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Community Engagement Questions and Answers | High Schools

Questions and Answers | High Schools

About the Decision and the High School Engagement
Attending a CBE High School
Programs at CBE High Schools
​Transportation

About the Decision and the High School Engagement

Q. 1. Will complex learning students be affected by this engagement?
Programming for students with exceptional needs (GATE, coded students) is delivered in a variety of ways within a range of settings based on individual student needs. The first educational placement option considered for students with complex needs is within an inclusive setting in their designated school. A student’s designated school is based on their primary home address. With that in mind, individual students with complex needs may be impacted by the high school engagement if changes to the designation area of a high school are made. 

As indicated in the Fall 2019 presentation, out of scope factors such as budget, legislation, facility dependent courses and programs and exceptional needs programs are parts of the decision stakeholder input cannot influence. Classes that serve exceptional needs students are out of scope for the high school engagement. The locations of these classes are reviewed and determined annually by the CBE. 

Some classes (e.g., Deaf and Hard of Hearing) operate in modified classrooms.  The CBE’s current financial position means relocation is not a feasible option.

​Q. 2. What is the high school engagement about?
As part of the CBE’s commitment to continuous improvement and supporting student success, we need to balance enrolment among our high schools to provide all students with a variety of course options, extracurricular activities, athletics and arts opportunities.

Twenty high schools throughout Calgary will be part of this engagement. Within the next five years, the CBE will have ten high schools operating at more than 100 per cent of their capacity, while seven high schools will be operating between 50 and 85 per cent of their capacity. Only three high schools will be operating within the balanced range of 85-100 per cent.

Within the 10 year projected timeline, only five of 20 CBE high schools are within the balanced utilization range (85-100 per cent) that best supports student learning, and three of the schools are under-utilized between 50-85 per cent.  Furthermore, city-wide and uneven growth in high school aged populations projections over the next 10 years will increase pressures resulting in 12 schools in total operating at over capacity.  Four of those schools operating at over 140 per cent and eight operating between 100-140 per cent.

Q. 3. Why does student enrolment at a high school matter?
Student enrolment that is above or well below a school’s capacity (utilization rate) affects access, flexibility and choice for students.

The CBE aims to have a utilization rate between 85-100 per cent at each of our high schools, which gives students access to a wide range of option courses, increased flexibility in their timetable for required courses and provides greater opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. It also enables the school to make the most appropriate use of space and resources within their facility.

Another factor is that schools are funded based on student enrolment. Balancing enrolment in high schools across the CBE will help to even out funding and ensure all students have access to programs, services and supports.

Q​. 4. What is the timeline for the engagement?
Spring 2019 Online survey
Fall 2019 Feedback and input on in-scope factors
Spring 2020 Feedback and input on possible scenarios
Winter 2021 Feedback and input on proposed plans
Fall 2021 CBE will communicate decisions
Fall 2022 Implementation of changes
Q. 5. If schools are over capacity now shouldn’t the CBE do something sooner, 2022 is a long time away?
Changes we make at one high school will affect others. That is why our engagement process considers all of our high schools at the same time. This approach will allow us to make the most sustainable decisions for our system as a whole.

With 82 junior high/middle and high schools involved in this engagement, this is the largest community engagement initiative ever undertaken by the CBE. The number of participants, complexity of aspects to be considered and limited resources will require a more lengthy process than is typical.

We do recognize there are current pressures at some high schools that may require action or decision prior to October 2021. In Fall 2019, interim decisions were made to redesignate some communities from Joane Cardinal-Schubert and Ernest Manning high schools. These interim decisions will help alleviate current pressures while the high school engagement proceeds.

Q. 6. Who will be impacted by potential changes made to balance enrolment in high schools?
The longer timeline of the high school engagement makes it unique because the students who are currently in high school will not be impacted by the implementation of any changes. Students who are in Grade 7 in the 2019-20 school year will be entering Grade 10 in the year the proposed changes will be implemented.

