McNaughton High School has hired more new teachers than the Estevan Comp and the Weyburn Comp this year.

McNaughton High expecting increased enrolment

September 5, 2017 9:25 am
Kevin Weedmark

School is back in this week, starting Tuesday in the Southeast Cornerstone School Division and Wednesday in the Fort La Bosse School Division.

One school that will be seeing an increase in the number of students again this year is Moosomin’s McNaughton High School.

The school has seen a continual increase over the last several years, and is projecting an increase of another 100 students over the next few years.

“Kids are coming in and registering,” Principal Jeff St. Onge said Wednesday. “We had seven new kids on Monday, two on Tuesday, and three today.

“Some of them we knew were coming, but they weren’t on our register. But some of them were a full on surprise.”

Each February, the Southeast Cornerstone School Division estimates enrollments for each school.

“In February they tell us how many students they think we are going to have in our building and we are staffed according to that,” says St. Onge. “Our expectation according to February was 349 students, and as a result of that we have gone up to two full time equivalent staff in the building here. Right now I have six brand new teachers in the building—all new to Moosomin, all new to the profession. In general in education in Cornerstone, we have first-year teachers, second-year teachers and then you’re a veteran at that point and then you’re on to a different supervision cycle. Right now eight out of 24 teachers are in that two years and under category, so one-third of my staff is fairly new. It is a pretty exciting time here.”

St. Onge says the number of students is projected to continue increasing.

“The year before last our projected enrollment was 288. Last year the projection was 314, and we actually had 330. This year it is 349 then in the next three years we are looking at 394, then 419, then 449.” Each year, McNaughton High School has had enrolments higher than those projected by the school division.

Where are the additional students coming from?

“Some of the difference is more coming from the elementary school than are graduating,” said St. Onge.

“This year, for example, my graduating class is 41 and I have 60 kids coming over here from grade five so I’m up 19 right there, add seven from Wapella and I’m up by 25. All of a sudden your 330 is 345 and those are just the kids I know. The bubble is already there in MacLeod. I’m sending out smaller enrolments than are coming into the building right now.

“Then there are people moving to the area. Right now I will have three grade nine classes but I will only have two grade 10, 11, 12. We have three grade sixes, we should have three grade sevens but I’ve got two and two thirds. I have split them in all their cores but then they go together for some of their other classes. I have two grade eight classes and three grade nines. I’m rapidly approaching the point where I am going to be having three of everything in this building.”

The story isn’t the same everywhere across Southeast Cornerstone.

“Moosomin is the anomaly,” said St. Onge. “This year between the new teachers and the maternity leaves, I hired more new teachers than the Estevan Comp and the Weyburn Comp together. McNaughton was the number one hiring school in the division. It keeps you scrambling, it’s a lot of work, because you want good people.”

There are no big curriculum changes this fall, but St. Onge said more and more students are opting for individual programming.

“We offer a wide range of class offerings for our kids, but if one thing is changing in education it’s the individual programming that we do for kids—special project credits. We have had five kids that have done their online ground school for aviation. I’ve got two students who did machining. I had another student who did computer science and did absolutely amazing stuff. I would spend two hours with him and then I spend an hour with him. Next thing you know he is 25 hours into a project. That’s independent study. These are highly motivated kids who know what they want. I have a few more kids doing language studies. They can learn a lot.”

McNaughton High will welcome students back with a barbecue lunch on Friday.