At the June 6 Board Meeting, the Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) approved the closure of grades 10 to 12 at Andrew School, effective June 30, 2019.
Starting in the 2019-20 school year, Andrew School’s grade configuration will change to a kindergarten to Grade 9 program and will no longer offer a senior high program. As a result, the Board also approved a new attendance area for students in grades 10 through 12 who live within the current Andrew School attendance area. As of September 2019, these students are designated to either Lamont High or Vegreville Composite High, depending on where they reside (see “Senior High Rural Attendance Boundaries”). In addition, the Board approved waiving transportation fees for affected students in grades 10 to 12 who choose to attend either Lamont High or Vegreville Composite High as a non-designated school in the upcoming year—a decision the Board will review annually.
Before making a final decision, the Board spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and analyzing data submitted by EIPS administration and feedback collected from the community. In fall 2018, the Board began reviewing the senior high program at Andrew School. Multiple public consultations were conducted with students, staff, families, officials and community members—three working-group meetings, a student forum and four public meetings. The question at hand: how to address the issue of equity of education in the senior high grades at Andrew School?
Overall, the data and feedback collected through the consultations confirmed the low enrolment at the senior high level limits the access students have to enhanced educational opportunities—in comparison to other schools within the Division (see “Andrew School Public Consultations: Report Summary”). As such, the Board felt by redirecting senior high students to Lamont High and Vegreville Composite High they’ll have better access to programming options, program-specialty teachers, extracurricular opportunities, team sports and a more well-rounded senior high experience.
Between now and September 2019, EIPS will work closely with students and their families to ensure the transition to their new school is handled smoothly and with sensitivity. EIPS’ Supports for Students department will put a school transition plan in place, which includes consultations with students and families; school council groups from Andrew School, Lamont High and Vegreville Composite High; school administration; staff; and EIPS senior administration. Additionally, EIPS will ensure any facility requirements, support services and student transportation needs are dealt with in advance of the first day of classes on Sept. 3, 2019.