Access, Flexibility and Choice For All High School Students

High school success is different for every student. That is why CBE’s high schools offer programs and pathways that lead to work, college, technical schools or university. The CBE High School Success Strategy is to provide access, flexibility and choice for all our high school students.

In recent years, we have opened three new high schools (Robert Thirsk, Nelson Mandela and Joane Cardinal-Schubert), increasing high school learning space across the system and allowing many students to attend school closer to home. New high school openings have also resulted in lower student enrolment and school utilization rates at other high schools.

The CBE strives to maintain school utilization rates in the mid-80 per cent range. Currently, utilization rates at CBE high schools range from 54 to 129 per cent. The significant difference in enrolment numbers and utilization rates at high schools can create challenges in providing access, flexibility and choice to all our students.

As we look to the future, enrolment in high school (Grade 10-12) is projected to increase from 27,567 students in September 2018 to just over 34,000 students for the 2023-24 school year. This increase will not be uniform across Calgary, adding further pressures and imbalances among our high schools.

The Decision

We need to develop a sustainable system-wide plan for our high schools that reduces the imbalance we are currently experiencing and effectively manages the use of space to optimize learning now and into the future. With this in mind, the CBE has decided that: 

By October 2021, the CBE will communicate a sustainable system-wide plan for high schools that continues to offer students access, flexibility and choice in programming given available space and resources. The plan will be developed through consultation with affected students, staff, parents and community members, with full implementation of the plan beginning in 2022-2023.

The Decision-Makers

The CBE Superintendents’ Team​​ are the decision-makers.

The Decision-Making Process

We will seek input and feedback from staff, students, parents and others on four factors:
  • Location and designated communities/boundaries of existing high school programs
  • Expansion and contraction of existing high school programs, including alternative programs, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Programme and International Baccalaureate Career Programme
  • Grade cof​igurations
  • Implementation (timing and considerations)
A number of other factors may affect the decision but are outside the scope of this engagement, meaning we will not seek input and feedback on these factors. Out of scope factors include budget, curriculum, funding, instructional hours, decisions that are made by individual schools, and more. A complete description of out of scope factors will be in the Engagement Roadmap, available mid-May.

Engagement Timeline

The first phase of active engagement will occur May to October 2019. In this phase, we will share a lot of information and data with you to build understanding of the situation and the high schools involved. We will also explore what you value when it comes to the engagement process itself and what high school success means to you. We will not present options or scenarios during this phase.

Building on what we hear in the first phase, future phases in 2020 and beyond will present possible scenarios and, ultimately, a proposed plan.

The decision will be communicated by October 2021. Full implementation of the plan will begin in 2022-23. 

The Engagement Roadmap, available mid-May, will contain more detail about the timeline.​ ​ ​​​​​

High School Engagement

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