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Student enrollment is up at both districts in Fort McMurray

Last Updated Oct 9, 2018 at 9:44 am MDT

PHOTO. Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School is one of two Catholic high schools in the FMCSD. Schools across the region and Canada will be busy with children, teens, and parents on the first day of school: September 3, 2019.

The Fort McMurray Catholic School District (FMCSD) and the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) have both seen an increase for students attending their schools.

George McGuigan, superintendent of FMCSD told MyMcMurray that they have seen a six per cent increase in the number of students.

“There are a number of young families in the community having children,” said McGuigan, “We’ve got more children entering the school system than graduating, that’s one major factor of our increase.”

The increase is something he expects to continue as more immigrants move into the community, noting that their English language programs have also seen as increase in enrollment.

The FMCSD opened their 12th school this September, The Elsie Yanik Catholic School, which McGuigan said helped level out the enrollment at other schools in the Timberlea area.

“Our two high schools continue to be quite large and doing quite well, both them getting close to 1,300 students,” said McGuigan.

Both Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School and Holy Trinity High School serve grades seven through to twelve, which McGuigan notes adds to their enrollment.

The FMCSD does have approval from the Alberta government for another elementary school to be built out in Parsons Creek but will be holding off until the population in the area increases.

As for the Fort McMurray Public School District, their Superintendent, Doug Nicholls told MyMcMurray there are three reasons for their 10 per cent enrollment increase.

“The birth-rate in Wood Buffalo has been increasing since the wildfire, second Is that we have new schools in different locations, like Cristina Gordon and Dave McNeilly and a third reason is we believe that many parents or students are recognizing the strong programs in our district and are enrolling on that basis.” Said Nicholls.

Both schools he mentioned have grown considerably, Christina Gordon had about 350 students last year with about 460 students this year and David McNeilly in Parsons Creek has moved from 125 to approximately 250 students.

Dr. Clark, who just celebrating its 50th anniversary is also up about 100 students in the last couple of years to 400-460 students.

Currently the FMPSD is at 6000 students and anticipates being up to 7000 in the next three to four years, with no plans to open more schools at the time.