Use the following chart to see when your child will be impacted by potential changes to CBE high schools, based on their current grade:

School Year

2018-19

Engagement launch

2019-20

In scope factors and possible scenarios

2020-21

Possible scenarios and proposed plans

2021-22

CBE will share decisions and plan for implementing changes

2022-23

Implement changes

Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9
Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10
Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11
Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 -
Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 - -

Q. 7. What schools are included in the high school engagement? What is the future utilization range (UR) at each school if changes are ​not made?

​High School
​​5-Year Utilization Range
​10-Year Utilization Range
Bowness
​50-85%
50-85%
Centennial
​100-120%
​100-140%
Central Memorial
​50-85%
​85-100%
Crescent Heights
​85-100%
​85-100%
Dr. E.P. Scarlett
​Over 120%
​Over 140%
Ernest Manning
​Over 120%​
Over 140%
Forest Lawn
​50-85%
100-140%
Henry Wise Wood
​50-85%
​85-100%
Jack James
​50-85%
50-85%
James Fowler
​50-85%​
100-140%
Joane Cardinal-Schubert
​Over 120%
Over 140%
John G. Diefenbaker
​100-120%
100-140%
Lester B. Pearson
​100-120%
100-140%
Lord Beaverbrook
​​50-85%
50-85%
Nelson Mandela
​Over 120%
Over 140%
Queen Elizabeth
​85-100%
​85-100%​
Robert Thirsk
​85-100%
​85-100%
Sir Winston Churchill
​100-120%
100-140%
Western Canada
​100-120%
100-140%
William Aberhart
100-120%​
10​0-140%

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Q. 8. What schools are NOT included in the engagement and why?
Some CBE high schools offer unique programming that supports student success and high school completion. These schools cannot accommodate other high school programming or students. They include:
Changes at these schools may need to be considered separate from this process and, if so, communities will be consulted as appropriate.

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Q. 9. Is Chinook Learning Services included in the engagement?
​Chinook Learning Services will continue to operate at Lord Beaverbrook High School and James Fowler High School. Both schools will be part of the engagement, so Chinook Learning Services’ staff, students and parents may want to participate in the engagement as decisions could impact them.
Q. 10. How could decisions potentially impact my child?
There are a few things we can do to balance enrolment and that are in-scope for this engagement. Potential changes mean some students may be designated to a school different from the currently designated high school. These changes could include:
  • Changing the communities that are currently designated to a specific school. Reviewing current boundaries and community designations.
  • Moving programs, which will redistribute students to schools that have available space
  • Adding an existing program to a school
  • Removing an existing program from a school
  • Changing the grades offered at an individual high school

CBE Planning Processes and Future High Schools​

​Q. 11. How does the CBE determine the communities that are designated to a specific school (attendance area) and why?
The designation of communities to schools for both regular and alternative programs is a balance between the space available and the number of students anticipated from a given community.

Decisions also take into account the CBE’s Planning Principles:

  • minimize disruptions for students
  • provide program continuity from kindergarten to Grade 12
  • keep cohort groups of students together
  • allow students to attend school as close to home as possible
  • provide long-term sustainability
  • use space and resources effectively
  • provide equitable access for all students to quality learning environments

These principles are not a checklist and they are not mutually exclusive. They are principles that are used to guide our work.

Q. 12. When will the new north high school be built?
On March 23, 2018, the CBE received funding from Alberta Education to design a new high school on a site located in the north Calgary community of Coventry Hills. Alberta Education announced construction funding for the north high school in November 2019. Anticipated opening is September 2024.

Q. 13. How does the CBE decide where and when to build a new school?
The CBE does not decide where and when to build schools. Each year we submit a Three-Year School Capital Plan to Alberta Education. This plan includes our requests for new school construction and modernizations. Alberta Education decides where and when schools are built throughout the province and provides funding for those projects.

Before the CBE can request a new high school in our Three-Year School Capital Plan, the residential developers for the community must prepare the site. High school sites require larger land parcels that will service multiple communities. These sites are identified during the regional context study phase when community developments are planned for a minimum of 50,000 to 60,000 residents.

