It appears a change to the configuration of grades in Rutland schools will go ahead this September.
Members of the Central Okanagan School Board’s planning and facilities committee voted to pass a recommendation from the superintendent of schools, paving the way for a change to Rutland’s grade configuration this fall as opposed to waiting until fall 2016.
The move is being made as a way to enhance the falling population of Rutland Senior, according to superintendent Hugh Gloster.
“There has been a gradual and continuous decline in the student population at Rutland Senior,” said Gloster. “We are anticipating a further loss of 1,100 students by 2020. The implications for future education in Rutland are quite profound if we don’t look at doing something.”
The changes to the grade configuration would see Grade 9 students in Rutland attend RSS as opposed to the various middle schools. Those middle schools would move to a Grade 6,7, 8 configuration and elementary schools would move to kindergarten to Grade 5.
The new configuration is a model the Central Okanagan School District first approved back in 2012, although Rutland is the first area of the Central Okanagan where its schools can make the change.
“We’ve had strong support for the concept,” said Gloster. “The timing is really the issue. There are a number of advantages in a Grade 6 to 8 configuration for middle schools. As well having Grade 9’s in a secondary alignment and getting them in there a year ahead of provincial exams is also a positive.”
A final vote on the Rutland grade configuration will be held at the school board’s regular meeting on Jan. 28.