Article from Prince George Citizen, July 11, 2011

School District 57 superintendent Brian Pepper says he won’t be complying with District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) chairperson Don Sabo’s request to post the most-recent school-by-school enrollment projects on the district’s website.

The school district has go part way and posted the schools’ existing enrollment figures, but that’s as far as administration is going to go, Pepper said Thursday, after Sabo raised the issue during school board trustee’s monthly meeting last week.

“We value DPAC greatly, our board does as well,” Pepper said. “Unfortunately, we can’t meet all of the requests of our partners.”

Sabo has maintained the projections should be posted because they have played such an important role in determining which schools should be closed and which should remain open and argued that continuing to provide the projections is a matter of transparency.

“This goes towards the quality of data and information that the school district is using to make important decisions,” Sabo said Thursday.

But Pepper said posting the projections is counterproductive because they’re only best guesses and funding is ultimately based on enrollment figures at the end of September.

“It’s not appropriate,” he said. “They’re only valid for a short period of time.”

Sabo said DPAC has a full copy of updated enrollment projections but has not received permission from the school district to make them public on DPAC’s own website.

— Nielsen, Citizen staff

Vice Principal Appointments

Superintendent of Schools, Brian Pepper is pleased to announce the following Vice Principal appointments effective August 1, 2011:

Lisa Norman, Vice Principal Aboriginal Choice School

Laurie Bryce, Vice Principal College Heights Elementary School

Tracy Baldridge, Vice Principal Ron Brent Elementary School

Linda McGraw, Vice Principal Heritage Elementary School

Joanne Shaw, Vice Principal Heather Park Elementary School

Historic Enrolment in the Prince George School District

Please click on each link below to see an interactive graph. You can make changes to the data shown on the graph by choosing options to the right.

Historic Enrolments by School Family

Enrolments by School Family – Percentage of Total

Historic Enrolments by School

Capacity compared to Enrolment by School Family

Capacity compared to Enrolment by School

Historic Enrolment, Capacity, and District Sustainability 2010 Projections

Table of Data used

Map of schools in district

Enrolment Projections from Ministry of Education



DPAC has been provided with projected enrolments for the individual schools in the district. We have not published this information for two reasons:

  • we have sought clarification if this information is meant to be public, and not received this confirmation as yet.
  • we are unclear as to the method of calculation used to make the projections, and without determining the assumptions on which this data is based, it is possible that some of the projections could be interpreted as a lack of support for a school or an area.



A “family of schools” as defined by each high school and the respective “feeder” elementary schools.

Data is from the Ministry of Education (thanks for the prompt response!). Some of that data can be accessed here:

The capacity numbers have been taken from the district closure report (and previous closure reports).
When considering the number of student spaces in a school building, the ministry has developed two standards of measurement that it uses in considering the replacement or renovation of a building through the ministry capital plan.


The principal standard is nominal capacity. Nominal capacity forms the base line and remains fixed. It is based upon 20 kindergarten students per classroom and 25 students per class, Grades 1 through 12. To recognize adjustments for class size, the ministry has introduced the concept of operating capacity, a modification of the nominal capacity that reduces kindergarten through Grade 3 capacity to 19 students and holds grades 4 through 7 to an average of 22 students. Middle and secondary operating capacities are similar to nominal capacity.


For the purposes of this report, we have introduced the concept of “working capacity.” Working capacity acknowledges that an intermediate or secondary classroom can accommodate up to 30 students. Kindergarten and primary classroom occupancy maximums range from 22 to 24 students per classroom.

Nominal and working capacities have not been modified for Lac de Bois or Heather Park Elementary schools – while they were formerly a junior secondary and a middle school, they are now both elementary schools. The real capacity numbers would therefore have decreased.

Working capacity is also affected by portables. Current portables have been shown, but the history of the portables is not known. If you know when a portable was added or removed from a school, please comment on this post – would love to add that information.

As the analysis has been based on elementary and secondary schools, Heather Park Middle school was divided up, with grades 6 and 7 shown as an elementary school, while grade 8 shows as a secondary school.

The geographical location of each school was done through BatchGeo, using address information from the Ministry of Education. Some schools that were closed in the past have had their location estimated.

The graphs were produced using Tableau Public.

Coalition of Rural Educational Sustainability – Transportation Report

With the school closures our district and province experienced in 2010, a group of rural residents have made it their mandate to look at what could be done to keep our rural schools from closure in the future.  CORES is dedicated to looking into all aspects of the educational system that affects the rural students within our district.  For the rural student to access education, many of them require bussing.  Transportation is just one aspect of the educational system this group is reviewing. The transportation funding from the Provincial Government was determined on historical cost and has seen no increases since 2002.  Although funding has seen no increases over this time period, the costs associated with delivering transportation to students have been increasing year after year.  With no guarantees as to an increase in funding in this area, what other options are available to sustain this service in the future?