Q. 14. How is school capacity calculated?​
School capacity is calculated using an Alberta Education formula that focuses on the “instructional” space of a school. Exempted space is deducted from the total capacity and includes:

  • areas leased to the public sector, non-profit groups, private schools, charter schools
  • decentralized administration space in schools

Exemptions are not granted for space leased to the private sector for non-private school use.

School Capacity Formula

Provincial capacity (school capacity) is determined by dividing the total instructional area by an area per student based on their grade configuration, plus Career and Technology Studies (CTS) spaces, gym and library spaces.

Provincial Net Capacity = Instructional Area + Rated Capacities
Area per student
Instructional Area = total area (m2) of all instructional space
Rated Capacities = CTS + Gyms + Physical Activity Room (PAR) + Libraries

Q. 15. How is school utilization calculated?
School utilization is based on a provincial formula that weights kindergarten students and students with severe complex learning needs. The graphic below illustrates how weighted enrolment is calculated based on Sept. 30 student enrolment each year:

Notes:

  • Kindergarten student enrolment is divided in half in schools that offer ½ day programs, so a school with a total of 80 kindergarten students will only have 40 of them in the building at one time.
  • Students with severe complex needs require more space and resources for their learning program to be delivered, so student enrolment is multiplied by three.

Once the weighted enrolment is determined, utilization is calculated by dividing a school’s weighted enrolment by the provincial capacity.

​Q. ​16 How does the CBE calculate enrolment projections? What data does the CBE use?
​Enrolment projections guide the CBE decision-making process with respect to transportation, student accommodation, facility maintenance and capital planning. A wide range of factors impact enrolment projections and these factors are constantly monitored to ensure our data is accurate, current and relevant. Determining trends and identifying areas of growth/decline ensures that we are well-equipped to serve the needs of our students, parents, and communities. Enrolment projections not only demonstrate how we use our current schools, but it helps us determine the need for a new school facility or the need for a school or program closure.

The CBE has a strong understanding of Calgary’s population and the ways in which this data impacts our school communities. Our accommodation planners examine current trends of growth and attrition, and evaluate the composition of new and established communities on a yearly basis – who lives where; how many residents support public education; how quickly the community is growing/declining; and numerous other variables. We use a geographical information system to “geo-code” our students every year. This allows us to analyze the educational choices our students make in relation to where they are living both in the current school year as well as in the past.

To project future kindergarten and Grade 1 classes, accurate birth data is necessary. Census data is collected in April of each year and updated on an annual basis. This data is collected for each community and each elementary school attendance area allowing us to know how many students we can expect over the next five years. Birth data, from the 2019 Civic Census, is currently available for children born between 2014 and 2019 who will be eligible to begin starting kindergarten and attending school from September 2020 to September 2024. For communities that are growing quickly, birth data is analyzed and can be adjusted to reflect current growth trends as needed.

There are numerous enrolment projection methods, for example, cohort survival ratio, modified regression technique, dwelling unit multiplier technique and population ratio technique. The CBE uses the Cohort-Survival methodology in preparing enrolment projections. This methodology uses historic birth data and historic student enrolment data to “age” a known population (cohort) through their school grades. The cohort survival ratio is calculated to see how a group of potential students first enter the system at kindergarten and Grade 1 (market share) and how this group of students grows or shrinks over time (retention rates). Enrolment patterns emerge that are used for projections.

There is also other City of Calgary information and census data about the city as a whole and individual communities which does not directly influence the projection model used by the CBE but is monitored by our planners and provides context for our work:
  • annual changes in population by community
  • population comparisons
  • type of housing by community
  • inventory of the residential land supply by sector in the suburban areas of Calgary
  • current development activity around the city, sector and community
  • forecast of housing and residential land supply
  • age of a community and community lifecycle
Enrolment projections for our system are key to making sound economic decisions both now and as we plan for the future. Stewarding our resources in a respectful and responsible manner is a critical component in our work.
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​Q. ​17 Can the CBE add portables or build onto existing high schools to increase capacity?​
Modular classrooms are intended as a short term solution for accommodation challenges. The high school engagement process seeks to balance enrolment among existing high schools in the longer term.
 
