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GNS: Niton Community Engagement

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On January 30th, Niton Central School families residing in the Hamlet of Niton Junction and Lobstick zone of Yellowhead County participated in an information session and discussion with the Board of Trustees and central leadership team about the declining enrollment in the Grade 9 program and the implications to future junior high programming at Niton Central School should the Grade 9 program be moved out of the community school.

In the Spring of 2023, the Board was asked by community members to host a community conversation about the Grade 9 program potentially transitioning into local high schools. In preparation for the conversation, a survey was shared with parents, staff, and junior high students to get a sense of what the community was thinking and to inform what informational pieces and data was needed for a community conversation. The original event was to take place in May but was re-scheduled and then canceled due to last year's wildfires and evacuations.

Board Chair Dale Karpluk and Lobstick Trustee Melodie Bobilek provided the attendees with past enrolment trends at NCS, recent census data for the Hamlet, explained how a school budget is directly linked to student enrollment and staffing, and highlighted the implications of a small staff and the range of learning options available as a result. Over 50 participants discussed the potential benefits of moving the Grade 9 students to a high school, and the challenges and concerns the families, staff, and students have if a decision was made to remove the Grade 9 program from NCS.

The Board was pleased by the turnout and heard loud and clear that the Niton folks love their school and want it to thrive!

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