The enrolment numbers are up for many of the Estevan area schools in the South East Cornerstone Public School Division.
Director of education Lynn Little released the figures in an interview with the Mercury on Monday morning. As of Sept. 8, the Estevan Comprehensive School led the way for Estevan schools with 729 students.
Spruce Ridge School was the largest elementary school in the city with 406 students. Pleasantdale School had 199 students, Westview School was at 184 and Hillcrest School had 133.
Little pointed out that Hillcrest had 20 more students than they had on Sept. 30 of last year, and the school’s projected enrolment was 118 students. The division hasn’t determined why the enrolment was higher.
“I’m not sure if families moved in. We haven’t done the research on it,” said Little.
As for rural schools, Midale Central School had 162 students, Macoun was at 55, Bienfait Weldon School had 139 students and Lampman had 197 students.
Lampman School and Westview School were the only schools that were a little lower than expected, while Macoun was exactly what they expected.
As for the division, Little said the numbers are down from their projections, but up from where they were on Sept. 30 of last year. There were 8,261 students registered on Sept. 30, 2017, and to 8,224 on June 30 of this year.
Projected enrolment was at 8,366 students, and as of Sept. 8, Cornerstone’s schools stood at 8,311, but that number will fluctuate on a daily basis as students are entered and withdrawn from the database.
The final enrolment numbers won’t be tabulated until Sept. 30.
There are a couple of administrative changes this year. Macoun School has a new principal in Rena Gillingham. She replaces Annmarie Rosner, who has shifted over to be the principal at Lampman School, replacing the retired Lisa Smith.
Brittany Wild is the new vice-principal in Midale.
At the division level, senior administration remains the same, but at the consultant level, there has been some change in the south area, which includes Estevan.
Melanie Young will be working with families and children ages five and under in her new role as the early learning and care consultant. Lisa Fraser is the elementary curriculum consultant position and Curtis Bourassa is in the instruction technology consultant role.
In terms of programming, a new major resource in Grade 1 and 2 classrooms throughout the division is the use of jump math. It was piloted the last two years, and Cornerstone’s data indicated the children in those classrooms showed gains in math.
“It’s a scaffolded program, which means that each skill builds on the last skill, and is very sequential, and … there is a review portion that takes children back over a cyclical process,” said Little.
Several new processes to support student and staff mental health are also being implemented. All teachers in kindergarten to Grade 8 are taking online modules for teen mental health.
“It’s a seven-module, or eight to 10-hour course, which provides a foundation on mental health literacy, including effective strategies for teachers to use in their classrooms and in their own personal situations,” said Little.
All teachers from Grade 9 to 12 will be taking a course on bringing mental health into the schools to support teen mental health and understanding of mental health in the classroom.
The Mind Up curriculum will be implemented in kindergarten to Grade 8.
“The 15 lessons within it use the latest information about the brain to dramatically improve behaviour and learning for all students,” said Little.
The division has also partnered with the Learning Partnership for a program called Welcome to Kindergarten, in which children and their families are invited to the school the year before starting kindergarten. They will receive a bag of resources, and support and suggestions for working with their children to help prepare for coming to school.
“We’re really looking forward to having the children and their families in our buildings a couple of times over the course of the year,” said Little.
Thirty schools will be participating in a pilot for Peer 2 literacy, which is for students in Grades 6 and up who need help with literacy skills.
Little noted the school division’s staff, students, board members and teachers are excited to be back in school, she said, and they’re looking forward to the year ahead.
“Many of us find back to school time the most exciting time of the year,” said Little.