Building an addition to an existing school would fall under modernization of schools. 
 
The criteria for modular classrooms, modernizations and new schools can be found on our Building and Modernizing Schools webpage.

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​Q. ​18 Will redrawn boundaries be firm or option boundaries?

The CBE is moving to eliminate option boundaries and create firm designated attendance areas for all schools. New boundaries will be the confirmed attendance for any given school.

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Attending a CBE High School

Q. 19. How many students from other school districts (CCSD, private, charter) come to CBE high schools? Can CBE refuse to take those students?​
The CBE does not track how many students come to our school system from other districts at the high school level. 

Q. 20. Can the CBE prioritize existing CBE students over students coming from other school districts?
Delineating between existing resident CBE students and new resident CBE students is not contemplated in the Education Act and would open up the CBE to claims we are denying students their right to access education. All students are deemed “resident” to a public board when they live within the boundaries of the school division. This legislative definition of resident student includes students who have attended other boards or school authorities. With respect to students who were “resident” to the separate board in prior years, provided one parent is non-Catholic, a student can access education at a public school board.

Q. 21. How can I find my child’s designated high school?
Visit the CBE website - www.cbe.ab.ca/findaschool - to find your child’s current designated high school based on their primary home address and program choice. School designation is based on a student’s home address, not on the junior high or middle school they attend.

Step-by-step process

  • Search by Address – enter the primary address where your child lives
  • Using the View Program Options drop down menu, select the program your child plans to attend in high school (Regular, French Immersion, Spanish Bilingual, Arts-Centred Learning, International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement)
  • Filter by Grade Level – check Grade 10, 11 and 12

Q. 22. How can I find out more about CBE high school programs, course options and activities?
There are many choices in high school and no one path suits everyone. High school has programs and pathways that lead to university entrance, college, technical schools, or directly to work. Planning is about finding the routes that support each student’s learning, goals, and interests.

Please visit the CBE high school webpage for more information and to see our high school information guides.


Q. 23. Can my child attend a high school other than their designated school?

Students can submit a Transfer Request form if they would like to attend a high school that is not their designated high school.

Transfer requests will be approved only if access to an academic program* that is not offered at the designated school (including space and resources) is available in the requested school/grade.

Transfer requests will not be granted on athletic programs.

The following requests will be considered in exceptional circumstances and only if space and resources at the requested school are available:

  • Peer group support
  • Transportation
  • Siblings who wish to remain together

*Academic program: a series of courses, which culminate in credit or credentialing at the 30 level.

As part of the high school engagement process, the CBE is currently reviewing the out-of-boundary transfer process. If changes are recommended as a result of the review, they will be shared by November 2020 and implemented for the 2021-22 school year.


Q.​ 24 If a student transfers to a high school other than their designated school for a particular program but doesn't continue with the program, do they go back to their designated school?

Students transferring for the purpose of studying an academic course sequence or program are expected to continue with the courses/program. 

Expectations for continuing with the courses/programs will be addressed in more detail during the review of the transfer process which is currently underway.


Q. 25 What is the CBE's process for accepting and placing international students?

CBE's Global Learning receives the applications from students outside of Canada wishing to study in our school system. Global Learning evaluates each application based on prior learning, references, student goals and assurances that arrangements have been made for the personal care and safety of the student. The application process/timeline frequently means discussions for student acceptance and placement can take place up to 18 months in advance of a student's arrival. Global Learning works closely with our planning department to determine the availability of space and resources in each of our high schools. New international students will not be placed in schools that are determined to be at capacity.


