AP 304: Enrollment In A School or Program Of Choice
Organization & Culture
The vast majority of students will attend and receive educational programming through the school that is assigned to their neighborhood. Where possible, the availability of choice in education is provided for, by the Education Act within the Province of Alberta. Administrative Procedure 304 – Enrollment in a School or Program of Choice provides guidance for the application and enrollment, when possible, at a school, or within a program, that is not the student’s designated school or program.
a) Designated School: shall refer to the Board assigned school for a specific, geographic catchment area, and as per s. 10(1) of the Education Act.
b) Designated Student: shall refer to a student that is attending the designated school, as assigned by that student’s residence within the designated catchment area. As per s. 10(1) of the Education Act, a board shall direct a resident student of the board to enrol in and attend a particular school operated by the board.
c) Directed Student: Shall refer to a student who is directed to attend another school, either through expulsion (s. 37 of the Education Act) or as determined to be necessary by the Superintendent, in special circumstances (s. 10(2) of the Education Act).
d) Facility and Resources: shall refer to school-specific attributes, including facility capacity, human resources, and capital resources, that are considered to be available, in the process of determining a school’s potential for enrolling a school-of-choice student.
e) Independent Student: shall refer to a student as defined in section 6 of the Education Act.
f) Program of Choice: shall refer to educational programming that is available at one or more schools, but that may not be available in all schools. The program intent is to provide an alternative delivery mode or subject medium through which students will receive the Alberta Programs of Study.
g) Registration: shall refer to the process of seeking registration within Parkland School Division at the Designated School, or at a School-of-Choice.
h) Residence: shall refer to residence as defined in s. 4.1 of the Education Act; notably that a person is deemed to have only one place of residence, and a person’s residence is the place where that person ordinarily lives and sleeps and to which, when absent from the residence, that person intends to return.
i) Resident Student: subject to section 4 of the Education Act, a student is a resident student of the board of the school division in which the student’s parent resides. All students who attend schools or programs and who are not resident students shall be defined as “non-resident students.”
j) School-of-choice: shall refer to any Parkland School Division school that is not the student’s designated school. As per s. 10(2) of the Education Act, a board shall enrol a resident student of the board in the school operated by the board that is requested by the parent of the student if, in the opinion of the board asked to enrol the student, there are sufficient resources and facilities available.
k) School-of-choice Registration: shall refer to the process of requesting registration at a Parkland School Division school, other than the Designated School.
l) School-of-choice Student: shall refer to a student that is attending a Parkland School Division school, other than their Designated School.
Principles of Choice in Education and Relevant Legislation
1. For the purpose of this Administrative Procedure, any defined rights and responsibilities attributed to a Parent shall be understood to be attributed to any Independent Student.
2. Every resident student shall have a designated school within the Division.
2.1. Staff shall strongly encourage parents and/or guardians of resident students to register at the designated school, as determined by their residence; and
2.2. Every resident student shall endeavour to attend their designated area school until the completion of their program.
3. Schools shall have programming in place that can appropriately and adequately attend to student needs while adhering to resource stewardship; therefore
3.1. Perceived variance in core program offering shall not be deemed to be a valid rationale for school-of-choice.
4. A resident student may enrol in a school-of-choice if, in the opinion of the Superintendent, there are sufficient resources and facilities available to accommodate the student (as per the Education Act, s. 10(2)).
5. With respect to all matters of registration, a resident student shall be given enrollment priority over a non-resident student.
6. With respect to all matters of registration, a designated student shall be given enrollment priority over a school-of-choice student.
7. At the discretion of the Superintendent or designate, a school, grade or program may be adjusted to include those students who reside outside of the designated attendance area:
7.1. School, grade or program adjustments may include a consideration of
7.1.1. Enrolment pressures,
7.1.2. Financial viability, or
8. With specific reference to school-of-choice registration, the Superintendent or designate may declare that a school, or schools, or a grade, or grades, in a specific area are open, or closed, to school-of-choice registration, based on facility utilization or availability of resources; notably:
8.1. Facility maximization and capacity for predicted growth,
8.2. Staff availability and expertise, and/or
8.3. Classroom population, (i.e. the teacher complement in a grade or school is maximized).
9. The Superintendent may determine the necessity to direct students back to their designated school, or another school-of-choice, for the subsequent year, for any matter that is deemed to be detrimental to the quality of the delivery of education at the school-of-choice.
9.1. A redirect letter shall be provided electronically to the parent of a resident student, indicating that the student shall be directed back to the designated school; and
9.2. A redirect letter shall be provided electronically to a parent of a non-resident student, indicating that the student shall be directed back to a school authority designated for their residence.
