CBE launches high school engagement, scenarios include ending some Spanish, French and Arts programs

The Calgary Board of Education is considering cutting some programs of choice and consolidating programs as it looks to balance student populations in public high schools across the city. 

“Right now, as some of you are aware, some of our schools are overflowing while others are under capacity,” said acting superintendent of school improvement, Darlene Unruh.

On Monday, the CBE unveiled two scenarios that are designed to fix that problem. In Scenario A, programs would be consolidated to fewer high schools, and arts-centred learning would be discontinued. 

In Scenario B, there would be a further reduction in the number of program locations, and arts-centred learning, Spanish bilingual and French international baccalaureate would be discontinued at the high school level.

Unruh says both scenarios would balance enrolment at most high schools, and in Scenario B, even more students in the regular program would be able to attend school closer to home.

“In both scenarios, four of five regular program students will attend the same school as currently designated, and 74 per cent of our communities will continue to attend the same school as they do now,” she said.

Unruh said the two scenarios were developed through 2019 consultations with students, staff, parents and the community, and recognize the board’s limited space and resources and attempt to have the best impact for students. 

“Both scenarios provide quality learning opportunities that allow students to complete their high school requirements,” she said.

“They do this in three key ways. Firstly, they provide a more equitable learning experience for all high school students. Secondly, they maintain a regular program at every high school, and thirdly, they allow for alternative programs and academic enrichment when possible.” 

The board is now launching the next phase of its high school scenarios engagement process — which initially began in May 2019 and has faced many delays — in hopes of picking a scenario, or gathering enough feedback from families to create a third, hybrid scenario.

Feedback will be gathered through online surveys and virtual meetings.

A decision will be announced in the fall of 2021 and will be put into action for the 2022-23 school year. 

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