Q. 26 What is the CBE's high school athletic recruitment policy?

As per the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association - Policy 5:  Undue Influence, inducement and/or the recruitment of student-athletes is considered a violation of the Constitution.  To maintain the proper relationship between the academic purposes of schools and their athletic activities, all member schools of the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association (CSHSAA) and anyone directly connected to the school (including parents, alumni associations, booster clubs, guest/volunteer coaches, other parent groups) must refrain from recruitment by means of influence or inducement that could or do encourage a student to enroll in, or transfer to, a school primarily for athletic purposes.  For complete information visit the CSHAA website and view Policy 5


Q.​ 27 Can the CBE make their address verification process more stringent?

Currently principals may ask for one of the following documents as proof of address: driver's licence, municipal/federal correspondence, financial/residential documents or a utility bill. The process is in place to remove driver's licence as a document for parents or guardians. Independent students will continue to provide driver's licences as proof of residency.

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Programs at CBE High Schools

Q.​ 28. What is Advanced Placement?
The College Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a collaborative community of teachers and students, districts, schools, colleges, and universities committed to developing college-level knowledge and skills. 

​Benefits of AP
  • Students experience college/university-level courses while enrolled in high school.
  • Rigorous and challenging academic courses.
  • Prepares students for the transition to college or university.
  • Improves students’ study skills .

Student Eligibility
  • All students in Grades 10-12.
  • Desire to be challenged academically in a particular subject.

Learn more about Advanced Placement​.

Q.​ 29. What is the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB)?
The International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) provides a comprehensive, balanced and challenging curriculum with a strong emphasis on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizenship.  

Benefits of IB
  • Prepares students for university or college. 
  • Academic rigor and challenging work.
  • Students earn a year’s worth of academic credit upon entry to the University of Calgary (for IB Diploma students).
  • Enhances students’ personal and interpersonal development.
  • Provides opportunities for independent and in-depth research and study of a subject.
  • Students learn an additional language.
  • Students learn about global perspectives and responsibility.

Eligibility of Students
  • Students apply in Grade 9 to their designated IB school. Program courses begin in Grade 11.
  • Prepares students for university or college. 


Q.​ 30 What is the difference between AP and IB? They seem similar.
Advanced Placement (AP) is course-based whereas the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP) are program-based. In AP, students choose course(s) in specific areas in which they have a passion and wish to study in more depth, e.g., Math - Calculus.

IB is a program in which students are required to carry a full IB program of courses; they complete an Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge course, and the CAS component (Creativity, Activity, Service) as well as the regular Alberta Education program of studies.

IBCP requires students to take two or more IB courses and Career related courses, complete a Language Development Portfolio, a Service Learning Portfolio, a Reflective Project and Professional and Personal Skills (PPS)

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Q.​ 31. What programs/courses are available in each high school?
You can find the programs that are offered at each high school on its ‘Overview Sheet’ on the High School Engagement webpage​.

  • All high schools follow the Alberta Programs of Study (curriculum).
  • All high schools offer a full range of core courses that students must take to earn their high school diploma. 
  • All high schools offer complementary (option) courses that students can take based on interests, talents and future plans. These courses vary from school to school based on appropriate facility space, staff expertise, experience and interest; and student interest. There must be enough students interested in a course for it to be offered. Each course must also have a provincially approved curriculum. ​

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Q. 32. Can the CBE offer existing alternative programs that currently end in Grade 9, such as Mandarin Bilingual or Science, at the high school level ?
Expanding the grades offered for alternative programs that are not currently offered at the high school level (e.g., TLC, Mandarin, Science, etc.) is out of scope for the high school engagement. There are no specific curriculum in place for these programs at that level. In addition, the CBE does not have the teachers to support expanding these programs to higher grades.​

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Q. 33 Will the regular program be offered at all CBE high schools involved in this engagement?
Yes. Analysis of the feedback provided through both the Fall 2019 in-person sessions and online engagement opportunities indicates it is important to our stakeholders that the regular program continue to be offered at all CBE high schools involved in this engagement process.

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Q. 34 Will the CBE consider a language-only high school?
No, all 20 high schools involved in this engagement process will continue to offer the regular program. High school diploma requirements, as mandated by Alberta Education, require students to take a significant number of courses that are not part of the immersion/bilingual programs (e.g., Fine Arts, CTS, Phys. Ed., academic courses). Any decisions the CBE considers must ensure that the expertise and financial sustainability are available to ensure access, flexibility and choice in programming to all students.

