CBE Shares High School Engagement Scenarios

Feb. 22, 2021

For immediate release

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CALGARY – The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) is moving into the next phase of high school engagement to help balance enrolment in high schools. Two potential scenarios have been developed, guided by feedback gathered in fall 2019 and the CBE values and planning principles. 

Parents, students, staff and members of the public are invited to review the detailed scenarios prior to sharing their feedback during virtual sessions, and through online idea boards and surveys.

“We believe these scenarios are the best way to balance enrolment while providing equitable learning opportunities for all our high school students,” said CBE Chief Superintendent Christopher Usih. “The perspectives and feedback we will collect during this phase of engagement are critical to the final decision we will make, so we encourage all of our parents, staff, students and members of the public to participate.”

A video outlining the engagement process to date, an overview of the scenarios and engagement opportunities is available here: https://youtu.be/VKOddJRQjBQ

An overview of the scenarios is included below, or in greater detail in this document. We have also developed an interactive Story Map and other resources on our website.

Before creating the scenarios, we heard from more than 2,000 people, including students, staff, parents and community members. While we heard many different perspectives, there were some common themes that emerged:

  • Keep Grades 10-12 in all high schools (except Queen Elizabeth High School, which is now 7-12);
  • Make sure all high schools offer quality learning opportunities;
  • Schools should be easy to get to or close to home; and,
  • Transportation impacts opportunities for students.

It is important that students have access to quality learning opportunities across all our schools. About 90 per cent of CBE students are enrolled in the regular program, which is offered at all high schools. Students can also choose to enrol in academic enrichment and alternative programs offered at certain high schools. Our goal is to enable students to access a range of programming, while balancing enrolment at our high schools.

Scenario Overview

Both proposed scenarios provide quality learning opportunities that allow students to meet the requirements to complete high school. They do this in three key ways:

  • Provide a more equitable learning experience for all high school students;
  • Maintain a regular program at every high school; and
  • Allow for alternative and academic enrichment programming when possible.

In Scenario A, programs would be consolidated to fewer high schools, and Arts-Centred Learning would be discontinued. These changes will balance enrolment at the majority of high schools.

In Scenario B, there will be a further reduction in the number of program locations, and Arts Centred Learning, Spanish Bilingual and French IB would be discontinued at the high school level. This scenario will also balance enrolment at most high schools, and results in even more students in the regular program being able to attend school closer to home than Scenario A.

In both scenarios, 74 per cent of communities will continue to attend the same school where they are currently designated and four out of five regular program students will attend their current designated school.

“Running an engagement of this scale virtually has been an interesting challenge,” says Usih. “Though typically we would be gathering in-person to review information and have conversations with the public, that is not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know there is a lot of detailed information to review prior to participating in the engagement opportunities. We have posted scenario details prior to the start of the engagement, so participants can review and digest all of the information at their own pace before providing feedback.”

Once the CBE has reviewed the feedback from this phase of engagement, one final opportunity will be available for the public to provide feedback on the proposed plan. The proposed decision will be either Scenario A, Scenario B or a combination of the two, if feasible.

The decision will be announced in fall 2021 and will be implemented for the 2022-23 school year.


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