The Southeast Kootenay School District (SD5) has seen a boost in student enrolment for the 2023/24 school year.
Jason Tichauer, Director of Student Learning said enrollment is up across all communities SD5 operates in, but more so in one city in particular.
“We’re back over 6,000 students across the district. Our largest increase is in Fernie, where we have almost 560 kids at École Isabella Dicken Elementary and almost 510 kids at Fernie Secondary School,” explained Tichauer.
There are no official numbers just yet, but as of September 15th, Tichauer said SD5 is up by at least 300 students over last year.
The school district needed to make sure the students were taken care of, but their facilities were ready for the increase.
“We have to make sure we have safe, caring and orderly spaces for all of our kids,” said Tichauer. “The good news is: where we have had our largest increases is where we’ve had our most recent school expansion, so it enables us to support those extra kids at Isabella Dicken.”
Tichauer explained that SD5 has been handling the increase because student enrollment has been higher in the past.
“The increases have taken us back to historical rates. There were times, in most of our communities, when there were more kids than we have right now, that’s societal change,” said Tichauer. “Right now, there’s a lot of young families having kids and that’s a positive for us and positive for our communities.”
Even though the school year started only a few weeks ago, Tichauer said it has gone well.
“Kids and families are happy to be back, and we’re happy to have all of our kids and families back in our buildings,” said Tichauer.