Final Report on Rural Educational SustainabilityV1

Be prepared for teacher work action in September

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation won a strike mandate from its members, with limited job action expected to start in September.

Of those who cast ballots, 90 per cent voted in favour of a strike if there’s no progress in contract talks over the summer.

While classes are expected to resume in September as usual, teachers won’t attend staff meeting, gather data, supervise students outside of instructional hours or write formal report cards, says BCTF president Susan Lambert.


More information on “Big labour showdowns loom in B.C.”:

“The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has completed a strike vote that will result in teachers withdrawing from administrative duties starting in the fall. That will eventually ramp up to more serious job action, with an outright school strike looming for the spring.”

FSA results now public

The FSA results for the district and individual schools in the district can be found here:


Edudata Canada has the results for each item on the FSA:

Unfortunately, their list of schools in Prince George has not been updated since the school closures, and does not include Heather Park and Lac de Bois. this has been reported to them as an issue.


BCCPAC has a guide for parents regarding the FSAs:

“The FSA is only one of many things that should be looked at when evaluating a school’s ability to educate. The FSA is not designed to be able to evaluate a school’s entire education program. To use FSA results alone to do so would be an incomplete evaluation.”

Principal and Vice Principal Association – "At this stage, it is likely that we will be in the early stages of job action on the first day of classes"

The president of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association delivered a gloomy message to his membership Friday to mark the end of this school year and the start of summer.

I had hoped to end the year by sharing a positive and optimistic perspective but unfortunately that will not be the case,” Jameel Aziz wrote in his weekly enews. “At this stage, it is likely that we will be in the early stages of job action on the first day of classes. We are still trying to understand what shape this will take, but bulletins issued by the BCTF and BCPSEA will probably answer a lot of these questions. As in any job action, you will have to follow the direction of your Board and Superintendent. We are requesting that the information coming from those groups is clear and consistent across the province. Issues around attendance have been highlighted and are being examined so that the safety of students remains the priority through all of this activity.

“The Association will not be taking a position in support of either side’s view in this negotiation. We are not at the table, and the outcome of the negotiations will not be influenced by any opinions we have, even if we cared to share them. I know that pressure will be put on you to show support or take a position, however, I advise you not to do this. We are part of the management team and we take our direction from our individual Boards. As the school leaders, we are expected to continue to build, or rebuild if necessary, the culture and objectives of the school once job action ends.

“I will be working through the summer to have the most up-to-date information for you and to be able to share the ramifications of any decision in a timely basis. Fifty percent of our current members were not principals or vice-principals in 2005 when we last went through BCTF job action, so we want to ensure that those members are supported and have a clear understanding of their role. I anticipate that this fall will be neither routine nor pleasant, but I remain confident that, whatever occurs, principals and vice-principals will do their best to minimize the impact on students and families.”

Personalized Learning in BC School System

The Ministry of Education has released a new interactive discussion guide on personalized learning.

The guide is intended to provide information and give an overview of personalized learning and an opportunity to submit your feedback and questions to the Ministry of Education.

Follow the link to view the interactive guide:

A PDF version is also available (but will not allow for feedback)

Instructions for using the interactive guide:

  • Click the link to open the guide
  • Viewing and navigating the document
  • Use the navigation pane at the bottom of the page (grey bar)
  • “view full screen” command is on the right corner
  • Advance to next page is in the middle
  • and the zoom and home buttons are on the far left
  • you may also click and drag on the corners of the pages to turn them.
  • Feedback may be typed into the appropriate text boxes, click on the “submit” button for each completed response when done.

December babies never really catch up: B.C. study

December babies never really catch up: B.C. study

From the Vancouver Sun, June 12, 2011

A significant number of children fall behind in school and never catch up, simply because they are the youngest and most immature in their kindergarten class, says a study released this week.

The study, which examined the achievement of thousands of B.C. students who entered kindergarten in 1995, found that December babies were 12 to 15 per cent less likely than their January counterparts to meet expectations in reading and numeracy in elementary grades and 12 per cent less likely to graduate on time in 2008.

That’s not only a disadvantage for individuals, but it may also be costly for taxpayers.

“If all students enjoyed the same rates of success as the January-born, an additional 1,700 students would graduate on time each year,” says the report titled Birthdate and Student Achievement: The Effects of School Grouping Practices in British Columbia. “This would represent a four per cent increase in the on-time graduation rate for the province and an annual saving of $14 million.”

Late birth dates had the greatest effect on aboriginal males — who were 19 per cent less likely than older aboriginal boys to reach Grade 10 within the expected time frame — followed by aboriginal girls and non-aboriginal boys. They had the least effect on non-aboriginal girls, says the report by Jerry Mussio of the consulting firm Mussio Associates Inc.

Read more: