The three school boards received their official enrolment numbers from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) recently and the numbers by and large are up.
According to the department’s verification forms released this month, the public and francophone boards saw slight increases while the Catholic board saw a decrease from the 2017/18 school year.
Boards were to submit their raw number counts for the coming year to the department on Sept. 30 and after a period of verifying counts of students, the department either revises or confirms the numbers for public knowledge.
For Yk 1, the school board reported 2,102.25 students, which is up from last year’s figure of 2,043. Much of the increase is due to more students added to the junior kindergarten program, which is now in its second year, according to school officials. There were close to 170 students in JK this year compared to 129 in its inaugural year last year, said Metro Huculak, superintendent of Yk1.
He said he thinks the numbers reflect positively on the community with new and young families in Yellowknife and provides a positive image of the public school board.
“It is nice to see that there are new families in town because it is good for the territory,” he said.
Sir John Franklin School saw a drop of about two students as there are 636.75 students this year from 638 last year.
Huculak said the new district population count puts the board in and around 85 per cent capacity, as the maximum number that the board can admit is 2,400 students. Next year, he expects there to be a further increase to 2,150 students.
The public school board also added 4.5 full time teachers to meet demand from the increase, Huculak said.
At the Yellowknife Catholic School Board meeting Wednesday night, superintendent Claudia Parker reported enrolment was “down significantly” with a drop of 26 students overall. In the 2018/19, there are a total of 1,392.50 students in the board. This compares to last school year when there were 1,418.50.
Two of the three schools saw a decline. At St. Joseph High School, three are 560.5 students compared to 2017/18 when there were 562. At Weledeh, there are 351.5 students compared to last year when there were 378.5.
St. Patrick High School saw an increase of students to 480.5 this year from 478 last year.
Parker said that most of the reduction in numbers was due to the lower enrolment of junior kindergarten students coming into the system this year.
Ecole Allain St-Cyr of the Commission Scolaire Francophone du Nord-Ouest reported a jump of 10 students from last year with 130 students for the 2018/19 school year. There were 120 students in the school in 2017/18. Comparatively, in Hay River, at Ecole Boreale, there were 80 students in 2017/18 and 93 in 2018/19 – a jump of 13. The total district population is about 223.
Much of the growth, similar to Yk1 is due to new entries in junior kindergarten, said Yvonne Careen, the district superintendent. There are 11 junior kindergarten students at Ecole Allain St-Cyr and 12 at Ecole Boreale this year.
“I would say there are new families in both situations but that we were able to retain some students after Grade 8 at Ecole Allailn St-Cyr partly due to the construction (of the school extension) that took place,” Careen said. “At Boreale, we have a whole whack of young, new families that are having more children.”
Media requests to the education department for final figures for all remaining schools, including for Kaw Tay Whee School of the Dettah District Education Authority and K’alemi Dene School of the Ndilo District Education Authority, were not answered by press time.