The number of classrooms in Prairie South School Division with over 28 students has increased fivefold compared to February, while the number of classes with fewer than 10 students remains roughly the same.
According to a class size report, as of Sept. 17, there were 76 classes throughout the division with more than 28 pupils, compared to 16 classrooms last February.
Schools with classes of more than 28 included Assiniboia Composite High School (five classes), Caronport Elementary (one), Cornerstone Christian School (seven), Coronach School (four), Ecole Palliser Heights School (three), Lafleche Central School (two), Rockglen and William Grayson with one each, and Central Collegiate and A.E. Peacock Collegiate with 26 each.
Of note, Central has 30 or more students in its classes of Grade 9 math, Grade 10 English (four), Grade 10 English and French Wellness, Grade 10 workplace and apprenticeship (WA), Grade 10 science, Grade 12 history (two) and Grade 12 biology.
Further, Peacock has over 30 students in its classes of Grade 9 video production (two), Grade 10 English, Grade 10 science, Grade 10 social studies, Grade 10 math and workplace and apprenticeship, Grade 11 physical science, Grade 11 English, Grade 11 visual arts, Grade 12 law and Grade 12 biology.
Meanwhile, there are 74 classrooms in Prairie South with fewer than 10 students, the data shows, compared to last February when there were 79 such classes.
Briercrest Christian Academy has three classes with under 10 students (Choral 10/20/30, Math WA 10 and Photography 10), while Cornerstone Christian School has three classes with fewer than 10 students (All kindergarten subjects, Visual Arts 10/20/30 and W&A 20/30/Math 21) and Westmount Elementary has one classroom with under 10 pupils (band).
The remaining 72 classes with 10 or fewer students are in rural schools in the division. Rouleau School has 17 classes with fewer than 10 students, the most of any rural school.
During the recent PSSD board meeting, trustees heard that having 76 classes with more than 28 students is larger than what the division typically sees.
“Twenty-six of those classes (are) in both of our large high schools (and) is probably more than where we want to be,” said education director Ryan Boughen.
Derrick Huschi, superintendent of school operations, explained to trustees that when the division office builds its staffing projections budget, high schools are usually pegged at 25:1 for the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) to start the year.
However, if there is a classroom with fewer than 25 students, inevitably there will be another class with more than that number, he continued. That is why division administration attempts to maximize classes and build subjects based on projected enrolments.
For example, there might be five classes at 25:1 when the Science 10 program is constructed for the year. However, that ratio could increase if there is an influx of students during the semester.
“It doesn’t make sense to start to split them, so … it would be difficult to take five separate classes and pull a whole bunch (of students) out of either ones and muck around with the whole timetable,” added Huschi.
The next PSSD board meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 2.