Diploma exam results from the last school year clearly shows the Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) program works.
Superintendent Jayson Lovell, in his report at the board of trustees meeting Nov. 23, explained that the Rock the Diploma program should continue to be funded without a fee for students due to seeing improved outcomes for students.
WCPS paid $50,000 to run the program, based out of Lacombe Composite High School, where it offered Math 30-1 and 30-2 plus Social Studies 30-1 and 30-2 both in January and June that attracted about 250 students overall.
“The results clearly indicate our students performed extremely well in these subject areas,” Lovell stated.
Scores in Math 30-1 saw a 6.3 per cent rise in those reaching the Acceptable standard from previous year, as well as a 10.8 per cent improvement in those hitting the Excellent standard.
“An interesting fact is, students who attended Rock the Diploma achieved at a 76 per cent average on the Math 30-1 exam in January 2017 and the students who did not attend achieved an average of 51 per cent. Clearly this program prepares our students for these important exams,” Lovell added.
The outcomes for Math 30-2 saw a number of schools improve on their marks, while Social Studies 30-1 Acceptable standard went up 8.1 per cent and the Excellent standard rose 3.1 per cent with the 30-2 Acceptable standard up 3.1 per cent.
Based on those gains, Lovell requested the board approve adding a subject — Biology 30 — to the program and maintain the funding levels as well as keep it free for WCPS students, all of which were approved by trustees. The program includes registration, transportation and lunch.
“The reason for choosing these courses is our results on diploma exams over the past number of years indicate our students require additional support and preparation,” Lovell said.
“The board believes very strongly in equitable access for students to remove barriers for their learning and we anticipate strong participation through ongoing promotion of this opportunity to our students and high schools.”
The overall WCPS school calendar was also approved by trustees at the meeting.
A draft was examined along with feedback from numerous sources, including last year’s Thoughtexchange survey, as well as teachers and taking into account area school divisions, plus the looming 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
It was that last item that became a challenge, according to Lovell, as it forced the annual teacher’s convention date to change.
“It is similar to this year — with students starting after Labour Day (Sept. 4) and 14 aligned calendar days on Fridays and the Christmas break beginning Dec. 20,” he said.
However, where the change comes is the spring break will start Mar. 14 with students going back to class Mar. 25.
“This is to coincide with the teacher’s convention being moved to Mar. 14 and 15 so it doesn’t conflict with the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer (which runs Feb. 15 to Mar. 3). This will allow for a continuous break instead of having a week of school in between the convention and the break. We believe parents will appreciate that.”