By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
If you thought the number of students in classes in the school district was too large, think again.
A report on class size averages for School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) found class sizes were well below the maximum limits for class size requirements, up to 10 fewer on average, in some cases.
The report, delivered to the board of education in late November, found that the geography of the district greatly influenced its lower class numbers.
“This is as a result of smaller, community-based schools that support smaller school populations,” noted SD8 superintendent of schools, Trish Smillie, in her report to the board on Nov. 23.
To ensure compliance with the School Act, every class size in the district is recorded by the school and the district each year, with the figures being sent to the Ministry of Education.
Despite the lower class size averages there are currently three classes that are over class size maximums, “which often occurs in band or health and physical education classes at secondary school to support the desired educational programming.”
Smillie said over-sized classes were approved with the consultation of the teacher at the secondary level “to support a diversity of programming in the school overall.” Two classes were at Creston Valley Secondary with the other at JV Humphries (Kaslo).
“When this class size maximums exceed the requirements, teachers are compensated according to a remedy formula,” said Smillie in her report.
By the numbers
In the kindergarten class category, the maximum student enrolment (by headcount) is set at 20 students with the SD8 class size average for 2021-22 coming in well below that at 18.5.
For the grades 1 to 3 as single grade classes the maximum enrolment was 22 with the SD8 class size average at 20.2.
For intermediate (grades 4 to 7) the maximum student enrolment was 30 but the actual class size average in SD8 was well below that figure at 23.1.
That average dropped significantly when it reached the grades of 8 to 12 where the actual class size average of 20.8 students per room in SD8 was nearly 10 students below the maximum student enrolment of 30.
It’s all an Act
According to the School Act, 76.1:
(2) A board must ensure that the size of any primary grades class in any school in its school district does not exceed
(a) for kindergarten, 22 students, and
(b) for grades 1 to 3, 24 students.
(2.1) Subject to subsection (2.4), a board must ensure that the class size of any class for any of grades 4 to 12 in any school in its school district does not exceed 30 students unless
(2.2) A board must provide additional compensation, as prescribed, to a teacher of a class that, under subsection (2.1) (a), exceeds 30 students.
(2.4) A board must ensure that the class size of a class in a prescribed category of classes does not exceed the prescribed number of students.
Source: provincial School Act
This item is reprinted with permission from The Nelson Daily, Kootenay Lake. British Columbia. See article HERE.
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