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Managing Space For Students

Managing Space For Students Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Tra​​​nsportati​o​n Questions 

Planning Answ​​​ers

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. ​


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 school in our Three-Year School Capital Plan, the community's residential developers 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.


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 


How is school utilization calculated? 

The calculation of utilization is based on a provincial formula that 'weights' students in the following categories: 

  • Kindergarten students who typically attend half day; and 

  • K-12 students who have severe complex learning needs. 

Students with a severe complex learning code may attend either a regular program or a specialized complex learning class.  

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Once the weighted enrolment is determined, utilization is calculated by dividing the weighted enrolment by the provincial capacity.


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 also help 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 of our work. 


Can the CBE add portables or build onto existing schools to increase capacity?​ 

Modular classrooms are intended as a short-term solution for accommodation challenges.

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. 


​​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. 


How can I find my child’s designated school? 

Visit the CBE website - - to find your child’s current designated school based on their primary home address and program choice. 

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 

  • Filter by Grade Level 


Can the CBE make its address verification process more stringent?

Currently, principals may ask for two​ 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.


What does the CBE intend to do to ensure a smooth transition for students from their existing school to their new school? 

Education directors will meet with the administration of affected schools to collaboratively plan gatherings and opportunities for students and their families. These events will offer students and families processes and support for a smooth transition as they leave their current school and embrace their new learning environment. 

Education directors, with the administration of affected schools, are responsible in cooperation with CBE service units for the orderly transition of programs including students, staffing, materials and resources within the designated timeframe. 


How does a Grade 6-9 setting work? 

Middle years learning refers to education offered to students between the ages of 10-15. These years are critical in keeping our students on the path to high school completion and their career futures. All middle years teachers and principals understand the complex and unique learning needs of this age group. Students in a middle school setting: 

  • will gradually make the transition from one teacher to multiple teachers 

  • may be mentored by student leaders in the higher grades (buddy programs) 

  • can make course selections in the areas of second languages and the fine and performing arts 

  • can participate in intramural, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities 

  • will be supported as they transition from elementary to middle school and then from middle school to high school 

See the Middle Years Overview information more information. 


​Will the new school offer the same extracurricular activities as our current one? (i.e., sailing trip, outdoor school, etc.) 

Each school makes responsive decisions regarding extracurricular activities based on the interests and needs of their school community. Many schools provide similar opportunities. In addition, principals at the schools involved in this engagement process will be working closely together to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. Where possible, extracurricular activities may continue or other solutions developed in collaboration with families. 


What does the lottery process l​ook like?

CBE has a lottery process that is used to determine acceptance when schools cannot accommodate all students who register. The lottery process outlines the priorities for acceptance as follows: 

Priority 1  

  • Students residing within the walk zone who have a sibling that will be attending the same program in the same school, concurrently  

Priority 2 

  • Students living outside the walk zone who will have a sibling in the same program in the same school at the same time OR 

  • Students living within the walk zone who do not have a sibling in the school  

Priority 3 

  • All other students living in the designated attendance area 

More information is available at Lottery Information for Pa​rents.​


​Transportation FAQs 

Are students in Grade 6 too young to take Calgary Transit?

We believe that Calgary Transit is a safe mode of transportation for students. Many CBE students in Grades 6 to 9 have already successfully made the transition to Calgary Transit. They often find it easier to get to a bus stop that is closer to home than a yellow school bus stop and enjoy a more flexible schedule because there is more than one bus available throughout the day. They also join students from other school boards also using Calgary Transit. 


How are students supported in their transition to Calgary Transit? ​

The CBE has developed a safety and orientation transit program called My Transit Ride to support students through the transition. My Transit Ride is held over the summer months,​ with more information in the spring. Schools can also support students by connecting families from similar communities so students can travel together. Through the additional supports, students are empowered to use Calgary Transit safely, confidently, and efficiently.


How is ride time calculated for students using Calgary Transit? 

Similar to yellow school bus, the ride time is calculated from the time the student steps on the Calgary Transit bus or train and ends with their arrival time at school. Travel time to the bus stop is not factored into the calculation. In the afternoon, the ride time is calculated from the time the student steps on the Calgary Transit bus or train and ends with their departure from the last bus or train. 


What is the allowable ride time and number of transfers for students using Calgary Transit? 

A majority of students in the regular program have a ride time of less than an hour with no more than one transfer. Because alternative programs require further distances to be travelled, the same ride time and number of transfers are not always possible. Calgary Transit reviews their routes every three months and makes adjustments based on actual ridership and available resources, so ride times are subject to change throughout the school year.

Once students start to use the service, improvements are possible based on ridership from a given community. 


Why do some middle school students take Calgary Transit and not yellow school buses? 

The factors considered for a move to Calgary Transit include grade confi​gurations, ride times, communities with existing Calgary Transit service, number of bus/train transfers, number of students and Calgary Transit capacity.

There are an increased number of students moving to Calgary Transit as part of the CBE’s long-term transportation strategy. The CBE offers a transit orientation for students transitioning to Calgary Transit called My Transit Ride over the summer.


Last modified: 3/27/2024 4:17 PM
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