Catholic education on the rise

According to the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Division’s ‘interim’ enrollment numbers, more families and students are choosing Catholic education.  Latest figures show 2,826 registrations, an increase of 157 students from the 2010 student count.

“To put this increase into perspective, the student increase represents enough students for a small school,” said Sandra Bannard, STAR Board Chair. “It is a 6 per cent increase across the Division.” The biggest increases are in St. Anthony in Drayton Valley (12 per cent); Christ The King (5 per cent) and St. Benedict (5 per cent) in Leduc; and, Sacred Heart (8 per cent) in Wetaskiwin. Académie Saint-André Academy’s enrollment jumped 126 per cent as new grades and classes were added.

With concerns about province-wide class sizes increasing due to the reduction of the class size initiative grant, STAR has not been spared, as increased registrations will increase class sizes. “Most of our increases can be managed within our existing classes, however we do have some large class sizes across the Division,” adds Superintendent Jamie McNamara.

Going forward, STAR faces a significant challenge in Leduc: student population growth. Notre Dame, St. Benedict and Christ The King are beyond their capacity. “We continue to press government for an additional school in Leduc to meet the growing population,” states Bannard. “We will continue to advocate on behalf of our students and their families.” “We encourage parents to express their concerns regarding crowded schools and large class sizes to their local MLA.”