10. The Superintendent may direct a student through expulsion (per s. 37 of the Education Act) to attend a school other than their designated school; notably,
10.1. A directed student’s school shall become their designated school; and
10.2. An expulsion may apply to a student beyond the school year in which the student was expelled (s. 37(8) of the Education Act).
11. Prior to applying for a school-of-choice, a parent shall discuss the rationale for the choice with the Principal, or designate, of the designated school.
School-of-choice Education Criteria and Review
12. Parents seeking a school-of-choice for their child or children shall complete the School-of-Choice Request Form.
13. A school-of-choice request, for the following year, shall be made prior to the last school day of June of the current year.
13.1. A school-of-choice request, for a resident student, received prior to the last school day of June, shall receive a response no later than five operational days prior to the first school day for students, given that resident students have precedence for registration.
13.2. Notwithstanding s. 13.1, above, a school-of-choice request, for a non-resident student, or for a resident student received after the last school day of June, shall receive a response at a time established by the order the request was received and it is possible that this may be after the onset of the school year.
13.3. Notwithstanding exceptional circumstances as approved by the Superintendent, a nonresident school-of-choice request, within a current school year, and received after the start of the year, shall typically be declined.
14. A school-of-choice response, by school administration, shall indicate that the student is either successfully enrolled for the following school year as a School-of-choice student, or the response shall indicate that enrollment is not possible, as per s. 10 of the Education Act.
15. For clarity, successful school-of-choice registration shall exist for one calendar year;
15.1. School-of-choice students shall be informed of the necessity to re-apply, whether or not reapplication is deemed necessary, no later than the last day of April of the current year.
16. A parent of a student enrolled in a school shall not request that the student be enrolled in another school, during a school year, unless approved by the Superintendent (Education Act, s. 10(7)).
Criteria and Process for Prioritization
Contextually, each school needs to first determine that it has the facility and resources available to provide an education program to the resident students within the school’s defined catchment area. Potential growth rates for designated students shall, by necessity, be included in the consideration of available facility and resources.
17. Schools that are not declared closed for school-of-choice, or that have specific grades that are not declared full for school-of-choice, may proceed to review school-of-choice application requests.
17.1. Students Residing Within Parkland School Division (Resident Students) shall be processed first, based on the order of the date upon which the requests were received.
17.2. Students Residing Outside of Parkland School Division (Non-Resident Students) shall be processed after the Resident Student requests.
18. Each school-of-choice request shall be considered independently; therefore,
18.1. No special consideration or provision shall be made for siblings or extended relatives.
Parkland School Division provides a variety of alternatives for educational delivery through programs of choice. Notable examples of programs-of-choice include French Immersion, the PSD Christian Program, and Home Education.
19. Where not otherwise identified, registration guidance and/or limitations applicable for school-of-choice shall be considered to be similarly applicable for programs-of-choice.
20. Availability of registration, and acceptance, into a program-of-choice may be limited or excluded, based on the following factors:
20.1. Demonstrated adherence to applicable Codes of Conduct, including the student’s demonstrated historical record of behaviour;
20.2. Demonstrated student attendance and commitment to education; and
20.3. Full payment of associated fees.
21. Program limitations that may impact registration shall be provided at the point of registration.
22. In consideration of s. 19, above, there shall be no limitation to French Immersion application or registration; however,
22.1. Parents shall be appropriately briefed that late grade enrollment in French Immersion may require extensive family support to improve student success; and
22.2. A student withdrawing from a French Immersion program, regardless of the date of withdrawal, shall be automatically directed back to their designated school.
23. The Superintendent reserves the right to expel a student from a program-of-choice, as per the Education Act.
24. A fee structure may be applied to cover unfunded costs related to programs-of-choice; and
24.1. The fee structure shall be made available, online, for review, prior to registration deadlines.
25. Transportation to a non-designated school may not exist and, therefore, shall never be guaranteed when considering school-of-choice registration, or program-of-choice registration; notably,
25.1. If a route does exist, it may be at or approaching capacity for designated students and therefore not deemed available for school-of-choice, or program-of-choice students.
26. When applying for a school-of-choice, the parent shall acknowledge full responsibility for transporting the school-of-choice student.
26.1. Staff shall take reasonable measures to ensure that parents or guardians understand clearly that it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to provide transportation when school-of-choice registration occurs.
Parents may appeal a school administration decision to refuses school-of-choice registration:
27. Appeals shall follow Administrative Procedure 170 – Dispute Resolution and Administrative Procedure 172 - Appeal Process Regarding Student Matters.