BONNYVILLE – The number of students in Northern Lights Public Schools (NLPS) greatly exceeds those taking advantage of online learning.
Associate superintendent Bill Driedger explained during his presentation on the division’s unofficial enrolment numbers to the board of trustees that 95 per cent of its pupils are learning inside of the facilities.
“Ninety-five per cent of our students are actually in our buildings, which means that five per cent of our students aren’t in our buildings,” he noted, adding that percentage is quite higher than other divisions in Alberta.
“Not that I have any official averages for you, but I’ve had conversations with folks across the province about what the percentage of their students in their buildings, and we’re certainly on the high end, which I think is good news for us because it tells us that our parents are choosing to send their students to our buildings.”
While this is the case, NLPS is still seeing a dip in the numbers of students enrolled at their schools. The Sept. 30 attendance count had NLPS sitting at 5,624 students in their schools, which are 277 below the division’s spring projection of 5,901.
Driedger noted one of the reasons that could be is because the numbers reflect the "bums in seats."
“In our PowerSchool, we might still have some students who haven’t registered anywhere else, yet aren’t registered in our schools,” he detailed. “We contacted Alberta Education this year because it’s a little bit of an unusual situation and we asked ‘what do we do with these because we have a great deal of concern for their education?’”
He added, “We do have students that we don’t know where they are. Their registrations haven’t been pulled, which means they aren’t registered through somewhere else, which means they would automatically get pulled out of our (systems). We’ve had conversations with Alberta Education about that and it’s a (significant) provincial issue. We’re not dropping those students out of our PowerSchool, we’re trying to keep them there so we can continue to follow up on them as we continue through the school year.”
Enrolment at the schools, as of Sept. 30, was sitting at 117 for Ardmore School, 290 for Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS), Duclos School has 349, Glendon School’s count came in at 196, H.E. Bourgoin School has 330, and Iron River School is at 65.
The division’s Cold Lake schools preliminary numbers are showing 415 at Cold Lake Elementary School, Cold Lame Middle School is at 300, Cold Lake High School has 639, Nelson Heights Middle School has 339, and North Star Elementary has 216.
The Lac La Biche facilities have Aurora Middle School 325, J.A. Williams High School sitting at 412, and 203 at Vera M. Welsh Elementary School.
The Outreach Schools combined total is 345.
Across the division, there are 264 students registered in NLPS’ Learn Together Anywhere (LTA) program.
Driedger noted ‘the numbers will still go up and down ever so slightly.’
“As we speak, our student records individuals are in contact with Alberta Education about priority conflicts, which is that our student is in somebody else’s (system). So there’s always a little back and forth in that regard, but these are fairly accurate numbers for our conversation today.”