. This change has spurred the opportunity for the review, which has to balance any potential changes in attendance boundaries with the impact that can have on enrolment and school capacities, as well as areas such as busing.
Public input will be sought online from Feb. 1 to 15. In advance of the online survey, the public can view additional details and background information at: https://letsconnect.wolfcreek.ab.ca/blackfalds-lacombe-grade-configuration-and-boundary-review
Links will also be available at www.wolfcreek.ab.ca and on school websites.
“A new high school is a rare opportunity for any community,” said Tim De Ruyck, WCPS Superintendent. “School enrolment ebbs and flows. When adding a new school to a community, there is always an impact on neighbouring communities. As such, enrolment impacts on the other schools must also be considered when conducting a review. The goal is to be forward thinking to develop a preferred option that addresses both short and long term impacts.”
The review began in the Fall of 2021 with the formation and initial meeting of an Advisory Committee. The committee is diverse and includes Wolf Creek parents, school and division administrators, trustees and staff as well as municipal officials. The committee, with Deb Schlag and Carol Bruineman consultants retained by the Board for the review, examined how to reach broader stakeholders, as well as examine what success for this engagement will look like. What emerged were Guiding Principles for the review that promises that boundary and grade configuration decisions made by the Board will be informed by the voice of parents, students, staff, and the community; ensure enrolments are sustainable in both communities; provide access to transportation while minimizing ride times and consider operational costs that support a quality education.
This initial public engagement on the Blackfalds and Lacombe Attendance Boundary and Grade Configuration Review will be held online, seeking input from all stakeholders, students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians, community members and future Wolf Creek Public School families. The engagement will examine what stakeholders like about the current attendance boundaries and what are the challenges about the current attendance boundaries. Similarly, feedback will be asked regarding the current grade configurations and any additional information or ideas. Grade configuration is more simply defined as what grades are offered in each school.
The review also presents the opportunity for those residing in the Clive Attendance Boundary to weigh in. They will be able to provide feedback, in the event of new attendance boundaries for Blackfalds and Lacombe, whether Clive Attendance Boundary residents nearer to Blackfalds would prefer the option to attend grades 10-12 in Blackfalds at the new Blackfalds high school, or continue to attend grades 10-12 in Lacombe at LCHS.
The feedback will be used by the Advisory Committee, the consultant team and Division Administration to help inform Attendance Boundary and Grade Configuration options for further public feedback. Options will be in development from February to the end of April 2022. Public feedback on options will be sought in May 2022.
From the very beginning of this process to the end there will be a lot of opportunity for community input, because it is really this Board’s desire to ensure we are listening to everyone in our communities,” said Luci Henry, WCPS Board Chair.