According to the Board’s Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) policy, a Program and Accommodation Review is initiated if one of the five conditions listed in the policy are met. Out of the five conditions, two have been met to initiate this PAR. Further details regarding how the conditions were met are available in the Director’s Preliminary Report. As summary of the conditions discussed in the Board Report are provided below:
Condition 1: Low Utilization
Condition 1 states that the school or a group of schools has/have experienced or will experience declining enrolment where On-The-Ground Capacity (OTG) utilization rate is below 65%. Currently two secondary schools in Burlington have utilization rates below 65%, and one school is approaching this threshold. It is projected that all three schools will be below 65% utilization by 2020:
|Lester B. Pearson HS||642||416||65%||353||55%|
|M.M. Robinson HS||1347||730||54%||633||47%|
|Robert Bateman HS||1323||799||60%||726||55%|
Condition 2: Enhance Secondary Programming and Learning Opportunities
By reorganizing the school and creating larger grade sizes and enrolments, the Halton District School Board can enhance program delivery by offering more courses and a variety of courses using funding that would otherwise be spent on maintaining empty spaces. The benefits of each school type are highlighted in the table below.
|Small Secondary School (Enrolment of 600 or less)|
- Staff tend to know each student better and may be more able to proactively intervene to support a student who is in need of assistance;
- Extra-Curricular Participation – while the number and types of activities available to students may be fewer in a smaller school, students are more likely to make a team/activity because there are fewer students interested in participating in each team/activity;
- Higher ratio of service area staff to students - to maintain core functions in the area of Special Education, Guidance and Library, smaller schools have a significantly richer staffing ratio than larger schools. This however comes with increased costs to the Board;
- Less pressure on the physical space in the building e.g. less scheduling challenges on gym space.
|Large Secondary School (Enrolment of 1000 or more)|
- More course options available to students to support different learners, interests and pathways.
- Fewer scheduling and timetable conflicts - In the 2014/2015 school year, 39% of students at smaller schools had timetable conflicts while at larger schools 19% of students had timetable conflicts. Timetable conflicts often result in students not being able to take a course they had selected because two or more of their selected courses are running in only one semester at the same time.
- Fewer “shared” students – a shared student is a student that is registered in more than one school. These students register for a course they require/want that is not available in their home school. In 2014/2015 12% of students (234 students) were considered a shared student in small homes schools. 4% of students in a large home school were considered shared students (169 students).
- Fewer Early Leavers in larger schools – An Early Leaver is a student that leaves school prior to graduating. In 2014/2015 the percentage of early leavers prior to graduation was 1% at large schools and 3% at smaller schools. This in turn affects the graduation rates at high schools.
- More teacher subject specialization – more classes mean more teachers, therefore it is more likely to get specialized teachers while smaller schools with limited classes have less diversity in staff. For instance in larger schools there may be 4-5 science teachers, a biology specialist, physics specialist , a chemistry specialist and two science generalist, while at a small school there may be only 2 science teachers to teach all science curriculum areas.
- More opportunities for Extra-Curricular participation – in larger schools there are more staff and thus more opportunity for greater special interests and skills and thus a greater offering of extracurricular activities.
- More funding for students, less spent on maintaining empty spaces.