Central Okanagan School District office on Hollywood Road in Kelowna. (File)

Central Okanagan school district continues strong growth

SD23 has projected 350 new students for the 2019-2020 school year

School District 23 is getting a facelift this year: their new Lake Country school opening, a projected increase of students and B.C.’s latest curriculum changes pave the way for fall 2019.

For superintendent and CEO Kevin Kaardal, these aspects add to a pre-established reputation for being an outstanding school district.

“We are a very high performing district,” Kaardal said. “We are doing some really good work.”

According to Kaardal, the school district has a 94 per cent graduate rate, four per cent higher than the provincial average and the districts’ Indigenous graduation rate is 82 per cent.

Official student numbers won’t be solidified until the first day of classes but preliminary projections put around 350 extra students in Kelowna classes.

Kaardal said they can’t account for those that don’t show up but growth should continue for the Central Okanagan school district, which has been one of the fastest-growing in B.C.

Seven portables were added and five more were moved to areas where they would be more effectively utilized to help accommodate the growth.

The district is also opening a brand new middle school, Canyon Falls Middle School in the Upper Mission area, which is set to welcome around 700 students for its inaugural school year.

The school is hosting Grade 6 and 7 students through the 2019-2020 school year and Grade 8 students will start at the school next year.

Construction on the school, which is the seventh middle school in the district, started in 2017 and cost an estimated $38.1 million.

Kaardal also said that the district will match the province’s curriculum expansion and offer new classes in different fields to Grade 11 and 12 students.

New, wide-ranging course options such as courses in environmental science, computational skills, engineering, robotics, digital media and the arts, will come in to effect this year.

The fresh options are courtesy of the provinces new K-12 curriculum, which aims to give students a more personal and flexible experience in school.

“The exciting changes we are making today will help ensure that all kids graduate with the skills, competencies and attitudes they need to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing careers of tomorrow,” minister of education Rob Fleming said in a press release.

READ MORE: New Kelowna restaurant adds education director

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan research points to inclusive classrooms


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