Top - Clearwater-Blue River school trustee John Harwood confers with Rhonda Kershaw

Top - Clearwater-Blue River school trustee John Harwood confers with Rhonda Kershaw

Enrolment up at Barriere Secondary

Barriere Secondary School is one of several in School District 73 that saw its enrolment go up

After declining gradually for many years, enrolment at Clearwater Secondary School appears to have stabilized.

The number of students in the school appears to be down just two from what it was last year, and that number likely will go up when the count is finalized.

Barriere Secondary School is one of several in School District 73 that saw its enrolment go up when school finally started in September.

That was part of a report by superintendent Karl deBruijn during a school board meeting held Monday evening at Clearwater Secondary School.

According to deBruijn, the number of Kindergarten students in the school district is 1,089, up 118 from one year ago.

There are 7,012 in grades 1-7, an increase of 124 over October, 2013.

Secondary school enrolment is just 5,481, a decrease of 407 from the year earlier.

DeBruijn noted that, because of the delay in starting school because of the dispute between teachers and government, the numbers are still preliminary.

The numbers of those in secondary school are particularly hard to calculate, as students can be counted as more or less than a full-time equivalent, depending on the number of courses they take.

Some students might have been lost to the school district because of the dispute, but the superintendent hoped to get them back.

Theme of presentation is “collaboration”.

Principal Darren Coates started the meeting by welcoming the school board to Clearwater Secondary School.

He felt a good theme for his presentation would be collaboration.

He noted that over 100 students took part in a school barbeque held earlier that evening – about twice the number as when the event was held for the first time the year before.

A community garden that involves several community groups is proving a success.

An alternative school is to start up in the former community resource center next to Raft River Elementary, in cooperation with Yellowhead Community Services.

YCS is also collaborating in a nutrition program with the school.

Wells Gray Community Forest has donated significant amounts of money to CSS over the years, and student are reciprocating by doing a video for the community forest.

Former PAC chair Shelley Sim continued on the collaboration theme, noting that the students council had contributed money to buy guitars for the school’s guitar band – and then challenged local businesses to do the same.

Every year the school hosts a turkey dinner at Christmas.

“For some students, it’s the only Christmas they have,” Sim said.

With declining enrolments, the school has been forced to be innovative in how it offers it trades and academic courses.

This often involves video-conferencing, and so more and better broadband for CSS should be a priority, she told the board.

The first part of the meeting also included the school’s guitar band, led by teacher Steve James, performing “She Never Spoke Spanish To Me” – a song they had started practicing just the previous Wednesday.

Despite the lack of practice and it being close to the start of the school year, the band impressed the school board.

“Are all the grades in this school so talented?” asked board chair Denise Harper.

In his comments, North Thompson school trustee John Harwood reported that he had recently attended a fundraiser held for North Thompson Aboriginal Sharing Center.

While at the fundraiser he had told them about the success the school district’s First Nations council and First Nations support workers have had in increasing graduation rates for First Nation and Metis students.

Harwood said he had also attended a BC Boundary Commission held in Kamloops on Monday. There is talk of removing the North Thompson Valley north of Little Fort from the Kamloops-North Thompson riding and adding it to the Cariboo, he said.

That would leave the Clearwater-Blue River area being represented by someone from the Cariboo but still belonging to the Kamloops school district – not a good situation, he felt.

The next public board meeting will be held Nov. 3, 2014 at 7 p.m. at Barriere Secondary School, parts and members of the public are reminded that they are all welcome to attend.