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Q. 35 Will the CBE consider making all high schools multi-track?
It is not possible to have all high schools multi-track. There isn't sufficient student demand and the CBE does not have the staffing or financial resources to sustain 20 multi-track high schools.

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Q​. 36 Can an under-utilized school offer a partial program (e.g., some French or Spanish classes or partial IB) to increase enrolment?
Because French Immersion and Spanish Bilingual are alternative programs with several course requirements, offering 'some' courses would not meet the requirements of each program. However, all high schools, with the exception of Jack James, offer courses in second languages. The specific languages offered may vary from high school to high school – dependent on student demand and staff expertise.

The International Baccalaureate Organization which governs the International Baccalaureate Diploma and Career Programmes requires​ schools authorized to teach IB courses to offer the complete IB Diploma Programme.

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Q.​ 37 If CBE were considering moving an alternative program, what are the staff and resource considerations that need to be managed? What are the budget and scheduling implications of a program move?
The CBE is not currently contemplating the expansion of any new programs. Program moves are supported financially through a system allocation when required, which is limited to our current fiscal realities. Should programs at the high school level be relocated as part of the high school engagement, consideration would need to be given to the phase out and transition of the students in that program.

When programs are moved from one school location to another, it is typical for a number of staff members to move with students. If a teacher is not required as a specific program requirement, then these teachers would be part of the CBE's staffing process and placed in another school accordingly.

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Transportation

Q. 38. Who gets a transit pass rebate in high school?
Calgary Transit Rebate is no longer available for families for the 2019-20 school year and beyond.

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Q. 39. Is transportation available for high school students?
Most CBE high school students take Calgary Transit to get to school if it is not within walking distance. Please visit our Calgary Transit webpage for more information.

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Q.​ 40 Is there a maximum commute distance or time to a student's designated regular program school?
High school students are responsible for their own transportation to and from school. When designating students to high schools, every effort is made to keep ride times to within one hour each way however this is not always possible due to locations of programs of choice and Calgary Transit service levels.

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Implementation

Q. 41. If an alternative program is moved or some alternative program students are redesignated, do existing students have to move or will there be grandfathering?
Whenever possible, we will implement changes in a way that enables students to complete high school at the same school where they started. This means that, if an alternative program were to be moved, the move would be phased out over time to enable students currently at the school to finish there.

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Q. 42. If boundaries change would students in Grades 11 and 12 also move
Whenever possible, we will implement changes in a way that enables students to complete high school at the same school where they started.

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Q.​ 43. If boundaries change, would students with siblings in the current school be grandfathered?
There are different ways CBE has addressed the transition period when designation changes have occurred in the past. One is to allow a sibling to attend the current school if the older sibling and the younger sibling were attending at the same time (concurrently). This is only possible if there is space and resources at the time of transition.

Alternatively, if families wish to keep students together, then the older sibling could move from the current school to the newly designated school of the younger sibling.

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Out of Scope

Q. 44. Why is online learning out of scope? What about virtual classrooms?
Online learning is offered through CBe-learn. Expanding offerings at CBe-learn would require significant expenditure on technical and human resources. At this time, the CBE does not have the budget to invest in such an expansion.

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Q.45. Will the CBE consider split shifts or multiple shifts at high schools?
To date CBE has not investigated multiple-shift schooling designs and operations. In order to establish successful models for multiple-shift schooling, multiple factors would need to be considered in establishing a framework for analysis, determining economic, educational and social factors and action plans regarding school organization, timetabling staffing and management.

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Q.​ 46 Can the CBE cooperate with other boards to help address the issues?
The CBE has explicit policies and procedures outlining internal processes in support of projected resources and facilities needed as ​​forecasted with student enrolment.  Funding provided by the provincial government to the CBE is specifically allocated in support of student enrolment and space.

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